The tremendous clutter of 21st Century communication creates unique challenges in being heard above the noise when attempting to gather market research data. This is especially true when attempting to gather data via telephone surveying and/or email surveying on a stand-alone basis. For traditional telephone surveying, advanced voicemail and caller ID technologies have significantly reduced the percentage of connected market survey calls.
And when calls are connected, the modern work environment - highly (and increasingly so) characterized by consistent multi-tasking (email processing and web surfing being the primary culprits) - greatly decreases the likelihood of connecting with willing survey participants. And when calls are connected with willing participants, there is a decreased quality of the calls driven by the reduced/divided attention spans of the participants for in-depth surveying.
Correspondingly, while email survey technologies (such as Zoomerang) have dramatically reduced the cost of direct-to-target group surveying - the very ease of email surveying utilization has naturally increased the volume of email surveys being forwarded. While the raw number of email surveys remains small relative to the overall percentage of emails, the reality is that even email surveys targeted to an appropriate (and anti-spam compliant) list more often than not get lost amid the avalanche of email that confronts the typical email user.
For maximum effectiveness, Growthink suggests utilizing email and telephone surveying in an integrated fashion. Quite simply, this means emailing a survey (either as a simple text email or for collection purposes - via many of the quality email survey technologies on the market) to a desired survey participant and then following up on that email survey via the telephone. Or vice versa. Growthinkís experience is the best survey collections percentages come via either a) ìtalking throughî an email survey with the participant over the telephone (making the live phone connection and actually filling out the survey for them as in traditional phone surveying) and/or repeated phone and email queries requesting participation.
While this proactive data collection methodology needs to be carefully monitored to control for skewing caused by the persistence/sales skills/lack thereof of the data collectors, for most micro/emerging market/customer data collection undertakings, this combined phone/email ìtag teamî approach is the only methodology that will lead to meaningful quantitative results.
As a guide, Growthink recommends that the standard number of 30 completed individual surveys considered to be a statistically significant sample be increased to 50 to control for collection bias resulting from the combined phone/email approach. Luckily, the leverage gained from this methodology in terms of speed and cost savings when compared to traditional methodologies (focus groups, pure telephone surveying, etc.) is so great that even with this additional participant requirement, the net time/cost savings of this methodology are significant.