Designing a survey is to a data savvy marketer what being in a candy store is to a kid with a hundred dollar bill. The possibilities are endless. You can ask any question you like and get intelligence on everything. "What was your motivation for upgrading?”, “Within which of the following industries would you classify your company?",”How would you rate the subscription process?”
As candy is devoured, its saccharine taste is soon replaced by nauseous regret. For the unfocused researcher this translates into a soup of disconnected data pieces, leading to what I like to call D.D.S.
Dizzy Data Syndrome (n. acronym): General malaise resulting from unfocused data collection. Symptoms include abstraction, disconnection from business implications and respondent fatigue.
These 3 tips will help you prevent D.D.S.:
Don't Jump into Questionnaire Writing Mode
Identify the most pressing issues your business is facing. Several may come. Group them into themes. Pick the most compelling and urgent one and make this the principal theme of your first survey project.
Rather than being the kid attempting to stuff half the candy store's supply into his pockets, keep in mind that you can always go back later. Focused research projects will provide you with clear and detailed implications. An example would be running 3 surveys, each on a different theme, over the course of several months.
Presentation First, Research Design Second
It may seem counterintuitive but conceptualizing the presentation of your data before writing survey questions helps ground research in reality. In an ideal world, what charts and data visualizations would you want to see? Sitting down with pen and paper, and sketching out relationships between the pieces of information you need can be a brain- wracking but rewarding step in designing a smart survey.
Keep these in mind, and you will steer clear of D.D.S. Your sweet tooth for data will also thank you.