Researching your target audience is an integral part of any B2B marketing plan, and online surveys can be an efficient way of gathering data. However, a recent blog post from Tom Webster (@BrandSavant) brought up some great points regarding the possible biases in online surveys.
For starters, there may be a certain type of person who would answer an online survey, regardless of whos sending it. So you cant just send out a mass email and assume the responses you get back represent a random sample of your target audience; they may just represent a group of people who are more likely to respond to online surveys.
Another thing to note is how youre gathering your emails. In the case of B2C, perhaps its only when your customers make an online purchase. If thats the case, what about the customers who buy in-store? The type of people who purchase online versus in-store may be two different groups of people with two different perspectives. You have to think about your list, who these people are, and segment them accordingly.
Though I reference two possible biases, there are myriad possibilities; thus, you simply have to know your data. Once you understand what youre looking at, and who these people are, segment it according to trends and similarities. And if youre going to incentivize people to respond, consider utilizing a differential incentive tier based on these groupings.
The act of research is a technical and scientific process that requires close scrutiny and constant monitoring. There are so many inherent biases in it that have to be considered. Looking at your data and understanding it can be a great first start to segmenting it accordingly and receiving the most applicable responses.
Vann Morris is the Director of Buying Behavior Studies with MLT Creative. She is a Social and Behavioral Scientist who is currently working on her PhD in Communications, and uses her strong theoretical background in order to show how scientific theory should be used to develop strategy and effective B2B marketing campaigns.