Let’s say you want to determine how your company fits into the current marketplace. You decide that writing a survey and conducting research will help you gauge consumers’ perception of your brand or product.  As market researchers, we applaud your decision.

While market research is an important step in the success of a new product or business plan, it is not however as easy as throwing a few questions into a survey and hoping you get the answers you want.  The end results are often reflective of the work and thought that go into it at the very beginning.  To set yourself up for success, ask yourself these key questions before putting pen to paper on a survey questionnaire:

  • What am I hoping to learn? When you want to conduct research, you should start by determining your goal and the end result you are aiming for. Perhaps you want to determine what flavor would be best in a new beverage product line or if consumers are willing to pay for your new business idea.  Use this goal to map out concrete objectives for the research, and refer back to it throughout the survey writing process.  This step will ensure that each question in your questionnaire serves a purpose.
  • What is my hypothesis? You probably have a hunch about what the research will tell you before beginning the project.  Write out your hypothesis underneath the research objectives. It sounds simple, but when working on the survey draft, make sure you’re asking questions that will allow you to prove whether or not your hypothesis is correct.
  • Who can give me an unbiased opinion? It is important to maintain an unbiased view for your project.  Consider having a third-party write the survey for you. Be sure to communicate your goals, objectives and hypothesis in advance. If you do not have the budget to hire a survey writer, consider asking a coworker to develop questions for you. This way, emotions are left out of research development, and you will understand how respondents truly feel about your concept. The last thing you want to do is subconsciously lead them toward answers that favor your gut instincts.
  • How will I use the research? Depending on which phase your product or concept is in, research can serve many purposes. Ask yourself how you plan to use the research to solve problems and create new solutions. In doing so, you will avoid gathering insights on irrelevant topics, and ultimately, your key takeaways will be even clearer.   

By asking yourself these questions at the beginning of your research process, you’re more likely to gather meaningful consumer insights to propel your business forward.


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