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Monday, Oct. 2, 2006 at 9:27 pm

Survey Takers: Do They Have An Agenda Or Just Too Much Time?

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
October 2nd, 2006

We’re not usually big fans of marketing data collected from surveys. We’ve written about it several times. We often find the methodologies flawed, the questions suspect and the respondents even more suspect.

AdAge just published an article that confirms what we’ve been saying. Jack Neff wrote about it in “Consumers Rebel Against Marketers’ Endless Surveys: 30 Top Industry Execs Gather to Discuss ‘Opinion Fatigue’ Crisis“. The article is disturbing especially the following:

“VNU’s Nielsen Media Research has actually seen respondent rates rise
from 36% to 45% the past five years, said Paul Donato, chief research
officer. That’s largely because it pays respondents handsomely for
their two-year commitments — so handsomely that Mr. Donato
acknowledged that some on the Media Research Council think it may bias
results — allowing panelists to buy cable subscriptions and DVRs.

Ironically, no one in a roomful of market researchers
suggested researching what might best persuade nonrespondents to
participate, though Dennis Murphy, VP of the technology practice at
Directions Research, said it’s time to find out how different
nonresponders really are from responders — something largely neglected
since the 1970s.”

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Comments (1)

  1. This is an interesting topic. We actually surveyed market research professionals to understand the perceived severity of the problem from the perspective of MR professionals themselves.

    The results were amazing.

    Visit to see the findings.

    And the in-depth report is available for those who are interested.

    In summary, there is a real problem with survey cooperation and completion rates. And an advertising “war chest” will not fix the problem as it will take some real and fundamental shifts in approaches to online surveys.

    Shorter, more relevant and fewer invitations is needed to drive data quality and fix the underlying issue.

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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