Whether to get insights about your own employees or to find out about how customers and users interact with your service, a survey for companies from a quantitative research agency offers a wealth of usable insight.
The survey for a company is a form of market research that asks a predetermined set of questions to acquire data for future analysis.
Typically, the aim will be to find broad trends, these can then be acted upon on their own, but will often lead to further analysis through qualitative research. The survey itself is a form of quantitative research.
At Acumen, we are UK experts in all forms of market and company research and have helped plan and implement surveys for companies of all sizes across multiple sectors.
We have a specialist quantitative research team, this with an embedded set of data analysis experts.
In this page, we will outline further details about surveys companies might undertake and the benefits of this form of market research.
In years past, the survey was typically carried out in person – we perhaps all have the image of someone standing with a pen and paper, trying to gauge opinion from members of the public.
Things have come a long way.
Acquiring data in person is still highly valid and may be the best way to reach the target audience.
If, for instance, you want to survey people about a popular shopping mall, the range of shops for instance, then it may make sense to head there and capture data from shoppers.
You know that they are users of the facilities and so their insight is valid.
If you want to get survey data from people at your own business, then a personal approach might be the best option.
An online survey could work, but take-up might be low if not managed carefully and the sample created from those who do participate is not truly representative.
Nowadays it is of course possible to carry out surveys remotely.
This means that huge numbers of people can be surveyed from locations all around the UK, Europe and beyond.
There is no singular right approach, the method should change based on the individual project.
The skill of the market research agency lies in knowing the best approach – the approach that can deliver the insight required, data that is reliable, data that is representative but also captured in a way that is both efficient for time and cost.
The need to be representative is worth focusing on.
If we look at how a survey within a business may be run, there can often be the potential for data to be misleading if not managed properly.
Let us imagine that an online survey is made to assess staff satisfaction.
Online surveys will not automatically have the best engagement rate – only a percentage of employees will respond, especially without reminders.
However, who will respond immediately? Those who have issues and are unhappy.
Now, their concerns may be fully valid and follow-up qualitative work could delve into them and potentially find solutions.
For the quantitative survey data though this creates a dangerous pattern.
Of those who respond, it may be that 30% express high levels of dissatisfaction – however, had you captured everyone it might have been at just 5% or lower.
The survey for business can be very different from the survey of a general cross-section of people for a simple preference.
If you’re trying to find out the UK’s favourite TV channels, you don’t need to ask everyone, you need to ask a selection of people and for this group to be representative of more general population trends.
However, for many business questions, especially those involving employees, it will often be important that everyone is surveyed.
Often, we hear from potential clients who want to undertake surveys because they are a ‘simple’ way to gain insights.
You have a list of questions, you ask people those questions and record the data, then you group this into findings.
Compared to other options such as focus groups, interviews and user testing it sounds straightforward.
And we would agree that surveys are easy to set up – just so long as you don’t really care if the results are fully representative, usable, or in a form that will easily lead to follow-up work and insights.
The devil is in the details.
Here is how we would look to work.
It all starts from the brief.
What is it that the business or organisation is looking to find, even if this is at a high level?
What is the key question that they are looking to answer, the elevator pitch for undertaking research.
From this, and querying it, and asking questions to draw out further thoughts on the aims of the research, a plan can be made that determines the best market research options to use.
It may be that surveys alone are enough, or surveys might be part of an approach.
It could also be that our expertise suggests that, actually, surveys would not be the best option.
Let’s assume that surveys are of use.
There is then the precise make-up of these surveys.
What are they looking to ask, what data must they capture? How will they cope with answers that don’t fall neatly into the prescribed categories?
The business survey may also have to work alongside other forms of data capture; what should the survey discover and how is this distinct from other forms of market research?
Or is it not distinct, is it instead to confirm or challenge findings found elsewhere.
Market research has to follow a plan. Does the project start with the survey, or does the survey follow an earlier stage? Is there a pre-screening stage that precedes the survey?
The survey must be sent to the correct people – that is a representative group.
This will vary by project. It may be a broad selection, or it may be a subset – a company may feel it is popular among a certain age group or demographic but is not having success with other groups.
To delve into this, it would want to survey this group of people, rather than having results diluted by those who do not fit this profile.
The survey itself then has to identify the data that can both be useful of itself but also be able to inform future stages of research.
You cannot easily go back and ask people to do the survey anew because you forgot a key question.
In market research, there can be a feeling that you don’t know what the interesting findings will be until you get them.
The skill of the research agency is in ensuring that these unknowns can be recorded and then analysed.
The beauty of a good survey is that it seems easy, but so much work goes into both the survey and the wider research question.
It is that cliche of a swan swimming. Graceful, but under the surface the legs are going frantically.
There are multiple types of surveys for companies and the list below is not intended to be comprehensive. Instead, it is a few examples of typical uses.
We would always create bespoke questions tailored to your needs, but some examples of the type of questions a survey might include are:
(note, product could be swapped for service)
To be honest, we could make a list of thousands of potential questions. However, it is not our job to be prescriptive and to shoehorn the same old questions into a client’s research project.
Instead, by working with a client, questions can be created that are best suited to the needs.
Often, these questions might explore common themes but do so in a slightly creative way. Some questions can sound very formal, if you want data from a younger demographic, it may be useful to speak in a more authentic tone.
Case studies can give a valuable insight into how surveys can be used as part of a wider piece of market research.
We have worked on numerous projects and links to two very different projects are below – both heavily utilised this form of data capture
Our Approach to Quantitative Market Research
We’re happy to work with you as your consultative partners, discussing your brief and then designing all elements of the quantitative research to ensure your project runs smoothly from start to finish.
Working with us means:
Our large medical marketing research team is on hand to help with all your research queries. We’ve got years of experience working with a wide range of healthcare users and companies who work in this field.
Our award-winning pharmaceutical market research team has been recognised throughout our industry, with a reputation for lateral thinking and problem solving that seeks to answer the questions at the heart of your brief.
We provide a tailored, full service approach which begins from our earliest conversations and continues with your dedicated project manager who will keep you updated throughout the research process.
We’re happy to discuss any research methodology and will provide transparent and practical advice on the feasibility of your project.
Please call us on 0161 234 9440 or use our Contact Form to discuss your requirements for market research.