By Jane Hales, Managing Partner at Sapio Research
Welcome to part two of our series on creating research projects that will drive real results in your PR and marketing activity. If you missed it, you can check out part one here. Below you’ll find five more top tips for creating research surveys that will gain powerful, focused data sets from CISOs and other security decision makers.
6 – Make sure the format is interesting
A dull format can lead to the respondent getting bored, resulting in inaccurate answers and weaker data. Try to mix it up with short and long questions. Include a few images, or a video if relevant. If you can, put some simple-to-answer questions among a set that require more thought.
Try not to ask lots of grid questions (i.e. rating questions), as these can become very tedious to answer. Keeping respondents interested increases the quality of responses, and the speed of fieldwork, as people are less likely to quit halfway through.
7 – Watch the length
We generally recommend sticking to a maximum of 30 questions, as more than this can cause people to lose interest. However, also be mindful that 15 long or complex questions can be the same survey length as 30 short or simple questions. If a survey is too long, the questions towards the end can fall victim to respondent fatigue, meaning responses will drop in quality. Try to be concise and avoid ‘nice to have’s. Respondents prefer the shorter questionnaires – and they also cost less to produce.
8 – Consider the question order
Think about the order you ask the questions in. It can make things easier for the respondent if you present them with a logical progression that has its own narrative. Suitable framing can also lead the respondent to choices – think hard if this is something you want to happen or not.
9 – Be mindful of the audience sensitivities
It can be tempting to ask brash questions to create thought provoking or controversial headlines but being outright offensive can be counterproductive. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were in the shoes of the respondent and asked that question.
10 – Plan for the future
Consider dividing the questionnaire into different sections covering varying topics. You can then release one campaign or short white paper per quarter, throughout the year from just one survey. Most trend data surveys have a shelf life of 12 months, while topical surveys are relevant to journalist for around six months.
The larger the scale of the project and the broader the topics, the longer you can tap into the results. A particularly strong piece of research can also start to gain a life of its own, being referenced in on-going editorial coverage of related cyber security topics, and even being cited in other industry research papers.
You can also learn more about Sapio Research here.
In the meantime, check out the below episode of Cyber Beat, the éclat Marketing Podcast for more advice from Jane, including how to maximise results across PR and marketing activity.