Ever wondered what your customers really think? It’s easier than ever
to find out. A number of new and not-so-new online survey tools are
making customer research accessible to everyone. But while the tools
exist, the art of questionnaire design and the science of research
methodology are still critical to successful surveys.
and open-source organizations have created affordable, user-friendly
online survey tools. The most common are Zoomerang, Survey Monkey and
LimeSurvey. Each of these providers offers free basic service and a
variety of paid premium services. Each has basic tools for survey
design and reporting. With some variations, each allows marketers to
build, conduct and analyze surveys. Here’s a little tour of each one,
with some pros and cons.
Zoomerang has lots of
options for question types, but data analysis features leave a little
bit to be desired. One great feature that Zoomerang offers is the
ability to embed images into questions, allowing researchers to gather
data on visual responses as well as written questions. Zoomerang’s
annual contract pricing may scare some noobs away and may prohibit some
low-volume researchers from using the service.
type options are not quite as robust as in Zoomerang, but data
analysis options are a little more sophisticated. Survey Monkey is very
easy to use and has an affordable monthly rate. One thing I really
like about Survey Monkey is their tie-in with Mail Chimp – an online
I haven’t used this service yet, but in taking the tour, I’ve
discovered a few very interesting things. Before I jump in, I’d like to
thank Guy Hagen @ Innovation Insight
for turning me on to this open source tool.
LimeSurvey offers an
online, hosted version, called LimeService, and a customizable download
version that allows sophisticated web programmers a very robust tool.
The download version can be a powerful tool for more advanced
researchers. LimeService has an interesting band-width-based pricing
model. The more questions you ask and the more respondents you have,
the more you pay. This is a great feature for low-volume researchers
and makes it easy for newbies to kick the tires. LimeSurvey appears to
have some limitations in question/survey formatting, based on the demo
survey on the site. In particular, it doesn’t appear that LimeSurvey
allows for skip-pattern survey design. This is a big deal, especially
if you have a highly heterogeneous respondent pool.
survey tools are making market research much more accessible for small
businesses. Short learning curves, low pricing and relatively robust
survey and analysis capabilities make the leading services great
options for entry-level researchers.But with great power, comes great
responsibility. Sound research strategy and solid survey design
practices are critical to getting the most out of these tools. It’s
easier than ever to ask bad questions and gather misleading data. Just
because a tool is easy to use, doesn’t mean it will generate worthwhile
data. Researchers must be sure their results are reliable to avoid
making bad decisions later on.
Page 2 of 6