Best PracticesCustomer SurveysMarket Research

One Big Survey or Three Small Surveys?

One Big Survey or Three Small Surveys 300x225When it comes to market research projects, how big is too big?

I see many clients struggling these days with a mismatch between the amount of market research data they have to work with, and the time they have to truly analyze and synthesize it.

Maybe it’s time to challenge assumptions about project size?  Instead of that next big survey project, could it actually be better done as three small ones?

Yes, I know the arguments for one mega survey:

  • One data set is easier to manage (clean, weight, etc.)
  • Same respondents answer all questions
  • Possibly lower data collection costs
  • Possibly lower incentive costs

But I also see lots of these situations:

  • Data getting stale while clients struggle to find time to truly dive in
  • Data being unused because it gets lost in the noise of “louder”—though not necessarily more actionable—findings
  • Customer lists that are being abused by monster questionnaires

What do you think? Might it be more effective to do a larger number of smaller projects? Could you challenge your plans for that next big survey? What would it really mean (pros and cons), if you were to break it into a few small surveys?


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Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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