A quick scan of both the quality press and the tabloids shows that surveys are a regular feature. Everything from a recent report showing that more than 2 million people have had to give up work to care for ill and disabled relatives, to more light-hearted studies like what percentage of fathers read to their children at bedtime, or how many people take their mobile phone to bath time, make it into the media.
Conducting a poll for the press might seem like a very straightforward, easy option for garnering those ‘column inches’. The press love statistics, don’t they? Certainly they do, but success is trickier than it might appear. “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital” (Aaron Levenstein). With so many other competing stories, how do you get your study to stand out?
We, at Mustard, have been advising our clients on how to make the most of this technique for several years now. We’ve been able to guide them at every stage of the process, from developing the initial idea, advising on the questionnaire, analysing the findings to come up with the key stories to securing coverage. All along the way we aim to think like the media – what’s new, what’s original, how will this be of interest to the readers? At the same time we’re thinking about how the study will benefit our client, either as a way to showcase its research expertise, for instance, or its understanding of a particular industry sector.
Maritz: raising the profile of its expertise in customer engagement
Here is just one example of how we’ve helped a client to make the most of research as part of their reputation building. Maritz Research, leaders in customer experience measurement, had acquired evolve24, a business specialising in social media monitoring, and wanted to gain coverage that highlighted this new dimension of their offer. Mustard, with Maritz, came up with the idea of a survey that would look at how consumers use social media to praise or complain. Before embarking on the study, we thought about a range of angles that would interest everyone from the general business press and journalists writing about social media, to publications for the research, marketing and CRM sectors. In advising on the questionnaire, we specified that we would want to be able to compare demographic groups and frequent and infrequent users of social media and networks.