Surveys

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If you have a specific information requirement and a definable audience, it is likely you can collect useful survey data. In order to use survey results to make business decisions, you must design a non-biased questionnaire. Doing so requires attention to detail and significant expertise. There are many good books available on questionnaire design and initiating a survey. However, if you are depending on the survey to assist you with a costly decision, you may want to consider hiring a professional marketing research firm. Surveys are typically used when statistical significance is required. Disadvantage: Survey design and implementation are usually expensive.

However, community colleges and universities have marketing management programs where students can be hired on a confidential consulting basis as part of their curriculum. The students do not have the experience of professional firms, but will often do a reasonable job at little cost. Do your homework before embarking on a survey. Assure you will get the information you require.