5 Best Practices of Survey Analysis & Reporting
We’ve all been there - stuck in a meeting where someone is presenting research with endless slides of table eye charts, going over every option to every question in painstaking detail, and never quite getting to the point of what action to take.
Don’t let that be you when you analyze and share your research! Here are five ways ways to ensure your survey hits the mark, grabs attention, and provokes change.
Start with the end
The #1 way to make your research hit the mark is to start with the end in mind. Before you even write your survey questions, make sample headlines of what the survey will discover. Sample headlines are the main data takeaways from your research. Some sample headlines might be:
The #1 concern that travellers have with staying at our hotel is X
X% of visitors to our showroom want to be approached by a salesperson within the first 10 minutes
Diners are X% more likely to choose our new lunch menu than our old one
You may even want to sketch out mock charts that show how the data will look in your results. If you “write” the results first, those results become a guide to help you design questions that ensure you get the data you want.
Data > Information > Insight
As the researcher, it’s your job to turn data into information and then to turn information into insights. Just sharing data is only halfway.
When you share your findings, don’t present the data. Don’t even present the information from the data. You want to present the insights that come from your information. Insights go beyond just sharing percentages and data breakouts.
Insights come when you apply knowledge and ideas to the data in the survey. Insights may take the form of a recommended action, or examining how two different data points are connected. An insight combines the science of the data with the art of the mind.
You will always get better feedback from your team if you do the hard work of finding insights to share instead of just showing them the data and waiting for them to make insights.
Gut Data Gut
We live in a data-driven society. Marketing is a data-driven business function. But don’t be afraid to overlap qualitative research findings onto your quantitative data. Don’t be hesitant to apply what you know in your gut with what you know from the data.
This is called “Gut Data Gut”. Check your gut, check your data, and check your gut. If you have personal experience with the research topic, use it! If you have qualitative research that supports the data, use it!
Your survey is one star in a constellation of information that combines to tell a story. Use every flake of information at your disposal. Just be sure to let your audience know when you are showing them findings from statistically significant research and when it comes from a different source.
Write a Mock Press Release
One of the biggest challenges of research is acting on it. This is sometimes called the “Knowing / Doing Gap” where an organization has a difficult time implementing truths they know.
One way you can ignite change with your research is to write a press release dated six months into the future that proudly announces all the changes as a result of your research. Maybe it touts the three new features that were added to your product. Perhaps it introduces your new approach to technical support. Maybe it outlines the improvements to your website.
After six months, gather your team and read the press release together to see how well you executed change based on the research.
Focus your Findings
TL;DR applies to research too. Everyone consumes information differently. Some people want to fly over your findings at 30,000 feet and others want to slog through the weeds in their rubber boots. You should package your research for these different research consumer types.
Package your survey findings in 5 ways:
- A 1-page executive summary with key insights
- A 1-page stat sheet that ticks off the top supporting stats
- A shareable slide deck with data visuals that can be understood as a stand-alone or by being presented in person
- Live dashboards with all the survey data that allow team members to filter the data and dig in as deeply as they want on a DIY basis
- The Mock Press Release (mentioned above)