Beyond your customer base
For a brand awareness study, you will be measuring how your brand is doing in the wider world, including those people who have heard of you but never bought from you. As a result, you’ll need to survey a population that goes beyond your customer database.
Achieving a representative sample usually means assembling a research panel. This is a group of people who have agreed to participate on an ongoing basis, usually in return for a reward.
Sample selection – what are your choices?
Some panel members can be recruited via your existing customer lists, while others can be invited to participate via social media channels, point of sale or via other marketing touchpoints.
Another route is to actively recruit via paid advertisements, lead generation or affiliate marketing services. While more expensive, these methods should help you find people who are less familiar with your brand and who will round out your survey population.
When you’re targeting your potential panel, consider whether you want to work on a local or national scale, and if you have any groups who can be excluded outright – for example people under a certain age or in a geographical area where you don’t operate.
Using profiling to find your audience
Within your panel there will be people who aren’t relevant to a particular brand tracking survey, whether due to gender, age, lifestyle or other demographic factors. For example, if your survey is tracking a brand of gardening equipment, you’ll want to screen out people who live in high-rise flats with no outdoor space.
Giving a short profiling questionnaire to all your members at sign-up can help you pre-sort your panel, so you can quickly pick out the people who fit your criteria for any given survey.
How big should your sample be?
Sample size is a delicate balancing act – not enough respondents and you risk skewing your results with an unrepresentative range of people, or over-burdening your panel members. Too many, and you incur extra expense for diminishing levels of benefit.