person Guy Potter access_time October 25, 2017

I’ll start with my favourite topic in this regular set of thought pieces; people not respondents.

People are people. Let’s get that straight. We are all people, we like to do the things that other people do; send out Tweets, check Facebook, eat a good meal out, go to the cinema, visit the pub.

We do not (even those of us with a professional interest in the subject) like to take part in market research.

We do not want to complete surveys, be bounced about by a router or be screened out of surveys because we do not eat x or y regularly enough.

We don’t have the time to do the things most of us want to do as people.  We would all prefer to be doing something and although that differs by person, it would be a rare find indeed if that person said they would prefer to be doing market research.  So shouldn’t we stop talking about respondents and start thinking about people, treating them right.

That would be a great start, if we could all stop thinking about respondents and start thinking about people.

It is a truism, if you treat people right, they do right by you.  Treat anyone badly; ignore them, take up their time and give them nothing back, then you can’t expect anything from them.  We all know what we are loyal to, what makes us tick and it isn’t surveys.

So do we practice what we preach?  How do we treat people as people?

“Keep it short, keep it simple, keep it easy”.

A great mantra, like “do no Evil”.  We at MaruUsurv mean that and our software and approach has been designed to treat people as people.

Grids – the bane of the life of many respondents (and researchers) – let’s make sure they can be answered on a mobile. Let’s restrict the number of characters and let’s restrict the number of columns.  This is perhaps not what a client wants to hear, but it is what they should hear and it is what the people who fill out surveys want to hear.  We have turned away work because we believe it would be too intrusive on people.

We reward people for their efforts, and for clicking through to our surveys.  If they have gone to the effort to click on a link then let’s recognise that.  We will reward people if they click through to a survey, even if they don’t eat x or y regularly enough.  We need to respect people and their time.  So we have hard limits on the length of questionnaires, the majority of our questionnaires are short (very short) and because of this our questionnaires get filled out.

It is the 21st century and there is a change in the way we communicate, respond and interact with those around us.  Twitter, Google and Facebook have altered the way we interact with everyone, forever.  The way we communicate, speak and learn has been changed by technology.

If we as a leading-edge market research technology firm does not put our stake in the ground and say enough is enough, no one will.  So let’s start respecting people, they are people, respect their time, remember they have better things to do with their time, and only enable surveys that can be done easily and instinctively to get in front of people.

As an industry if we don’t start treating people as people, then there will be no more people to answer our questionnaires, and then where will we be?

Guy Potter is maru / usurv's head of research and clients.