Telltale Signs of a Pointless Poll
Of course those 99% keep reading the pointless polls, and most research firms are happy to keep generating pointless polls. The problem? Too few research firms are willing and able to help clients differentiate a survey that is informative and truly worthy of print, versus one that is pointless.
So how do you know if your poll is pointless? Here are four telltale signs:
- The questions ask about sex or chocolate or root canals. Some people think it is interesting and newsworthy to compare how much consumers want to mop floors versus having a root canal, or whether they would rather give up cell phones versus chocolate versus sex. In our view, questions like these often seem like desperate attempts for attention.
- The only goal is a USA Today Snapshot. A cute graphic on the front page of USA Today is nice if you can get it, but if there are no other substantial outlets, distribution channels, or content providers you know would be interested in your survey findings, then the poll is probably not worth doing.
- The questions have little strategic importance. We feel strongly that polls should not be gimmicks designed solely to land news coverage. If you can’t describe how the substantive findings affect your business decisions or strategy, then it’s probably a pointless poll.
- No one really wants to know the answers to the questions. Before fielding a survey, have colleagues in your company (or better yet, media contacts outside of your company) read the questions. If nobody has a sincere interest in how the results will land, then your poll is probably pointless.
Call us if you are considering a survey to support your marketing or PR efforts. We’ll help you avoid the pitfalls of pointless polls with a substantive survey that will make you proud.