What Is Your Mission? Whether you are in business trying to grow or in science striving to know – it is important to start your data discovery journey with a goal. Usually in the form of a question: “What are we trying to improve?”  Just understanding this question will serve you in following steps when conducting online market research – especially fast paced online research.

Understanding what you want to improve will keep you focused on what is important and lead you to sources of information which will help you gather data to help understand the dynamics of the current scope of the problem to be solved.

Again knowing your mission will help you clearly target on priorities so you can keep your attention on the data and the audience to be sampled. Which will be essential when you want to stay on budget and think about respondent engagement.

In the end, when you are wrapping up your report and writing your executive summary you will reflect on how glad you are that you stayed on mission.


  • What Are You Trying To Improve
  • Focus on Sources and Quality of Information
  • Focus on Study Design & Priorities

Study Design

Map It Out!

As soon as you are clear on the What – the next step is the How.

This is where things start to become particularly important. Especially as they relate to details later in the process. Decisions made here will affect online sampling, programming, data and statistical analysis.

Decide what is the best study methodology for the problem you are trying to solve. Is it mostly exploratory and qualitative? Maybe online bulletin boards , focus groups, or in-depth interviews are more appropriate.

Are you looking at simple online message testing or A/B testing? Then make sure you have defined your target audience and set up effective ways to measure online response rates that match marketplace behavior.

Are you conducting a multi-country study? Be certain that your language translations are also localized to allow for cultural nuances and norms in order to avoid a brand blooper or worse, an international incident!


  • Online Qualitative or Online Quantitative – Both?
  • Apply the Right Methodology, Using Common Sense to the Appropriate Audience.
  • Think Global / Act Local – Design Your Study With Local Markets in Mind.


Be Online Survey Savvy

Qualifications / Observations / Classifications 

Simply stated, any online data collection exercise (like online questionnaires) contain a screener section, which is in effect a gate, or a series of questions designed to determine whether a respondent qualifies for your survey. There is no rule to say which questions are correct for your screener, only that you combine them together to filter you to the right respondent.  Your screener is the final authority on respondent survey qualification. Your panel company may send you targeted prescreened respondents, but you still have to be certain they pass all of your screening criteria before you qualify them to enter your survey.

Depending on what type of online research you are conducting your questionnaire observations section will vary widely. If you are doing an Attitude & Usage Study, you may have many sections;

  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Purchase 
  • Advertising Awareness
  • Brand Perceptions
  • Ratings 
  • Usage 
  • Media Consumption 

If you are conducting other types of studies, like pricing or feature modeling, you might include a Discrete Choice Analysis or Conjoint Analysis into the questionnaire design.

For market researchers, classification generally means a demographics section.  Online consumer research generally includes: 

  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Income 
  • Education 
  • Ethnicity 
  • Race 
  • Region 
  • Children 
  • Relationship Status 

Online B2B research includes: 

  • Industry 
  • Revenue 
  • Employees 
  • Industry Subsegments 
  • Region. 

Every data point collected adds another dimension to your survey reporting depth. So think about what story you will want to tell and what level of detail you will need to understand. The greater the granularity the more cases you will need to collect to be able to get statistical accuracy and validity.


  • A Well Designed Screener Gets You the Right Respondents
  • Choose Your Online Survey Type and Questions to Match the Story You Are Telling
  • Survey Length / More Questions May Increase the Number of Cases Required to Collect

Sampling & Field

Online Sampling for Results

Your online survey is ready, programed and you tested it yourself. Or perhaps you need to contract with an online sampling company to connect you with your audience and program your survey.  Either way once you have finished programming the questionnaire you will generally want to do a slow start with a handful for respondents and then do a data check ( depending on the complexity of the online survey).

Once you are satisfied with the program you can begin a full launch of the study. It is important to manage the flow of online sample carefully so that you get balanced responses. You also need to make sure you set quotas in your demos and subgroups so you do not overshoot targets and miss other targets. This is the responsibility of the programmer and the online sample company to coordinate together. A good online sample partner can guide you through setting up your program correctly (if you are a survey DIYer) or they can manage the whole thing for you.

Successful Online Sampling Audiences for Consumers / B2B / Healthcare take experience and skill. Delivering quality sample to customers with great service takes all that and more. Online sampling is where the quality begins and ends. Make sure you know what you are getting and you are getting the service you deserve.


  • Remember Slow Start Your Survey Once it’s Programmed and Tested
  • Expect the Online Sample Company To Guide Sample and Quota Balancing to Reach all Targets and Subgroups.
  • Your Online Sample Company Is Responsible for Getting you the Right Audience  – Choose Wisely
  • Contact Us

Report & Action

Do the Research – Tell the Story

It’s all come together now. The responses are coming in and you will be done soon. You probably have preliminary data to get a read on where things are headed, and the tables are all set up and ready to run once the final cases are collected.  A full set of cross-tabs should be ready within a day of the end of field.

Curating Insights, posting supporting charts & tables can require some Online Market Research Support. This is science – but it is not rocket science. Find the key points that relate back to your mission. What are the variables that will most drive change if you apply different inputs to them?. What are the likelihoods? Who will be affected ?  What are the Costs / Benefits / Risks?

This Is Your Story!


  • Get Reporting Setup In Advance
  • Leverage Help for Curating Insights & Posting Tables & Charts
  • Tie the Data Discovery to the Mission and Tell the Story