The Power of the People: How to Leverage Surveys

What can you do to strengthen your marketing campaigns? Survey says, you need to be doing more surveys. Data can help round out your story while driving media coverage. Surveys are effective for generating such data. If done well, the facts and figures can be used immediately, and then continued to be cited for months or even years to come.

From online to in-person to focus groups, there are many ways to conduct a survey. Follow these tips to implement surveys successfully in your marketing campaign:

  1. Pick a newsworthy and relevant topic. For your results to generate publicity successfully, you need to share information around a topic that will be of interest to your target audience. It’s equally important to avoid topics that have been covered in 100 other surveys. The topic should be compelling and unique enough to make the findings newsworthy.
  2. Work backwards. When developing a survey, it’s important to ask yourself “What headline am I hoping to see from the results?” Each survey question should be based on the headline it will generate. This will help result in more newsworthy and attention-grabbing findings.
  3. Be brief. Keep it short – if you ask for too much of a respondent’s time, they’ll either answer in a haphazard manner, which dramatically impacts the value of the data, or they won’t participate at all. A good rule of thumb is to limit the number of questions to less than 10.
  4. Sample size matters. For nationwide consumer surveys a sample size of 1,000 is usually large enough qualify as credible. It’s also typically the minimum that reporters need to include it as news. For targeted or specialized audiences, a sample size as low as 100 is acceptable.
  5. Throw out the boring results. Don’t feel compelled to use all of the data just because you have it. Select the most attention-grabbing answers and run with them. One Mulberry client survey found that 63% of respondents reported a lack of confidence in using an AED, and only 54% said they felt comfortable administering CPR. These are the types of result to highlight.
  6. Slice and dice the data. Don’t just report the number of responses to each question. Break down the stats by age, gender or geographic region to uncover additional insights. This will allow you to tailor your results for specific reporters and/or target markets.
  7. Promote the results in multiple formats. Announce the findings of the survey through a press release and through your social media channels. But you didn’t invest all this money to just write a press release and move on. Get as much mileage out of them as you can. Use the findings throughout the year in media and marketing efforts, e-books, bylined articles, social media, press releases and website copy.
  8. Package it up. The media loves visual content that they can share with readers. Create an infographic that summarizes key data points and tells a story. Make it easy to share via social media.
  9. Turn data into insight. Don’t just present the findings. You need to make a case for what kind of decision the data supports. In the example mentioned earlier, the client used the survey findings to make the connection that the majority of Americans want a quick, thorough and hygienic public restroom experience.

When done properly, surveys are a great way to gather insight into target audiences that you can use to create communications campaigns that achieve business objectives. Survey findings and statistics are powerful tools that can help you tell a story. And telling stories helps drive the customer-brand relationship.


Christina Alvarez is a Senior Account Supervisor in Mulberry’s Chicago office. With nearly a decade of communications agency experience, she enjoys securing media relations wins and positioning clients as industry thought leaders.