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The One Question You Should Never Ask

December 21st, 2012 · 1 Comment

In 2013 NGMR Professionals Officially Retire the Profession Screener Question

Market research professionals certainly get attached to their survey questions. Much has been written about the hotly debated and supposed ‘Only Question You Ever Need to Ask’ (NPS). But rarely do market researchers think critically about the questions that are less important and asked simply out of tradition such as ethnicity.

Perhaps the Grand Daddy of all useless questions is the all too popular screener question usually worded something like “Do you or anyone in your family work in any of the following industries?”. A list which typically include everything from the various client industries of interest to marketing, pr, advertising and also market research are then listed as options. If the respondent doesn’t choose “None of the above” they are terminated from the study.

In the Next Gen Market Research group this week the unpopularity of this question became apparent. I postulated that respondents, especially panelists know what this first question is for and will usually answer “none of the above”, and that I believed not even market researchers themselves answer this question truthfully.

Of course assumptions aren’t good enough in research, so a poll was quickly created to test the hypothesis. As it turns out, the vast majority of researchers have answered “No” to this question for various reasons (see heated discussion).

What’s the take away? I think we have finally established that this question is useless. If it is important to screen out by industry it needs to be done in a more clever way.

So starting in 2013, don’t be a Last Gen Researcher. This silly question may have served some purpose years ago. But today it’s just a waste of space and sets the wrong tone to your survey (encouraging respondents to take you less seriously - gaming).

Be brief - Be smart- Be Next Gen!


Tags: Analytics · Market Research · Marketing research · NGMR · Sampling · Surveys · Uncategorized · next gen market research · tomhcanderson

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Tom H C Anderson // Dec 21, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Please join myself and other Next Gen Market Research Professionals as we retire this question to the annals of marketing research

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