Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Survey Demographics - Tip from the Pros

Let's face it--good marketing professionals create and utilize a substantial number of surveys. Whether analyzing, testing or measuring impact, research results drive good planning, good strategy and effective creative. So how can we build better surveys?

Here's a tip from the pros. When you are creating your demographic questions, take advantage of a couple of subtle, but powerful formatting tactics.

1- Collecting age data
Don't construct arbitrary age brackets, such as
18 to 20
21 to 30
31 to 40
41 to 50

Instead, align your age groupings with cohort groups, as follows:
23 years of age or younger - Millennial / Echo-boomers
24 to 31 years of age - N Generation (aka Internet Generation, Gen Y)
32 to 42 - Generation X
43 to 53 - Trailing Edge Boomers
54 to 62 - Leading Edge Boomers
63 to 80 - Postwar Cohort

In such fashion, you can build insights into your age group findings by turning to cohort theory and psychographic trends for comparison.

2- Collecting income data

Instead of formulating arbitrary income brackets such as-
$50,000 per year or less
$50k to $100k
$100k to $150k
$150k to $200k
$200k or more

Create your income brackets to align with US Census data groupings, as follows-
$34,999 per year or less
$35,000 to $49,999
$50,000 to $74,999
$75,000 to $99,999
$100,000 to $149,999
$150,000 to $199,999
$200k or more

Again, you'll have an immediate basis for comparison, a benchmark in the Census data for the particular community, metro, county or state.

Marketing geniuses, what other research/survey tips would you be willing to share? We'd love to hear from you!

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Blogger Paul Soldera said...

A good thing to do is just ask the year born in, then you can construct any age cohort after the fact. Harder to do with income as people are less likely to give you an exact number.

My top tip would be keep them short and make them fun. People will be glad to give you their opinion as long as you don't abuse their time.

9:49 PM

Blogger epsoriwebmaster said...

What a hoot! Loved reading your blog!

4:09 AM

Blogger ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

Thank you Skip for the tips, this makes so much sense!

If you do any research, remember there are almost going to be exceptions to the statistics.

That's why you should supplement the generalities with anecdotal, in depth information. You may be surprised at what you find.

I will be republishing your article at 9am Friday at Collective Wisdom.

10:29 AM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Thanks, Paul.
Good tip. Hope we'll see your words on here frequently!


3:24 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Glad to oblige! Thanks for your comment. Please come back often!


3:27 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Wise words, indeed!

You are so generous and kind. Thanks for the cross- promotion.We'll get you back soom.


3:33 PM

Anonymous Casey said...

Great article…those small changes make you look at the categories in a whole new light.

8:52 AM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Thanks for joining the conversation! I'm glad you found the research tips to be helpful. Hope you'll come back again and again.


12:38 PM

Anonymous Casey said...

Thanks Skip!

1:53 AM


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