When And How To Benchmark

Any given study can serve as a baseline study to which future tracking surveys can be compared. It's typically more effective, however, when a baseline study is purposefully set up as such. Creating a dedicated high-quality baseline research study that is optimized for future tracking can range from very simple to very complicated. It depends on a number of factors:�

  • Survey type, such as advertising/marketing awareness, customer satisfaction or lost customer. A customer satisfaction baseline research study, for example, often is complex due to a greater need for multivariate analysis to establish satisfaction drivers.

  • Internal knowledge of the issue. This depends on whether management feels they have a clear understanding of the issues. Developmental techniques, such as moderated employee brainstorming sessions or in-depth interviews with key respondent segments, may be required to validate the baseline research study. Also, if internal knowledge is low, a longer baseline survey may be recommended. With a properly designed longer survey, statistical driver analysis can be conducted to uncover which measures are most closely correlated to the key measure of interest (overall awareness, loyalty, etc.). This allows the tracking survey to be streamlined to contain only the most critical questions.

  • Internal buy-in. Chances are that the results of your baseline research study and follow up tracking survey will be tied to performance improvement initiatives for several people and processes. As such, it is critical to obtain the support of those most involved in the process. The importance of internal buy-in to the ultimate success of your research program cannot be overstated.�

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