Tag Archives: Product

10 Ways to Drive Survey Engagement

By Melissa Moxley,
Lightspeed GMI

According to a spring 2015 study from Microsoft, the average human
attention span has fallen below that of goldfish — and you can blame it on the
gadgets we use to watch YouTube videos and play “Crossy Road.” The researchers clocked the
average human attention span at just 8 seconds in 2013, falling 4 seconds from
the 12-second average in 2000, and putting humans just 1 second below goldfish.
We made the transition from CATI to online, but now we need
to make the transition from online to mobile. But, how do we keep survey
respondents engaged in a way that captures their attention? Can we carry them
past that eight second threshold?
From a questionnaire design perspective, we need to balance the
marketing research hat with the respondent hat. Yes, we need to ensure our
paired comparison questions are all implemented for proper analysis, but let’s
grab the attention of our respondents with some color and images, bringing life
to our questions. Let’s be their distraction.  
Regardless of whether or not respondents are on-the-go or
planted in their office or home, distractions are all around them. Have you
tried to take a survey while emails are accumulating in your inbox? Your
messenger pings are flashing and your boss is seconds away from walking in for
your 2:00p.m. meeting? How about taking a survey while cooking dinner, briefing
your husband on the day and pacifying the toddler pulling at your leg? While
these are exaggerated situations, reality isn’t too far off. Respondents
nowadays are taking surveys from anywhere and at any time. We need to capture
their attention and retain it.
Be the Distraction

So how do we do it? While we can’t sit next to every
respondent as they enter in their answers, we can take measures to prevent them
from closing their browser and moving on. Your survey should serve as the
distraction; your respondent shouldn’t be distraction from your survey.
Below are the 10 ways to design an appealing survey. Remember,
you only have eight seconds to engage.
1.     Scrolling
= Work = Dropouts
??  No one
wants to work to read an attribute list or find the ‘next’ button in order to
progress. The key here is ease, try
to limit your response lists to 15 points and minimize scrolling as best as you
2.     Be
Concise: The Shorter, The Better
??  I like
to promote the Twitter mentality: 140 characters, short and concise and easy to
3.     Avoid
Repetition: Didn’t I Already Answer That?
??  Nothing
is worse than being mid-survey and thinking just that. Don’t ask respondents to
rank their top three brands and then turn around and rank their top six. 
4.     Spacing:
Feng Shui Your Survey
??  The
spacing between the question text, response lists and images needs to be optimized
and balanced within the screen so that there is balance and symmetry.
5.     Sizing:
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
??  This
applies to font size throughout the survey (consistency is key) as well as
image sizing. There needs to be a middle ground between squinting in order to
read the question and scrolling in order to see the entire ad or concept being
6.     Consider
Compatibility: Are respondents going to be taking the survey on a PC? Tablet?
Mobile? All of the above?
??  Test
surveys on all potential devices and don’t allow mobile or tablet usage if the
survey isn’t compatible; it’s not worth jeopardizing the data or the
respondents experience
7.     Question
Types: the right question yields the right answers
??  If you
are asking respondents to ‘select all that apply’ ensure they can do so. In
turn, respondents should be able to visually tell which options they’ve
selected, getting rewarded for their answers
8.     Get
Active! Designing ‘active’ questions = engaged respondents
??  It’s
not just for physical health anymore. Mentally, respondents want something to
do when giving their opinion, they like dragging logos in order to rank them or
sliding the scale to the number ’10′ because they really do ‘strongly agree’
with that statement.
9.     Find
your inner artist: Colors, visuals and design elements go a long way.
??  Using
these features effectively in a survey locks the respondents’ attention and
keeps it from click to click.
10.  Survey
Experience: Taking the time to remove your researcher hat and put on your
respondent hat helps ensure the experience is an enjoyable one
??  Once
you’re positive you’ve got the survey of your dreams in place, take a step back
and look at it from a high level. Are the colors consistent from page to page? Was
that Arial font on question 10 when the rest of the survey was in Times Roman?
When the instructions say ‘roll over image to zoom,’ is it really working?
Still with me? If you’re at the end of this list, you’ve
made it past the eight second mark and are clearly engaged!
About the Author:  Melissa Moxley serves as Lightspeed GMI’s
Global Product Marketing Manager. As a key member of the Global Marketing and
Business Strategy Team, Melissa drives the adaption and implementation of
QuestionArts, Lightspeed GMI’s survey programming and design. As an escalation
point for regional teams, Melissa strategizes on commercial and marketing based
engagements and ensures global compliance.

The Marketing of Creating Product Anxiety

Daily, we hear of a new fad in the world of thirsty consumers. Apple rules the roost of having new products yearly. Recalling the years when Harry Potter and Twilight releases meant brands clamoring for attention still rings a marketing bell. Teetering on borderline obsessive, the anxiety attack is something I have explored several times before, and its a psychological facet that continues to amaze me.

makes these tremendous launches a mega success even before they hit the
earth are the hype  that they generate, which in turn induces anxiety
amongst a majority of populations. Hype truly resonates with today’s
yuppy and less yuppy generations alike, and is the apt verb used by lookbook.nu‘s
ecstatic fashionnistas trying to carve a name or make a few friends
based on inspirational looks. With multiple footholds of hype, anxiety
comes into play, which in turn represents the gap between needs and

needs and wants represent the degree to which we aspire something, it
is the level to which its utility and our anxiety align that predicts
how popular it will be when it hits the public. This in turn can allow
firms to manage their marketing expenditures, for if something creates
an unaided hype, it can be profitable to reap the benefits of this
induced anxiety. Yet, for a sustained hype, the product must also be
positioned as somewhat useful; hence the utility aspect.

This gives rise to the Anxiety Framework, whose parameters and quadrants need not be confused with the Shopper Psychology framework. Utility describes the usefulness of something that we desire ‘ a movie, a product, or anything. Anxiety is the level to which we want it (where notice that the want can be created, as  in aforementioned examples).


When high on utility and anxiety,
products and experiences become a necessity. They are useful on many
fronts of daily life, and with the ability to create enough anxiety to
make the waits worth it, this is where every company, manufacturer, and
experience maker wants to ultimately be. Apple often holds this enviable
spot, being a category creator for MP3 players and tablets alike. The
Macbook Pro (so frequently not called a laptop), with its
portability and ease of working ability, is by far a necessity. Other
laptops are substitutes in comparison, or perhaps a functionality.


A functional product or experience is
one that is high on utility, thus incredibly useful in the objective it
fulfills, but low on anxiety. Marketers have often either not adequately
created the hype, or have not felt the need to create it at all. And
yet, if sales are high, then unaided awareness shows that the product is
truly a success. Showbiz underdogs and word-of-mouth movie hits like
Slumdog or Million Dollar Baby exemplify this. And of course, the
underhyped releases of laptops that still place Dell and Sony in
business sans inflated anxiety shows that functionality can be a
bread-and-butter winner for any corp.


Products and experiences that are so
high on anxiety with a low relative utility are a craving. Our urge to
watch cinema, for most, falls into the craving quadrant, unless of
course we are aspiring showbiz stars seeking inspiration. A craving is
the dream of modern day marketing, where with the use of public
relations and social media can enable the creation of hype to fulfill
the initial costs of investment. Thus, even though media showed a slump
in the Deathly Hallows penultimate theatrical revenue, the tremendous hype ensured record openings. iPads can fall into this category, as many have reviewed that they are not the best for what they cost. And yet the sales refuse to
plummet, as competitors come out with their own versions. My favorite
craving was from Spanish accessory and jewelry line Uno de 50 ‘ claiming to make only 50 pieces of any ensemble that was created. Scarcity indeed induces anxiety!


Low on anxiety and low on utility? While
this lethal combination would make it sound like a company ought to
close shop, products and experiences here thrive on the fact that they
are a support to others. Often product complements, and sometimes even
substitutes, fall into the support category. A cool multi-functional
gadget (where the strangely shady advertising does not indicate the
longevity of the product), a cheaper tech gadget, an unhyped, marginally
ineffective but more economical smartphone would fall here. For even
the worst of smartphones still have a market! As would the series of tech accessories ‘ from
underperforming stylus pens to low budget unexpected hits  that garner
revenue nonetheless ‘ Snakes on a Plane, anyone?

Notes to take?

As a corporation,
try to always allocate marketing budgets wisely, bearing in mind what
position your product, experience, or consumer output is attempting to
take. Hype is a useful tool to generate anxiety in both your target
market and growth opportunity markets. The key is to learn how to
sustain the hype.

And consumers,
watch thy anxiety level! Always try to match it, or rather pre-empt it,
with utility. The ‘do I really need this’ clich?? never fails, albeit is
often forgotten or found to be duller than a ‘I want it!’ urge.
Emotional drivers are always challenging to manage, as discovered in a
study of emotional decision making. As always, things are easier said than done.

Sourabh Sharma,
Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international
consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering,
marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton
School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and
product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting,
he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called
3FS. He may be reached at
s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on