Surveys have been a longstanding staple tactic for healthcare communications professionals, valued for laying the foundation for rich content and insights that can help generate media storylines.
They can also be a large research investment, and within a content cluttered environment, we need to ask ourselves when is a survey still worthwhile and what can be done to help the results stand out in the crowded communications arena?
How to decide if a survey is the right fit
Before launching into a large-scale survey, there are key questions that need to be asked:
- Is there an existing knowledge gap in the therapeutic area?
- Could a survey help shed unique insights to help address this gap?
- Are there ways a survey can produce interesting findings that are new or different from existing research available in the public domain?
These are just preliminary questions but if the answers to the above are yes, the survey could be the right approach to take.
How to get the most out of a survey
As communicators, it’s important that we craft a survey that can lead to findings that are interesting, credible, and different. How can we do that? Here are a few tips (some of these may seem obvious but not always):
- Key Takeaways: When developing a survey, it’s easy to get bogged down in writing the questions. Keep in mind the types of overall insights and takeaways you hope to generate from the results and this will help you develop questions that are strategic and targeted to your overall communications objective.
- Survey Questions: Think out of the box and from different perspectives when crafting questions. There will always be those standard, straightforward line of questions within the survey, but you can also develop questions that can get people to think in new ways. For instance, if you are trying to uncover there is a lack of awareness in your therapeutic area, ask people how informed they are about other topic areas and you may generate an interesting finding from the results (e.g., A majority of Americans surveyed have more awareness of celebrity news and the latest YouTube viral video than the risks of developing disease X, which impacts 10 million people each year).
- Third-Party Partner: A third-party partner is critical to boosting the credibility of your survey. Involve them from the start and use their insights to make your survey results more robust.
- Packaging: Don’t overload your audiences with every data point, but instead choose the most interesting results that can be crafted into a storyline or multiple storylines that will generate rich content. With this rich content, you can then tailor it for your key audiences through multiple channels to deepen engagement (could be in the form of social media content, blog posts, internal communications materials, the list goes on)
At the end of the day, surveys are an evergreen programming tool because they can provide quality and insightful content for patients and the medical community. If done the right way, good survey research packaged together can help elevate awareness for your clients and brands and quality content can help cut through the clutter.