Marketing information that doesn't cost the earth

Copyright 2001 by Nigel Bradley

Market research is essential but can prove expensive. An effective option  for marketers watching their costs is to consider an omnibus survey. For a few hundred pounds you can ask a private question among a representative sample and receive answers very quickly. Data gathering costs are offset and divided. Most well designed omnibus surveys allow each participant to have their own unique set of findings.

 Benefits include inspecting international markets very quickly, checking out unexpected events in www markets and monitoring changes over time.

 However, there is a risk that one set of questions could be affected by other sets. To ensure this is not a problem check that those managing the survey don't accept questions covering similar topics, put personal / sensitive questions at the end and restrict the average interview length to 25 minutes. This minimises the risk of respondent burn out and also means fewer topics will be covered.

 If you are still worried that your information might be contaminated simply ask for your set of questions to be asked first.

 The omnibus is not a substitute for custom-designed market research but should be seen as an essential part of the marketing budget, a provision for expected and unexpected events. Its other key function is as a tracking device, 'matched' samples can be provided week on week.

 Research agencies initiate, design and manage omnibuses. They are available "off the shelf" in most countries of the world. The main types of survey are consumer, children and motoring. Some business surveys exist and where your particular market is not covered, you could ask a research agency to consider creating one. Most large agencies are listed at

First published as Budget Tips  in Marketing Business -  No 104 page 46  November 2001 (Chartered Institute of Marketing Magazine)



 Last updated 7 November 2001. Please report any corrections to me at this email address

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