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How to Use Research and Polling to Measure Results From Your Communications Strategy

Widmeyer Communications recently held a really informative presentation about how to get measurable results from your communications through polling and research. Here are some of the key tips that were shared for doing just that.

Doug Meyer, who is the Senior Vice President and Director of Research and Polling, explained that you can still use the traditional ways of measuring media success, such as through media clips, click-through rates and television ad views. Yet these traditional ways leave certain questions unanswered; for example, is your message actually getting out there and who is hearing it?

You have to remember that effective measurement needs to evaluate the reach and penetration of your message. Before any outreach, do some planning and research. You are trying to increase the awareness and knowledge of your issue and to do so, you need some quantitative objectives that will illustrate that. You can increase your chances of succeeding if you pre-test your campaign. You can do this through polling your audience to see if they feel your message is compelling and credible to them. You can also conduct surveys, focus groups and interviews with your audience.

If you have a small communications effort, it may not be worth the time and money - it takes about 5-10% of your campaign budget to take on an endeavor like this. But if you have a larger communications effort, it is worth it to become more efficient with your messaging and targeting.

If you want to create an effective campaign, research needs to be a part of it from start to finish. Polling, surveying and testing helps you to learn more about your members and supporters, learn about potential members and even renew interest in your issues and help them gain visibility.

Here are a few examples of research you can do:

Qualitative: Focus groups by phone, email or in person. Small group or individual interviews.

Quantitative: Telephone interviews. Online surveys (SurveyMonkey is a great tool). Video and website testing.

Think about what would work best for your organization so that you can make the most of your campaign and have it work effectively for your group.

-Yvonne Archer

April 20, 2007 in Media Training | Permalink


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Great ideas, and a good first step in responding to the critical state of the world as per the 2007 Getting Attention Nonprofit Marketing Survey -- over 2/3 of nonprofits do not track the impact of their marketing work, e.g. are planning to fail.

More on survey results here:

Posted by: Nancy Schwartz at Jun 8, 2007 12:47:33 PM

Great post, Yvonne. I'd like to add that the Widmeyer team talked a bit about collecting survey results through different tools. You might try administering the same survey online, via email, and via phone. If you know your audience really well and know they're not responsive to one particular vehicle, you may not want to do this. But if you're looking to expand your results, you might give it a try.

Posted by: Bobbi at May 2, 2007 1:53:18 PM

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