A marketing survey can be a fun PR exercise.
But at the end of the day, surveys aren't about having fun – they are about getting meaningful PR results. And it's a basic fact of the universe that the most well constructed surveys are the ones that get the most PR mileage.
Effective marketing surveys have four components. Unless all four of those components are done well, your survey may not have the integrity to secure the PR placements you're hoping for.
An effective marketing survey begins with a strategy. Before you create the survey, you need to consider what you want it to accomplish. What big question do you want the survey to answer? How will you use the survey to advance your company's PR goals? What story themes do you expect to emerge from the survey? All of these questions have to be answered before you're ready to move on to the next step.
With your strategy in hand, it's time to plunge head first into survey design. The goal is to design a survey that makes it easy for people to participate. Ask specific questions, but make keep them short and limit them to a manageable number. Also, you should put your most important questions near the top of the survey and use consistent, engaging language from start to finish. Interesting questions will keep your participants engaged, but all of your questions need to deliver answers to your most pressing strategy concerns.
A marketing survey is only as good as the people who participate in it. There are a lot of ways to encourage participation, but using convenient survey mediums (e.g. emails) is a great place to start. If you're unsure about your ability to attract a random sampling of participants, consider contracting a PR firm to conduct the survey for you.
Professional-level analysis is a must for serious PR placements. First-rate media contacts will wonder how your survey was conducted and the method by which the results were tabulated. If you try to cut corners here it could come back to bite you later. After the numbers have been analyzed, condense the results into a single phrase or sentence and use it as the centerpiece of your PR pitch.