How to Target Your Consumer Survey

The first step with any consumer survey is to determine the target audience. Who should take this survey, and why?

Imagine you’re launching a new product—say, an app to help moms schedule their kids’ school and extracurricular activities. It pulls in data from email, from Google Calendar, and syncs with the kids’ school calendar to update in real-time.

You have the idea to survey, of course, new moms. The app is called “MomLife,” after all. It was designed with moms in mind — specifically, moms with at least two school-aged kids.

So you design a survey for moms, and assume that anyone who’s not a mom just won’t be invited in the first place. Easy enough, right?

Not exactly.

Yes, PeopleFish can pre-screen so that only moms can enter your survey. But are you really so sure about your app’s target audience that you’re willing to ignore everyone else? What about dads? Mothers of babies/infants? Grandparents? Nannies?

The point is this: Your market research survey should be broad enough to discover unconsidered markets, but narrow enough to “zoom in” on the most likely customers.

So in case of the example above, if you’re 75% sure that moms are going to be this app’s primary users, then match 75% of your sample to this persona. If you’re only 25% sure, then match 25% of your sample.

The rest of the sample should include anyone else you think might possibly benefit from the app. If it’s 75% moms, for example, make the remaining 25% dads. Or survey 50% moms, 25% dads, and 25% in-home grandparents.

This way, you’ll be sure to cast a net wide enough to discover new market opportunities, but narrow enough that you’ll still have enough responses to run deeper analysis on just your primary target (i.e. moms).

All of this presumes that you include enough responses in your initial survey such that 50% of the total still equals enough to run deeper, more targeted analyses. We always recommend surveys survey no less than 200 people, but 300 is ideal. And more is always better.

Targeting your survey may seem straightforward, but a little out-of-the-box thinking could open up doors you never thought about — ones that could make or break your product launch.