Stations with the luxury of a having a research budget will be spending a big chunk of cash on that next perceptual survey. But are you getting data that will motivate change? Many research questionnaires are technically fine. Then when the results come in, everyone looks at one another and says, “What do we do with this?” Writing actionable questions is probably the most important factor in getting responses that can produce growth.

When designing a survey, it is important to roll up your sleeves and craft questions that produce answers the team can actually use. I’ve found the best way of doing this is working backwards. Start with the solution, and construct the survey in reverse order. Do not start with questions and hope to find a solution.

When we ask things like, “How Important is music in the morning?” or “Do you like a fun morning show?”, what do you hope to get from the survey? Yet we ask questions like this all the time, then scratch our heads to try and figure out what to do with the results.

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Coca Cola would never ask questions like, “How much do you like high carbonation?” or “Do you want more or less vanilla extract?” because respondents wouldn’t know how to answer those questions. Yet in radio, we do this all the time.

How to Write Actionable Questions


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