Professional associations often compile or conduct market research to benefit their members or to help promote the association. Many times, these industry reports are conducted annually to provide the association with up-to-date information and also provide a basis of comparison from year to year.
While there are many methods and formats for conducting and collecting research, it is most important to produce quality data that association members need and that the industry is interested in.
A major association within the residential construction market asked AIM to assist them with conducting research with their members. The topics they wanted to explore involved highly sensitive and confidential data.
The research the association had been conducting involved collecting financial data on companies’ income and expenses as well as employee wage and benefits data. When the current vendor deliverable kept being stretched out, making the information less relevant by the time it was published, the association sought another third-party company to examine their problem. Gathering member recommendations, the association selected AIM to design, manage and produce timely industry reports that offered members assurance their data would be completely confidential and would not be shared with other members or staff at the association. At the same time, the association could use the information to uncover industry trends and patterns, which in turn enabled the association to support their objectives in the marketplace.
AIM first recommended finding out if the information being collected was, in fact, what the members wanted. AIM conducted one-on-one interviews with key members to find out what type information and data they were most interested in collecting.
The success of any survey instrument is dependent on pinpointing what data is most important and how the data will be used. At the start of any research project, AIM always challenges clients whether information from the data yields simply “nice to know” or “need to know.” Accurate business decisions require filtering, as clients always want to get as much information as possible. Collecting too much data adds to survey length and complexity, reducing respondent engagement and participation, thus lowering response rates.
In order to maintain the confidentiality of member data, AIM designed an on-line survey platform for members to access and input survey data using a password-protected system. Members used their email to set-up their own password to access the survey and input their responses. Since members needed different employees within their company to input data into the survey, AIM designed the survey system to allow multiple employees within a member company to access and input data. Rigorous security (i.e., when employees leave) were part of the notification and management process.
AIM also designed the software platform to allow members to save data and logout at any point and return at a different time to complete the data.
To make it easy for members to review and input data, AIM also offered members a downloadable pdf of the survey. This gave members a chance to preview the data they would need to complete the survey prior to logging in. In addition, AIM allowed members the ability to print their final survey for future reference.
AIM has served the association for more than five years, delivering annual financial, wage and benefits industry reports for its membership. These reports have provided members with useful, accurate and timely industry data to help companies evaluate their position and performance against others in the industry with complete confidentiality. AIM’s ability to design and maintain this confidential, easy-to-use survey platform helped increase member participation (41%) and produced more accurate industry reports, enlightening members with market knowledge and tactics they could use to give their own customers what they want and need in the products they manufacture.
For more information on industry or market research, please contact Patty Fleider at email@example.com or 847-358-8558.