A slightly less-thought-about topic when it comes to survey data is “Whose opinion matters?” Not that it isn’t a focus during analysis, but target consumers are a part of all marketing, and are inevitably a topic of discussion during recaps. I’m talking about who you should be excluding from your data set for being irrelevant.
Example #1 – Spirits and Legal Drinking Age
The first situation when you should exclude someone is relatively obvious. We did a project for a liquor company, so, in the very rare case that someone under the age of 21 was interviewed (this typically happened at outdoor events where surveys weren’t tied to sampling), these results were immediately deleted.
After all, there is little point in targeting a consumer that cannot legally purchase your product.
Example #2 – Tourism and Children
Similarly, we had a project that was looking at tourism in specific states. We were attempting to discern how well the event was convincing people to choose a particular location as a vacation destination. So as a rule, we ignored results from anyone under the age of 18.
The thought process was that children under 18 were not likely to have much influence on where a family goes on vacation. Therefore, any feedback they have indicating they liked a certain state as a destination wasn’t necessarily relevant.
Additionally, they were skewing the data to some degree. Across the board, those under 18 had a higher satisfaction rating with everything. By removing them from the data, we were able to more clearly define how people were really reacting to the event set.
It’s important to look for these situations in all of your projects. It’s not always as simple as removing selected age groups. Keep in mind
- Who matters, and
- Who might be skewing your data by being included in the overall results.
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