This is our least favored form of analysis. And yet, it remains the favored one. Ask your target the question and ye shall receive an answer! The question is, how pertinent is the response?
Time has shown that to get a pertinent response you need to ask a directive question. Ask a liberal question and you obtain a vague answer. And yet, communications analysts to use target feedback albeit with provisos and preferences.
Our target feedback preference is focus groups over questionnaires. Discussion triggers deeper responses than answering a form. A good moderator can open up the proverbial ‘can of worms’ that reveal a target’s more intimate thoughts.
The proviso, on any type of target feedback, is to exclude the decision maker and the communicator from the formulation of the questions. They will tell you that it is they who know what needs to be asked whereas what they need to share is the why. They need to share what they hope to improve or change not which questions will inform that decision. I have personally lost contracts for rejecting the decision maker’s directive but I did so knowing that the results would be so skewed as to be useless.