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5 min

Running an industry survey explained in 5 simple steps

How to run an industry survey in 5 simple steps

Sep 2, 2022
B2B market research
B2C market research


The first step when putting together a survey is to decide who you will target. Additionally, you should also decide what your aim is for conducting the survey. This can be anything from finding out how satisfied your customers are with their phone service provider, to finding out how many people in the UK use mobile banking apps. Once you've got this sorted you can start thinking about how you want the survey to look and feel. In this post, we'll cover five simple steps on how you can run an industry survey. 

For instance, the industry survey could capture economic activity in an industry over a period of time. Natwest's latest industry survey, from two months ago, signals a decline in business activity in the East Midlands region in the UK. Read more on the survey findings summarised by BusinessLive here

Therefore, an industry survey can be run on various topics depending on the nature of the survey project. Let's dive into some tips to run an industry survey.

Step 1: Deciding on the topic and aim

The first step in running an industry survey is to make sure that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. This will help you decide on the topic and aim of your survey. The topic of the survey will determine what kind of questions need to be asked.

Here are some key questions to consider when deciding on the aim:

  • What do I want to know? Do I need general information about the industry or specific details about one segment (for example, customers or suppliers)? If so, why?
  • Who is my target audience(s)? Are they all in one place (for example, online) or spread across locations (for example physically present at trade shows)? If so, where can I find them easily?
  • How can I reach them? (For example, through social media or email marketing.) What are my objectives?
  • What do I want to achieve with the survey?
  • Will it help me develop a new product or service? Or, will it give me a better understanding of how to market an existing one? How will I use the results once they are in hand?

For instance, EY recently ran an industry survey about the metaverse and the growth of the gaming industry. The survey focused on two-hundred gaming industry leaders from North America, Asia, and Europe. Read more on the industry survey here.

Step 2: Preparing a questionnaire

A questionnaire is a series of questions. The questions should be clear and concise, relevant to the topic, unbiased, and not leading, in a logical order. The questions should also be phrased in a way that encourages people to answer. It may seem obvious that you need good, useful questions before you can create your survey. But it's important to keep your audience in mind when writing them. For example:

  • Avoid asking respondents if they agree or disagree with statements like "I believe climate change is real". Instead, ask them how much they agree or disagree with the statement "Climate change is real." This makes it easier for them to provide an answer without feeling forced into expressing an opinion.
  • Questions should be direct rather than leading - this means avoiding words such as 'how', 'do', or 'would'. Leading questions also include those which are too long and ask multiple things at once, This is because these questions tend to confuse people who take online surveys.

Step 3: Preparing a list of target audience

Preparation is the key to a successful survey. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of getting good results. This means having a plan, and knowing who you need to contact and where they are located.

The first step in planning your survey is creating a list of target audience members (also known as respondents). You should list out all the people that you want to interview or ask questions to. If there’s someone specific that you want feedback from, make sure their contact information is on this list too. It’s also important to include any individuals that might help with things like designing surveys or contacting people with expertise in particular fields for help with surveys. Finally, if there are any events planned where some of these individuals will be present (such as trade shows), make sure those events are included on this list too!

Step 4: Planning your budget

Next, you’ll need to decide on your budget. Be sure to include all costs in this process; including any travel expenses and how much time you will spend on the survey itself. A good rule of thumb is that 1% of the total value of your industry is a good place to start (e.g., if an industry is worth $100 million, then a good budget would be between $1 million and $1.2 million). Once you have decided on your budget, it’s time to put together a plan for conducting your survey!

The first step is to decide what questions you will ask consumers. You should have a clear idea of what you want to find out. Additionally, you should keep your objective in mind while writing your survey questions. In addition, be sure that each question is clearly stated and easy for respondents to understand. The quality of your data depends on how well your questions are written and the survey itself should be brief. However, if the survey is complex and therefore requires more time, consider giving out a higher reward to the respondents.

Step 5: Market research company or industry survey platform

You can also partner with a market research company to conduct your industry survey. A market research company synthesises the process of data collection and analysis. The company will provide an end-to-end survey solution for your research project. This way, you can put more focus on core business activities and leave it to them to run the survey. If you're still unsure how to choose between a market research company and an industry survey platform, here are some questions you should ask:

  • How many surveys have your team members completed before? This is important because if the company or platform has been around for years, it's likely that the questionnaire has undergone several iterations and improvements. The more experience they have with running surveys, the better chances your project will be successful.
  • What kind of data do they collect? If a survey platform offers both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods as part of its service offering, then this is definitely worth considering. If they only offer one type, such as only qualitative data, then consider finding another solution.

With these 5 simple steps you can run an industry survey

Think about what you want to accomplish with your industry survey. What are you hoping to learn? Are there any questions that keep coming up from your clients or customers that could be addressed with a survey? If so, list out all of these questions in one place and start brainstorming answers. You can also think about how you’ll use the results afterward (for example, will they help inform product development or provide insight into new customer segments).

Once you have some ideas for potential questions, it’s time to create an actual draft version of the questionnaire itself. This is where things get more specific and you should take some time here to really think through each question carefully before including it in your survey. Remember that each response option should be given equal weight (i.e., not just “yes/no” answers) because this kind of information is crucial when analysing data later on. Once you’ve finished writing your questions, you can then move on to creating the industry survey.


Running an industry survey can be simplified if you have the right information to start with. At GrapeData, you can customise your own survey and get market insights with our simple and easy-to-use platform. We offer a wide range of tools that you can take advantage of, to create surveys with ease. If you'd like to learn more, check out our recent blog on '5 suggestions on how to run an industry survey from GrapeData'. However, an industry survey requires you to invest time and resources in order to get results that will be useful for your business. That’s why we suggest that you start by thinking about the answers you want to get from the research before starting on this journey. 

We hope this post has been helpful to start your survey journey. If you have any questions, contact us to learn more about an industry survey.

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