CRC 2019 Podcast Series

2019 CRC Series – Susan Griffith – Readex Research

Welcome to the 2019 CRC Series. Recorded live in Orlando, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Susan Griffith, Ad Effectiveness Sales Manager at Readex Research.

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Hi, this is Jamin. You’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. The next set of episodes are conversations I had at this year’s Corporate Researchers Conference or CRC. This is put on by the Insights Association in Orlando, Florida. I had quite a few interesting conversations highlighting specific companies that exhibited this year as well as a couple of speakers, Wells Fargo, IBM, etc. I hope you have a really good rest of your day and enjoy these short episodes.


Hi, this is Jamin. You’re listening to Happy Market Research Podcast. The show floor is being torn down. Exhibitors are packing up, looking forward to just getting to their cats, dogs, kids, whatevers. It’s going to be a pretty good time, and I have the pleasure of having Susan Griffith with Readex Research as my guest. How are you today?


I am terrific. Thank you for asking.


Tell me about Readex and that’s R E A D E X.


Correct. We are a company based out of beautiful Stillwater, Minnesota, which is just north of St. Paul. Our specialty is online and mail survey research, self-administered studies, which nobody’s prompting. Its participants are taking the survey sort of at their leisure. It’s timed but at their leisure. So, been in business since 1947, long before me. But I am a legacy employee. Back in the day the company was started by an ad agency executive and they were trying to determine…


I mean that’s like early days of research.


Exactly, whether ads were being read and impactful. So back in the day print, there are still mail surveys done this way but the survey is sent out with a copy of the publication and people put their remarks on it. It’s sent back to Readex. But my mom (getting back to my legacy), she was one of the housewives that would go to Readex, pick up a stack of magazines, bring them home, and in our basement, she would compile and organize the scoring of what happened. So, that was back in the day.


Love it, all manual process.


Exactly. In the basement. So fast forward to now, I would say about 75% of our business is online, but we still do a lot of mail surveys, which is why we are here.


National Research Corporation is a company that does patient satisfaction, and the government has required that a certain proportion of patient satisfaction still be done through mail. Why? Because there is a portion of the population that is not online, which is really interesting. And it’s almost like it’s the other way now, where we’re all in on online and digital. And I can’t think of the last time somebody has done a paper survey.


Exactly. Well, think about even your mailbox at home or at work; we tend to get less mail. So now, the mail survey isn’t part of a huge stack of ads and things you don’t need. It is not unique, but it isn’t in a big stack anymore. And you’re right. I think about industries where there’s an aging population. I think about remote populations. And then we do some work in human resources, employee satisfaction surveys. And one of the niches about that is the confidentiality factor. So, lots of DIY tools, I won’t mention the name, are not confidential.


That’s right, totally.


So, you go to a manufacturing plant where a large percentage of the employees are in a factory without email addresses. So that’s another place that people choose mail over online.


So interesting, isn’t it?


Plus, response rates are usually better.


Is that right?


That is true.


Do you do the $2 in the envelope thing?


It’s a dollar for most. Back in the day, it was a penny, but yes, inflation or otherwise, a dollar is really kind of the mainstream. However, in some tougher markets, I would say we have a few customers that will put in $10 checks, and I say tougher markets, I’m thinking physicians.


Still a very inexpensive cost per interview.


Yep, exactly.


What kind of response rates do you get with paper?


Paper? I would say it runs the gamut. There are factors that influence it. Longer questionnaires, you have to be mindful of response fatigue. So, a standard 20-question survey, 35% to 55%, especially if you’re asking questions that are really engaging the person taking it. Here’s an example: When we work with associations and they are being asked about member benefits and why are they here and what’s been important to their membership, those are high responding audiences because you’re asking them for their opinions, which could impact decisions that the organization makes.


Yeah, the response rate thing I think is really… It’d be fun to do an A-B test with online and paper just to see what the IR would be because my hunch is that there… You’re seeing IR continue to plummet online. So, now maybe it’s time to put the other shoe on the foot. Kind of fun. What kind of costs? What is the cost Delta there? How does that look?


Well, methodology, email versus mail; email is typically cheaper. We know we’re just swapping electrons. Determining factors would be the length of the questionnaire and how much data we’re going to be asking. Even formatting questions, structured questions require a check and this, and open ends require some transcription, potentially comment coding. But then on the back end, the deliverables: You just want an Excel file that’s pretty reasonable. But if you want us to put together a pretty presentation. “Ready. Here you go. Here’s your results.” Cost there, too.


If somebody wants to get in contact with you, Susan, how would they do that?


Very easily by phone (651) 439-8066 or email


Give us the phone number one more time.


(651) 439-8066.


And, of course, that will be in the show notes. What do you think about the show?


Love it. You know, I haven’t had a lot of in terms of volume conversations, but good quality ones. That’s what you come for.


Yeah, exactly. The ROI on these kinds of things is pretty straightforward, right? You get one customer and you’ve probably paid for the show.


Exactly. Plus, it’s just nice to be seen in the space that you’re good at and you’re involved in.


Absolutely. I totally agree with that point. That’s like exactly right. Well, it’s an honor having you on the podcast. Thanks so much. Everybody else, have a great rest of your day. I am signing out.