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Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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The Project: Surveying Customers About a New Luxury Product

Our project was an online survey for a marketing consulting firm, Urban Wallace Associates, that was trying to gauge consumer interest in a new luxury product. (To maintain confidentiality, we've had to change some of the details throughout this chapter relating to the content of the survey questions.) The survey audience was the same demographic as the product's eventual retail audience: wealthy individuals between the ages of 55 and 75.

An email survey was not our client's first choice. Urban Wallace Associates had already attempted a telephone survey of the target group. "Normally, we get about 35% answering machines," says UWA President, Roger Urban. "In this group, we got more than 80% answering machines. When someone did pick up, it was usually the housekeeper!"

Unable to get a satisfactory sample of the target audience on the phone, our client turned to email. One of the reasons our client chose this communication method is because, for this affluent group, email is a near-universal utility. And while email faces its own set of gatekeepers—namely, automated junk mail filters—very few people, as of yet, hire others to read it for them. Even the wealthy still open their own emails.

Urban Wallace Associates secured an email marketing firm to help generate and prequalify the recipient list, and to deliver and track the outgoing messages. Our firm was brought in to design and build the survey landing page, which would open ...

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