I went to 3 different grad schools (two for Comm. Sciences & Disorders programs, and one for Secondary Ed). Only finished the 3rd one. I’d explain, but it’s a long story plus I have sold the rights to the Lifetime channel, who will be making a t.v. movie of it starring Meredith Baxter-Birney, costarring Danielle Brisbois as the sassy neighbor.
But I digress.
One summer evening in 1997, I was glaring at application forms. I was in the middle of round 2 of applying for grad school. I’d done everything but the essays. Oh lordy, the essays. You’d think since I like to write I wouldn’t mind doing essays, but for academic purposes I very much do. Mind it. With multiple choice tests, you circle answers and, right or wrong, you’re done. With an essay, when are you done? Some might say you are never truly done with a piece of writing. Yes, well, for something that will be assessed, I find that fact unsettling and unsatisfying.
So, glaring at the applications. Deeply wishing that some deus ex machina would sweep in and write them, or at least provide a legitimate reason to procrastinate, when the phone rang. Normally one to ignore a phone, I leapt for it.
The young man on the line said that he was with a marketing research firm conducting a survey about the upcoming feature film “Beautician and the Beast”, starring “The Nanny’s” Fran Drescher. He said it would take about 20 minutes of my time. I was needed, people.
I practically shouted, “I’d love to take your survey!”. He’d obviously had no takers that day because he was very surprised, kept thanking me, and had to rummage around to locate the survey questions.
The takeaway here? I think your average person is not motivated to take surveys by the chance to win a prize or help a cause. The big motivator is an opportunity to avoid something worse than your survey. These are the people to locate, Mr. and Ms. Survey Launcher. The downside is, your population will be 100% procrastinators. This would typically not be an issue, however, unless you are looking to gauge interest in, say, a book called, “Get Off Yer Duff and Take Care of That Thing Already.”
Oh, and – you may have trouble getting these folks off the line. Me, after being barraged by questions about Fran Drescher, beauticians, movie ads, beasts, and who knows what else, had feelings of genuine disappointment when the surveyor was wrapping up.
“So . . . that’s all the questions, huh?” I asked, trying to sound casual. “You folks researching any other films?” I could practically hear his finger hovering above the disconnect button.
Fine, I thought. Just you wait until you decide to apply for school, mister.