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One of the reasons a study of the magnitude of CIMS has not been done in the past is that it is difficult to find qualified respondents.

In consumer-oriented syndicated research, you are usually looking for adults over 18, for example, and almost every household you call or visit will have at least one.

But when you are looking for computer-buying influencers, a large percentage of households have no qualified prospects.

That means a lot of phone calls to find the people you want. Intelli-Quest made a staggering 179,000 phone calls for CIMS 3.0.

The company's researchers started with random calls to homes. They asked whether anyone in the household "has been or will be involved in the purchase of computer-related products and services for use at home within the last 12 months or the next 12 months."

They then selected one person in that house who qualified to be sent a questionnaire. They sent out 9,000 questionnaires and got back 5,190. Using a complex formula, they determined that this represents a 63.9% response rate. These responses form the basis of the home portion of the study.

At the same time, they used these calls to capture a representative sample of the business influencer universe. Respondents qualified as business influencers if they met one of three criteria:

Participate in the purchase decision process for computer-related products for their organization (evaluate, authorize, determine need, etc.).

Provide more advice than they receive about computer-related products.

Have input into which brands of computer-related products are purchased for work.

Because this was a random sample of all U.S. homes with phones, this part of the study allowed the researchers to make accurate projections of the entire U.S. business influencer universe and it provided the basis for weighting of all respondents to the business study.

IntelliQuest selected 7,273 respondents from the home study and sent them both a paper questionnaire (for readership/viewership questions) and a disk for purchase information and demographics. Disks were returned by 3,565.

To ensure adequate coverage of key business influencers who control a disproportionate share of the purchase dollars, IntelliQuest also used the Dun & Bradstreet Office Intensive Site File to select 11,800 qualified business influencers. Of those, 6,292 completed questionnaires/disks and returned them.

Overall response rate for the business portion of the study was calculated to be 57.7%.

-Jack Edmonston

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