As much as we hate to do it, in order to protect the integrity and accuracy of our studies, we sometimes find ourselves rejecting surveys submitted by fellow printers. We are currently in the process of tabulating data contained in a 59,000 cell Excel data base. Even under the best of circumstances, it often involves spending 80-100 hours or more just cleaning up the data base before we can begin to create tables and add all the various additional calculations that we provide our participants.
For every 100 surveys we receive, there will typically be five or six survey forms where participants appear to be far more interested in receiving a free copy than they are in providing us with accurate data. Our recent 2016-2017 Printing Industry Digital Printing Pricing Survey is a case in point. We received more than 220 surveys prior to the deadline.
After initial examination of the data, we detected 12 surveys that we felt needed to be rejected and excluded from our data base. We don’t do things like this lightly, because we know if we reject a survey we are most likely going to create an enemy, and we have enough of those already! <g>
Nonetheless, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. So we are sharing with you a letter that was just sent out to 12 firms. This is the letter we sent:
“Dear survey participant and fellow printer,
During the process of preparing the data base for our 2016-2017 Digital Printing Pricing Survey we encountered approximately 12-14 surveys that were submitted that on first glance we are tempted to reject. The reasons for rejecting these survey forms are varied, but most involve major inconsistencies, careless entries, or in a few cases answers that were clearly guesses rather than the results of actual calculations. Your survey form fell into one or more of those categories.
We spend approximately 90+ hours examining virtually every single one of the 59,000 cells in our spreadsheet. We calculate averages, medians, differences between the two, standard deviation and then we conduct a variety of additional checks to make sure we are reporting the most accurate data possible. We take our obligation to provide the industry with the most accurate data possible, and we expect our survey participants to follow the rules and take whatever time is necessary to complete these surveys accurately.
To avoid rejection of your survey form and to ensure that you get your complimentary copy, we are asking you to forward by USPS your worksheet. According to our marketing material, you were requested to first complete a worksheet and then to retain that worksheet in the event of further inquiries. You can send the worksheet to the address listed at the bottom of this email.
We will need to receive that survey worksheet within the next 10 days – no later than Aug. 11, 2016. If we receive it, we will take that submission as a sign of good faith and you will receive your complimentary copy as promised. If we don’t, it is highly unlikely that you will receive your complimentary copy.
We apologize if this request seems overly harsh or unreasonable, BUT there is nothing more aggravating, frustrating and discouraging than to encounter survey forms that show every sign that they were rushed, casually completed, etc. and that takes the time away from analyzing the data submitted by more than 200 other owners who did take the time to complete the surveys. Sincerely, John Stewart.”