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One more survey

An interesting activity we did last week-end was a survey for our marketing project. The prof is the scariest one here and so all our guys were out to the city armed with their questionnaires. I have a memorable first experience with surveying. It was in Class 9 when Mee introduced us to the Tamil Nadu Science Forum. About 6 of us did 2 projects. I must be grateful to Mee and her mom for showing us the way. I remember going out to houses in our locality with a bevy of girls from our class. All the observers ogled at the girls. We did our matter-of-fact survey about domestic issues. Being locals ourselves, we used to be warmly welcomed at all the homes. In fact, we would know most of the people ourselves, our sampling location being a small one. Two of us fought to ride on her cycle, for reasons best known to adolescence. I have always admitted to getting worldly-aware a lot late and asked characteristic stupid questions sometimes to the chagrin of my companions. We used to be serve with the choicest coffee (which I abhor). I don’t remember what we did with our responses. The grand finale was a special lunch at Mee’s place where I heartily had a lot of first-time food.

We had one survey at the start of our MBA, which was of course part of our ragging. At the second one in our 2nd term, we tasted the special vadas of Sarafa in Indore. Last Friday, we went to the M G Road branch of ICICI Bank (our topic). We graciously checked with the Operations Manager there if we could conduct our surveys in the branch premises. Our school tag did not help us and he graciously refused us to do anything inside. So the 2 of us stood outside the branch near the ‘Ganne Ka Ras’ (cane juice – my favourite) and waited to speak to the customers. My first target was an ICICI Home Loans agent. I tried to get the questionnaire filled by talking to him. He gave up after the 2nd question, asking loudly if I was indeed speaking proper Hindi. What a way to start!

I handed the questionnaire to the 2nd guy and asked him to fill it up. We progressed slowly. In spite of our expectations that we should have it easy at the largest branch in the city, we could get only 14 responses in 3 hours. That is an average of 7 for the day and 2 for an hour. If I tried to approach any female, she would go away from him as if I were a repulsive creature. Even our success stories were turned off by the length of our questionnaires (4 pages) and started ticking options randomly. Some of our targets blankly said they were not interested. Probably we looked like YACSAs (Yet Another Creditcard Sales Agents). One software engineer in Hyd treated us like dirt and rudely told us we have to listen as we represent the bank and he is a KING customer. It was a hard day. We even tried crossing the road to the mall of Indore – Treasure Island. There were more people from our batch with different questionnaires. Well, the girls seem to be having it easy.

One group just enjoyed the mall experience – Pizza Hut and other joints – before returning with a response. Some of our respondents assumed we were from the bank. I spoiled the leisure time of a Big Bazaar employee who would otherwise have seen the good-looking-girls of Indore who keep their faces unveiled only when they enter these joints. Disappointed with our work, we moved to an ATM near the MY Hospital. Here too, we didn’t have a great time and so at 6.30 we called it quits and moved to Chappan – the snacks delight of Indore. I had my favourite “Shikanji”. Indore’s Shikanji (unlike North India’s limewater) is made from rabdi and dry fruits. It is a heavenly drink.

The next day, we went straight to the ATM. This was our lucky day and we finished about 15 responses in 2 hours. One lady called it a timepass and filled it. One student started asking us about CAT. One guy appreciated our questionnaire. Another guy demanded 2rs to fill the questionnaire. I replied poorly that we were students and he didn’t persist with this demand. At the end of our responses, we again went to Chappan. We had “Sabudhana (tapioca) kichdi” and Sabudhana Vada, again Indore’s own delicacies. We wound up with a glass of Shikanji and a pizza at the Hut. I let all my respondents fill up the survey. If I had started asking them, I would have taken a lifetime to fill my quota. Now I shall let the cruncher to analyse the data!

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Categories: Bschool
  1. Me
    23 March 2006 at 9:59 am

    I shall let the cruncher to analyse the data!

    indha 29 responsesaaa crunch & analyzeaaa….hey i feel ur data is too small to get some results out of it…..

    btw did u read any books on surveys and market research before doing this??

  2. gopi
    23 March 2006 at 10:37 am

    spark, for most of the time, tries fusion of themes. one theme always being the food he took in & around indore and the other being what he wrote the blog for.

  3. 23 March 2006 at 1:49 pm

    me, lemme clarify. there were 3 other guys in our team who did another interesting set of responses. so we had about 100 responses in total 🙂 we have a whole course on research methods 😉

    gopi, valid observation

  4. A
    24 March 2006 at 12:02 am

    Hahaha, I totally agree with Gopi!

    Hmm, I guess I would have been one of those snooty people who refused to take the survey. I have an irrational fear of *any* person who remotely resembles a marketer!

  5. 24 March 2006 at 8:33 am

    what! all of you out to tease my food associations 🙂

    don’t remind me of the girls/ladies who ran away on seeing us. do i look so repulsive? or are the indore ladies really shy?

  6. sk
    24 March 2006 at 7:37 pm

    hey, nice.

    i dont remember doing any survey. and i think i will suck at it too.. esp cos it involves talking to strangers 😉

  7. 24 March 2006 at 10:02 pm

    sk, you never know!

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