There’s no shortage of online survey tools floating around cyberspace, from the entry-level affordable fave SurveyMonkey (running only) to much more expensive enterprise-ready tools that can do all sorts of sophisticated analysis. Working on a project for Vivek Wadhwa at Duke University, I got the chance to mess around with SurveyGizmo.com, which comes in roughly in the middle of the price range for these types of online apps. Pricing ranges from free to $159 per month for the top offering. A quick peek under the hood shows that these guys have been doing some real work and putting a lot of distance between their product and SurveyMonkey. The breakdown of the offerings runs almost four full screens vertically and is fairly dizzying. All the offerings have some nice heft and SurveyGizmo claims it will never delete your survey data for any survey as long as you are an active member — a sort of “oops, I deleted it” insurance policy that I can attest from personal experience is quite handy. All levels have unlimited numbers of questions. All the paid levels also have a month-to-month contract and no forced lock-in, although you will get a better rate coughing up for an annual version.
Serious users will want to stick to the Enterprise or Pro ($49/mo) versions due to the larger sample sizes possible (50,000 for Enterprise and 5,000 for Pro). Only Enterprise users get team-based permissions, a very nice feature for larger sample sets. The survey pages are highly customizable with full CSS/HTML control so they can be branded to match other Webpages. You can include pretty much anything you want in the survey content - video, audio, multi-media. There are a dizzying array of question types and tons of advanced features such as Salesforce and ExactTarget integration, external database synching, and validation tools to make sure no one is pulling funny stuff. The feature set is actually far more than mere mortals would need or use, even among ace marketers. The true gem in all this is the Reporting tools. The tools make it super easy to create granular screens using simple logic commands in pull-down menus — even an idiot could slice and dice data with these tools. Even better, SurveyGizmo allows enterprise users to execute crosstab analysis on questions, obviating much of the need to make nasty Excel pivot tables. Reports can be exported in Word, Excel or PDF. I’m going to be looking at several other tools like this but I personally enjoyed working with SurveyGizmo. They charge a relatively modest $45 to import surveys from other engines (first three are free for enterprise users on an annual contract). I never had any trouble figuring out how to make the tools work. The company itself is very responsive (although they won’t go as far as to promise full-fledged support, understandably). I got email replies fairly quickly. Among their happy clients they include Harvard, University of California, Johns Hopkins and a host of other top-tier schools. I can definitely reccomend this tool to folks pondering online surveys.