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  • Writer's pictureBruce Crandall

Unexpected Revelations Can Rightly Guide The Direction Of Your City

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

We enjoy working with clients large and small. Our relationship with cities is worth highlighting.

We recently finished CommunityView™ research in Elk Ridge City, Utah, and caught up with Mayor Ty Ellis. Like so many cities across the country, Mayor Ellis had gone the Survey Monkey route, but soon discovered that CommunityView™ saved him hours and hours of crafting a useful survey, fielding, and making sense of the data on the backend.

Here are a few excerpts from that conversation…

You conducted your own survey the other year. How did Survey Monkey compare to CommunityView™?

When doing it on our own, I tried to get input and write good questions. But it’s really difficult to write good questions, right? You can easily lead respondents and bias the survey. You can take them in the direction you want to go if you're not careful about how you word questions.

So we got everyone’s input, finished writing the survey, and sent it out. Then we got a bunch of answers back and that was the rub—Survey Monkey had some analysis tools, but it was left to us to interpret the findings. It didn’t mean anything to us, and so, really, what was the purpose?

In my mind, CommunityView™ is head and shoulders above what we did before because the questions were designed in such a way to better draw out what we needed without belaboring the fact. It seemed like CommunityView™ answered in just two or three questions what we had asked in 15 questions. It was really well thought out and targeted to what we needed.

Even more important, the survey findings were presented in a way that was easy to comprehend on the backend. The correlations were pretty straightforward. We ended up with a handful of very actionable things that we can now improve on. What MDI and CommunityView™ provided was far superior to trying to do it ourselves. And we now have an online dashboard that anyone of us can access anytime!

What surprises came out of the research?

We like to think we have a good handle on the city. But I was rather surprised at the importance of trails and parks and open space. You just don’t understand how important some things can be. Trails were not important to me. I see two or three people walking along trails and don’t pay any attention to that. After seeing how residents placed importance on it, I thought, “Wow, we need to give it attention.”

The data really confirmed why people move to Elk Ridge—it's not because we have a mall; we don't have a Target store; we don't have any retail at all; people aren't coming here for that—they like the quiet atmosphere, the outdoors. And that really opened my eyes to its importance.

Another revelation was how important our website is and that we need to make it a better tool for the city. We really need to give it attention.

How was your experience in working with Mobile Digital Insights?

I'm a skeptical person. I work in the software industry, live in that space. And so I hear this guy from MDI talking about surveys. But after listening a bit, you were pretty concise—that was appreciated. You told us briefly what you're capable of doing and what you thought you could do for the city. And that got me excited about doing this.

When you started going through the questions in CommunityView™ and how you put them together, it became enlightening because I realized this wasn't just going to be another Survey Monkey or some researcher trying to sell a product. Looking at the series of questions and how you correlated them, I really felt we would get value. That made it worth my time.

And you have been! I've been very impressed. When you go to Survey Monkey or some other do-it-yourself survey, you're left alone and have to figure out what it means. It feels good not to be left alone. Hard to admit, but we really needed help. MDI knows what they’re talking about.

There weren’t junky questions in CommunityView™, which is really important to people taking surveys, because people don't want to spend much time, especially when taking them on their phones. And I’ve seen a lot of really bad, lengthy surveys out there.

What would you tell leaders of other cities who may be considering CommunityView™?

First of all, if you ever consider doing it yourself, “bag” it. You're really not going to derive the value you want from a do-it-yourself survey. You're going to ask a bunch of questions that are just going to become “shelfware” afterwards. The next thing I'd say is if you really want to do a survey, you have to look at MDI and CommunityView™ because they’re going to be concise, direct, and to the point. And they deliver value. For instance, when we started talking, there was a “taxation” question that we didn’t know whether to include or just how to ask it. We didn’t know residents’ level of understanding. But the next thing I know it’s formulated perfectly and added to the survey. MDI was easy to work with, collaborative, and great at showing us why and how things would unfold.

We appreciate Mayor Ellis’s kind words. We’d love to share more about this useful, efficient, budget-friendly feedback system that can guide your city planning and direction.

About MDI

We’re all about you… Strategic. Fast. Value-driven. Clear. In the moment. Experienced. Resourceful. Confident. And of course, Mobile. We love collaborating, always keeping you top of mind. That’s why we’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest companies in over 40 countries—and right in your own neighborhood.


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