The saying “Will it play in Peoria?” originated in the early ’20s and ’30s during the US vaudeville era and is used to ask whether a given product, person, promotional theme, or event will appeal to mainstream America, or across a broad range of demographic/psychographic groups. The success of this resilient phrase can be attributed to the fact that the population of Peoria was fairly representative of the country as a whole.
When analyzing your survey data one important factor you need to keep in mind is how the respondents geographical location impacts their responses. What may be true on the west coast may differ from the east coast as well as all points in-between. For example:
A recent consumer spending study by TD Ameritrade found geographic differences in consumer spending, noting that 52% of those from the Northeast postponed a major purchase, compared with 39% of consumers from the West. 19% of consumers from the Northeast said that they postponed pregnancies, adoption and other means of enlarging their families, compared with 7% of those living in the West. Also, 50% of residents in the Northeast are buying fewer clothes or shoes, compared with 44% of residents out West.
The latest Daily Kos Presidential Approval Rating survey shows President Obama with a 61% approval rating overall, but it finds deep divisions based on regions: Obama’s performance is approved by a phenomenal 85% approval rating in the Northeast, 66% in the West and 68% in the Midwest, however only 34% of Southerners approve of the job Obama is doing.
As the above results demonstrate, opinions vary greatly from market to market. Determining preferences based on demographics, including geographic location, is key to defining your actionable data. Whether you break down your respondents geographic location by country, region, state, city, urban, suburban or rural areas, using a comparison report to segment your survey results will help you better understand the geographic differences of your survey data and plan accordingly.