E-letter: Trick or treat

It’s a big month, so we will skip around a bit.

Kerry Knudsen

The preliminary results are in on our annual November Readers’ Survey, and I want to thank those of you that have answered, so far. As noted, earlier, this is an important tool for us to create valuable editorial. We do not sell your information to suppliers. We re-send the survey tomorrow, so if you have received a form and have not filled it out, please do so.

Of special interest, the percentage of you that would like a national flooring show in Canada has gone up to 78 percent from 70 percent since we last asked about six years ago. As noted, these are preliminary numbers, but we don’t expect that one to change much. In addition, 82 percent of you said you would travel to Toronto to support such a show.

Let me explain something important. We do our surveys by-the-book, and we have both the training and experience to do so. They are valid. We are legally bound to be accurate, and our regular advertisers know they get the access we promise to an energized, loyal and responsive market. You get valuable, independent, original content that addresses your business. We will tell you the truth, and do it in a statistically valid, verifiable way.

Each of our surveys reports its methods right up-front. But here’s where the eyes glaze, and I know why. I used to work with a salesman that demanded surveys be done by a specific company. The reason, he said, is that with surveys, “you get the answers you want.” That makes the survey a lie, and you know it, and I know it, so I did not participate.

Let’s look quickly at methods in an understandable way. You can cut this out and paste it:

  • You need to define your market size. Who do you want to sell to? In our case, we have 8,000 recipients that represent the floorcovering sector in Canada. If you want to reach that market, that is your “target.”
  • You need to decide what confidence level you want in the results. We typically ask for 95 percent confidence.
  • You need to know what margin of error you are willing to accept. We accept +/- 5 percent.
  • You need a statistically valid sample size. The calculation for a statistically valid sample of a 8,000 market with 95 percent confidence and a 5 percent margin of error is 367.
  • You need to select a random sample or declare your bias. We do not bias. We choose random.
  • You need to estimate your response rate. Ours is a blistering 12 percent. Our readers respect us and respond, which is why we took a break to not wear out our welcome. To get 367 responses at a 12 percent rate, we need to blast to 3,100 random recipients.

Let’s be honest. If you read other publications in our sector across North America, all you see is supplier news. We like supplier news, but our suppliers want to know they are reaching real people. That means reader response, and the readers of Coverings provide proof-positive that not only do you exist, read and respond, but that you like our independent, reader-focused, original content (96 percent !!!).

To be clear, I have been doing this for a long time, and I know of NO industry, anywhere, that responds with this degree of unanimity. You are sending a message. Let’s see if it’s heard. You can read more when we get the results finalized and tabulated. Please help. We are the last magazine standing that has resisted the commercialization and control of special interests.


Speaking of politically charged, has anybody noticed we have an election coming up? I don’t make any secret of the fact that I am a small-c conservative, or that I tend to really dislike Prime Minister Selfie. What an embarrassment. It makes me feel like wearing a toque in October.

This year, however, I can’t tell the difference between political messages from any parties. The big-C Conservatives seem to be in a race to promise to take more of our tax dollars, process them through the bureaucracy and give them back to us, after taking a cut, of course.

If you are attending any of the candidates’ debates in your own riding over the next couple of weeks, can I suggest that you ask what they see the future being of the public-sector unions? Will they grow or shrink? Will they exert more policy pressure or less? In fact, we should likely add a question about that on our survey.

Here’s something to think about. It’s science. Humans have a brain, and they also have an endocrine system. The endocrine system is largely a bunch of glands, including sex, that release hormones. Hormones can affect your brain, but they are not your brain. Somewhere, the distinction has become lost. All this stuff about gender identity, sex rights, etc., has to do with hormones and how they affect the brain.

The group most strongly affected by hormones is the under-35s. They are supposed to be hormone-driven, as they have a natural function to perform. However, the fact that their brains are affected by hormones more than reason is not a strong argument in favour of lowering the voting age. Quite the contrary. Since it seems we have the luxury of maturing much later in life, if at all, than did our forebears in the Middle Ages, it is logical to raise the voting age to 35. While we’re at it, we could also limit the vote to people that actually have something on the table – real property, a business or a few years of positive earnings, for example. That’s the way it was, back then.

Anyway, politics is everything. Politics decides whether your neighbourhood gets a new soccer pitch, whether your local theatre group can proceed and whether CBC reporters get a raise and pension guarantee. Politics decides whether the Canadian Union of Public Employees gets to dictate whether your children finish school. It’s your choice. Even if you agree with me that the choices do not always seems spacious, you need to get out and vote on the 21st, or you lose the right to bitch. I expect to both protect that right and to use it.

Thanks for reading. See you at the U.S. shows until we have our own, and whether under a new political regime or the juvenile one.


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