I’ve worked on a lot of surveys with my clients. We used surveys to determine what customers were thinking of buying, features they wanted, and how much they were willing to spend for the final product. Those surveys prevented a lot of marketing errors in our final result. Many of the big technology companies out there make regular use of surveys for market research. Surveys can get you into the mind of the customer. However, they can be expensive and take a long time to get results. As a result, surveys have been considered a tool available only to bigger companies with deep pockets. I was curious to see if surveys were a tool that could be used effectively by smaller technology companies, as well.
New technology has made surveys more available and affordable to the small company. Several companies, such as QuestionPro, SurveyMonkey, and PollDaddy, have survey software for free or for a nominal cost. So that deals with the cost of surveying, but what about the time element? A book by Lloyd Corder addresses that very issue.
In his book, The Snapshot Survey, Lloyd Corder says that you can achieve the same results using a short, tightly focused survey with smaller groups of respondents as you can using a large scale marketing survey. So why should you take advantage of using online surveys to get into the heads of your customers?
A short, focused survey provides the following benefits:
• Voices the opinions of your customers, not your guess on what customers want
• Generates leads of prospects that are interested in your product
• Shows when market trends are shifting and where they’re going
• Verifies if your targeting or communications strategies and tactics are working
• Provides feedback on how to improve marketing strategies or tactics
• Creates publicity
• Validates your hunches or suspicions
A number of books are available that walk you through the details of creating a survey, choosing respondents, and analyzing the data. The results of the survey provide you with a blueprint of what your customers want.
You can use the results to create or improve products you already have available. You can create new products based on customer feedback and know you have a hungry market for the end product. You can also use the results to demonstrate that you really care about your customers and are interested in opening a dialogue with them. As Corder says, “Because marketing is a battle of perceptions, you need to know what your customers and prospects think. If you can’t afford the time or money to understand these perceptions through a full-scale study, the snapshot survey beats your only other alternative—guessing.”
A snapshot survey provides you with a wealth of information directly from your prospects and customers. It’s definitely worth your while to find out more about it.