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VOL. 42 | NO. 8 | Friday, February 23, 2018

Three customer surveys that matter most right now

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A routine misstep in marketing campaigns is to neglect your customers and what they need, want and value.

Most of us want to believe we understand our customers’ decision drivers. But a 2015 B2C study by IBM and Econsultancy found a reality check:

-- 81 percent of consumer companies believe they’ve achieved a holistic view of their customer

-- 22 percent of consumers think they’re actually understood by the companies selling to them.

-- What’s more, in the year prior to the same survey, 49 percent of survey respondents had left an existing product or service provider, with 59 percent reporting that a competitor offered something more and 30 percent saying their previous provider had failed them.

As marketers, business owners and company managers, it’s clear we have an opportunity to do better in understanding our customers.

Survey-based research is an excellent tool. The complexity – and therefore, the cost – of this tool can be nimble, with the question set staying laser-focused on a few must-have findings or expanding into a broader area and thus becoming a more comprehensive study.

As online survey provider SurveyGizmo says, “The key to success of any survey is found not in the respondents or the incentives, but in its purpose. … Like duct tape, it holds your survey together.”

Ready to bring more objectivity and customer voice into your marketing?

Here are just three examples of survey purposes to consider this year.

Update products and pricing

Are there certain offerings for which your customers will pay more? Do you offer a product or service that has been “good enough,” but an update could take you even further with loyalty and preference?

Survey findings that indicate how far customers are willing to go with you can support everything from price increases, bundled offers and even risk areas for potential loss.

You vs. competitors

Are you known as the low-cost provider that always has inventory or availability? Or are you the elite provider of the product or service customers turn to when they want to treat themselves or others? How does your competition stack up?

Listing several statements that are believed to be key differentiators for your company or industry and then asking your customers to indicate their agreement with the statements for both you and a competitive set can achieve competitor intelligence that you might currently lack.

Advertising that resonates

Surveys can be ideal tools for testing an ad message in a smaller group before it’s released publicly.

Often, adjustments to ad messages are needed after survey findings are reviewed. This type of research can be seamlessly paired with focus group testing, though a good survey could credibly stand alone when cost control is a central concern.

Catherine (Kitty) Taylor, vice president of innovation at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.

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