Every business knows that their success hinges on customer or client satisfaction, among other factors. That’s why so much time and money is invested in trying to track, analyze and even predict customer behavior. However, there’s an easier and more accurate way to find out what customers want. You can ask them.

Marketing surveys help take the guesswork out of marketing initiatives. Your customers are your best resource for developing the right creative and launching it through the most effective channels. And yet, less than 40 percent of marketers are using consumer research to drive decisions, according to “Think With Google.” This presents a huge opportunity for businesses who want to get ahead of their competition.

Here’s why marketing surveys are essential to your business strategy — and what types of information you can expect to glean from them. 

  1. Understand your target audience. Your target audience is the group of people to whom you are trying to market your products or services. Your overarching target audience can also be broken down further into segmented groups, based on age, location, income, and other criteria. As an example, maybe you’re a B2B company targeting marketing or HR directors. You might send out a marketing survey asking them about the job responsibilities they perform regularly and any pain points they may experience during those tasks. Based on the challenges they cite, you could develop messaging that communicates how your product or service solves that specific problem. 
  2. Get candid feedback about your services and offerings. Businesses often rely on reviews to find out what clients or customers like or don’t like about their offerings. The only problem? They’re learning from mistakes after the fact — and not actually resolving the problem for the person who experienced it. Additionally, once a negative review is posted, it lives there forever. Depending on the severity of the problem, it can hinder new prospective customers from contacting you. Instead of sending an automatic email requesting an online review after a service, consider sending a customer survey requesting their candid feedback. Based on their answers to the marketing survey, you might create two separate user experiences. Positive experiences might be directed to leave an online review, while negative experiences might be connected directly to your customer service department to help resolve the problem. Serving customers during the moment of their frustration might not only save you from receiving a bad review, but it could also help you gain a loyal customer.       
  3. Identify any barriers to conversion. Sometimes, we’re too close to a problem to see it clearly. As a result, there may be a barrier that’s preventing your target audience from becoming customers — and a marketing survey can help bring that issue to the surface. As an example, you might send out a poll asking people questions like: Do you currently use [insert type of service]? If they answer no, the next question could be: Which of the following issues are preventing you from seeking [insert service]? Based on the results, make a list of concerns that people have about investing in your service or offerings. Are these issues that need to be fixed or is it only a matter of education? If the latter, you might create a targeted email campaign focused around messaging that counters the perceived issues. This allows you to get ahead of objections and turn them into conversions. 
  4. Assess your competitive landscape. You can also survey your target audience to gain insight into how familiar people are with your brand, who they compare you to when making buying decisions, and how you stack up against those competitors. Questions might include: 1. Where did you go to find [insert type of service]? 2. Which brands did you consider? 3. Which brand did you ultimately choose? 4. Why did you choose that brand? This can help you understand the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) for each of your competitors, as well as decide what your own should be. This is what sets you apart from other brands in the marketplace.
  5. Get ahead of trends. In 2019, only 4 percent of the 500 largest retailers offered online ordering with curbside pick-up. By the summer of 2020 (during COVID-19), that number jumped to 44 percent. However, numbers even now indicate that it wasn’t just a pandemic trend. Roughly 75 percent of people who tried curbside pickup, buy online pick up in store, or delivery want to continue utilizing these services after the pandemic is over, reported Harvard Business Review. So while COVID-19 may have accelerated the need for these offerings, they also surfaced a priority for customers that has likely always been there: the need for convenience. Marketing surveys can be a great way of understanding customer behavior now and surfacing trends that help you anticipate their needs in the future.  

Deploying Marketing Surveys

Marketing surveys can be administered in a variety of channels, depending on your needs. If you’re just looking for quick feedback to determine direction for a marketing piece, a Facebook poll is a great resource. Maybe you work for a natural gas company and want to know what people’s greatest pain point is with electric power, in order to persuade them to make the switch. You could ask: What’s the most frustrating aspect of electric power? A) The cost, B) Outages or C) Environmental impact.

In other instances, a more extensive survey might be necessary. MTN, Inc. has done a few polls for the Lagoon Loyal program, for example, which was developed to reward Brevard County residents for taking simple actions that benefit the health of the Indian River Lagoon. In 2020, we sent out a “Fertilizer Use Survey” to Brevard County residents to learn how they maintain and fertilize their grass lawns. To recruit participants, we ran Facebook sponsored ads that linked to the survey. After the survey was completed, we shared the results with the Brevard County Natural Resources Management in the form of a report. In this case, this survey acted as a benchmark to help us understand the fertilizing habits of Brevard County residents right now. This survey will be repeated after the program has run for approximately three years, in order to measure the success of our Lagoon Loyal outreach efforts.

You can also combine digital survey recruitment with other methods, including in-person, phone calls and mail to get the best representation of a population. 

It doesn’t have to be time consuming or costly to get feedback from your customers or clients. MTN, Inc., can help you develop the right questions, ask the right people and analyze the results so you know exactly what actions your business should take next.

To learn more about conducting a marketing survey, check out our “Market Research” page or give us a call at (321) 779-1010.