Should your company be conducting its own market research? Well…
Do you ever find yourself approaching big decisions with a lot of uncertainty?
Could you use more insight into which advertising campaigns are working?
Would you like to know how much more people would be willing to pay for a product or service?
Fact is, virtually every company stands to benefit from more market research, for one very important reason: It’s a surefire way to get greater returns on your investments. Whether you need to squeeze more profit from service offerings or simply introduce more people to your products, market research can remove a lot of the mystery from critical decisions. By regularly collecting and analyzing data on your customers, prospects, and your market at large, you can safeguard your spending and ensure budgets are being used effectively.
So…why aren’t more companies making use of market research?
It can seem a little overwhelming. Some executives pause at the thought of expensive focus groups and costly consultants; others fear the process will be overly complicated.
None of these are valid concerns. Why? Because of online surveys.
Long gone are the days of time-consuming focus groups, costly foot traffic intercepts, and laborious phone surveys as the only way to gain insight. Now, you can use survey data for market research.
To understand the impact this method can have, let’s look at a three-step process any company can use to increase ROI with survey data.
Step 1. Look for decisions that are currently based on instinct
Did you know that nearly half of marketing and selling decisions are still based on intuition, or that just 5% of senior marketers are able to deliver data-driven customer experiences? By finding a way to differentiate with data, you can gain a BIG competitive advantage.
For example, consider these recent findings across a few key industries and verticals:
- The world’s highest performing B2C retailers focus on customer data at nearly twice the rate of their “average” and “underperforming” counterparts—and use that data to quickly respond to consumer demands and insights.
- B2B enterprises that use data to make decisions report far greater ROI than those that don’t. They experience faster sales cycles, bigger deals, more revenue, greater customer loyalty, bigger returns on marketing investments, and more.
- Organizations that use customer insight outperform peers by 85% in sales growth, and more than 35% in gross margin.
Rather than relying on personal experiences to guide decisions, these companies are finding concrete, tangible ways to lean on their data. You can achieve similar outcomes by using online forms to collect customer insight. For example, many companies use market research surveys to:
- Guide product development
- Forecast sales and pricing
- Increase brand awareness
- Better understand leads
- Identify competitive advantages
Any time you have a hypothesis to validate or customer-related questions to answer, online surveys will be your most reliable tool.
2. Create simple surveys that make it easy to collect customer data
Once you’ve decided where you want to focus on increasing ROI, you can dive right into creating your first survey. The most important best practice to remember is this: Keep it simple.
Your goal is to create a short list of questions that are easy for your customers to answer and give you the specific insights you need. A few best practices we’ve seen work well include:
- Keep questions short and straightforward to prevent frustration and confusion
- Use a simple, uncomplicated survey template that makes it easy for respondents to move from one question to the next
- Use Conditional Logic to show or hide different questions depending on previous answers
No, it’s not rocket science. But you do need to create surveys with your target audience in mind. The easier and faster your survey is to complete, the more likely people will be to participate and provide the data you need to increase ROI.
3. Analyze your survey data immediately
The biggest advantage of using surveys for market research? You’ll get microdata you can act on instantly. Unlike focus groups, which can take days or weeks to analyze and result in mountains of data to decipher, survey data will start to roll in right away. The sooner you start to analyze responses and share insights with your team, the faster you’ll begin to see bottom-line benefits.
Did an overwhelming majority of respondents prefer one feature over another? Now you know where to focus efforts. Are people eager for additional offerings? You can start to build out new promotions.
Better yet, have reports sent regularly—be it daily, weekly or monthly—to keep teams updated on customer preferences and product trends as they evolve and change.
Whether it’s an idea you can use to fine-tune products or feedback for tweaking campaigns for greater return on ad spend, these small snippets of survey data can go a long way in improving ROI.
Best of all, there’s no need to wait. The general process outlined above can be easily replicated across departments and campaigns, and requires minimal time to set up and analyze. And with today’s survey tools and technology, even the novice can get a survey ready to roll within minutes.
Ready to get started? Go ahead and create your first market research survey here—for free. Once you get into the habit of using market research surveys to guide decisions, you’ll probably wonder how you ever survived without them.