I hate Surveys!

Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash

“I hate surveys!”

That was the only line in a response to a piece I had sent out recently regarding Diapers and Research Communities (see here).

My first reaction was “That is why I am talking about Communities in the first place – a replacement for the standard market research surveys”.

Then I realized the difference between Communities and regular research was not as evident to many as I had thought. So let me do a bit of a clarification.

Surveys are generally one-time “asks” for information; your satisfaction, your willingness to recommend, your overall thoughts on a product or service (or proposed product or service). Many people get surveyed to death (and end up unsubscribing from Brand communication) or respond with useless information. This causes 2 major problems for a company:

  • They are not able to communicate effectively with their clients as the number of opt-outs increases, and
  • The quality of information they get deteriorates over time as more and more respondents opt out, or leave useless information  

Research Communities allow a Brand to have an ongoing “conversation” with their clients. These clients are generally brand champions and want the Brand to succeed. They want to be part of the brand journey and decisions. Information can be gathered in a number of ways, online focus groups, polls, moderated or unmoderated discussion groups, and yes surveys.

There are 2 main points I would like to stress here:

  • Surveys – yes I said surveys, but not the standard 10- 15 question survey format, but rather laser-focused 2-3 questions to get to the meat of the inquiry. Brands know the members of their community, they don’t need to ask things like age, address, gender, etc. The information is already part of the client’s profile, no need to ask again. This building of responses is called longitudinal learning – a Brand knows more and more about its core customers as time in the Community progresses.
  • Conversation – And as a member of the community, you receive value for your time and insights. Sometimes this value is in the form of contests to win money or goods, but it can also be ‘privilaged” information or advanced access to products or services. Providing information back to the community is Key to the “conversation” – it has to be a back and forth dialogue (ie, the actual definition of dialogue). 

I hope the vast difference between the “ask once” survey and the “conversation” of a Research Community are clearer. Feel free to let me know if they aren’t.

There are a number of other benefits gained by employing a Research Community, and I will continue to focus on these going forward.