Surveys are a fantastic research tool to find out all sorts of information about consumers and your market. Surveys can be conducted in a variety of different formats, from online to in person, by app or over the phone. Which method you decide to choose will depend on your budget, reach or simply the types of questions you wish to ask. Don’t worry if you’re unsure. At Spark we promise we will work with your business objectives in mind and recommend the most appropriate and effective research method.
Whether you run a small business or a multinational, surveys can be instrumental in the success you have in the future. You can find out what customers like about your products, surveys and how you could improve. You could even look into market trends if you’re thinking of expanding your offering or branching out into a new area. Here, we explain the types of market research surveys you can use depending on the kind of data you want to collect, and define the most effective ways to create your surveys.
We can help you create innovative, effective market research surveys of all shapes and sizes. Get in touch here to get started with us.
What is a Market Research Survey?
Market research surveys are a simple and effective way to collect information from your target market. They can be used to access all sorts of data, from your customer demographic to their habits, and what they like and don’t like about your product or services. This can help you in all sorts of areas in your business, such as how to price your products, finding out what your customers think about your company or even testing new sample products before they hit the shelves.
Expertly designed surveys such as those produced at Spark can target the right demographic and sift through the insights to create the backbone of your marketing campaign.
The four main survey categories
Market research surveys can generally be divided into four broad categories, depending on what it is you are aiming to achieve.
Market research surveys are a fantastic way to find out what your customers (or your competitors’ customers) think. These help you understand who’s out there, what they want, and how you can best meet their needs. Unlike other methods of research such as focus groups, surveys allow you to collect data in a standardised format. This means you have quantifiable data that you can then use as valuable insight into your industry and how you can improve your product or service. Types of market surveys can collect data on market growth, the demographics of your customers and what stages they are in the purchasing process. At Spark, we work in the background to make sure the data is reliable, robust and representative of the target we are speaking with.
Customer Experience Surveys
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes with customer experience surveys. This type of survey can help you find out more about their motivation to purchase and what makes them want to be loyal to a brand. You can also find out what your customers think about your products, your brand’s customer service and your company in general. A survey gives your customer an important opportunity to share their experience with your brand. For surveys such as this we may include an NPS (Net Promoter Score) which explores how likely people would be to recommend your brand, or Net Easy – how easy is your company to work with.
Find out what customers like about your product or service with product surveys. This is especially useful when you’re planning to bring out new products and you can test them out to see what they like and what areas could be improved upon. You can also find out more about customer habits here; how and when they use your product or service and how often they buy. We have a very well-defined process at Spark which uses the power of social contagion to understand the potential for any new product development.
The way your customers feel about your brand can be incredibly helpful for your business strategy. You can find out what they think about you compared to others in the same market, what they associate you with and the kind of values they attach to your brand. We use lots of different types of analysis when doing this such as Fair Share analysis. This can help you figure out how to persuade customers to choose you over competitors in your market.
Different types of market research surveys and how to use them
Depending on what it is you’d like to find out about your market and your audience means you’ll need to make use of a variety of types of surveys. They can be most effective when combined with other types of research such as qualitative research but can be a fantastic tool in your research toolkit.
At its basic level, customer segmentation allows you to understand what different members of your target market have in common, and also how they are different.
Demographic segmentation divides customers up by factors such as age, gender, and race. Geographic segmentation helps you learn more about where your customers live and work, whether in urban or rural areas and other things such as the climate.
Psychographic segmentation classifies your customers by a variety of factors of their lifestyle such as their values, habits and opinions. Behavioural segmentation lets you understand more about how your customers interact with your products and services: when and where they use them, and how often they use them. Do they view your product as a luxury or a necessity?
All of this data combined allows you to create an accurate picture of your customers and their profiles, which enables you to focus your marketing efforts to make sure your products or services are appealing to the right audience. We love customer segmentation at Spark as ultimately it allows us to talk about people in terms of how they use your brand and we have been fortunate enough to see how brilliant segmentation can revolutionize businesses as they create consumer centric strategies.
Brand reputation surveys
Brand reputation surveys allow you to find out how people perceive your brand, from your customers to your stakeholders and employees. Customer experiences with your company or product, positive or negative, can filter through the market and affect your brand reputation. Measuring your brand perception regularly allows you to track it over time and see what helps it improve.
There are four key areas to research:
Emotional: How does a consumer feel when they think about your brand?
Language: How would consumers describe your brand to others?
Cognitive: What kind of concepts do consumers associate with your brand?
Action: What experiences does your consumer have with your brand?
By conducting surveys that factor in these elements, you can understand how your marketing efforts make your customers feel, as well as identify areas of improvement.
Customer satisfaction surveys
Unfortunately, people talk about bad experiences more than good ones, so it’s vital you work towards positive customer experiences with your brand. Using customer satisfaction surveys allows you to understand your customer’s needs, what they think about your products and as a whole, see if you are meeting your customers’ expectations of your brand.
Your survey can make use of a variety of questions.
Binary questions: This is the simplest type of question, usually with just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.
Likert scale questions: This allows customers to respond on a sliding scale from one extreme to another, for example ‘very satisfied’ to ‘very dissatisfied’.
Multiple choice questions: This can offer more insight than binary or Likert scale questions, as you provide the text answers for the customers to choose from.
Open-ended questions: These are useful for allowing customers to explain in their own words how they feel about your products or services.
Vox Box questions: We can build in a certain number of open-ended Vox box questions into our quantitative surveys – allowing for unmoderated feedback on key questions. These are great for adding some extra colour to debriefs.
New product demand surveys
This type of survey allows you to estimate the potential demand for a new product before you have manufactured it. The insights you gain will assist with your product development. Find out about the appeal of your new product: if it fills a gap in the market or if it fixes a common problem for consumers.
Open ended questions work well with this kind of survey. Examples are:
What do you like most about [the product]?
How often do you use [the product]?
What brand do you use for [type of product]?
This is the tip of the iceberg really. NPD research methods are many and varied. At Spark, we are fortunate enough to have ex Marketing people on our team; they know what is essential for testing new products. We deliver new products that will meet a need, sell and deliver on your brand promise.
Advertising message effectiveness surveys
Advertising effectiveness surveys allow you to find out what consumers think of your ads, whether they’re television, billboards, digital or any other form. You can test out either parts of the advert or the whole thing, and find out if it will cut through, is on brand and communicates the right message to your target audience. Testing adverts before you launch them will help ensure the ad is well-received and worth the investment. And no, it won’t “knock the creativity” out of the campaign. That’s not our bag.
Pre- and post-testing: Pre-testing involves getting consumer feedback about the advert before it has been launched. Post-testing evaluates the advert’s performance after it has been launched.
Forced exposure testing: Forced exposure requires participants to take the survey or questionnaire in a controlled environment such as a focus group. The results can be measured against those results that aren’t from a controlled environment to see the difference.
Communication impact: These types of market research surveys help brands understand how memorable an advertisement was. The questions will ask how much a customer remembers about the advert and what kind of things they can recall.
Price setting surveys
Price setting research allows you to find the right pricing point that your target market is happy to pay and reflects the value of the product or service you are selling to consumers. Price represents not just the amount you’ve agreed for your product or service, but also communicates the value to consumers as well. There are different types of survey types that can be used here such as Conjoint surveys and also various analysis techniques such as Van Westendorp analysis or JAR pricing.
Customer Service Surveys
Customer service surveys are similar to customer satisfaction surveys. However, rather than focusing on the product itself they focus on the customer service received. You could use them to find out if your customers had a positive experience with one of your customer service representatives, or the channel in which they got in touch (for example a call centre or a web chat service). Net Easy Questions would usually be asked in this type of project.
Five tips for creating an effective survey
So you’ve decided what kind of survey you would like to conduct, but you don’t know how best to approach creating and structuring it. It’s incredibly important to think this through before you start. So to ensure you get the most insightful data that will help your business going forward, we’ve put together five things to think about – we will do this for you when you commission Spark:
- Define the problem: First things first, you need to decide the reason why you want to conduct this research. Work out what problems you want to solve, and how the answers will benefit your customers and your company.
- Establish research objectives: Establishing a research goal or objective is the best way for your survey to stay organised and focused on what you’re looking to find out. In short, the objective is a goal you’re hoping to achieve, and can get the answer with your survey. Your objective could be anything from “what aspect of my product / service do my customers like the best” to “if I change certain aspects of my product or service, how will my customers react?”.
- Target the right audience: Another important factor to consider is your target audience. It needs to be specific enough without being too narrow, as then it becomes a lot more difficult to find the appropriate number of respondents. A simple way to ensure you are targeting the right demographic is to have screening questions at the beginning of your survey which will disqualify people if they don’t fit the right criteria.
- Decide on your margin of error: You want your sample size to be able to accurately reflect the opinions of your population – and by population here we mean those who fit your criteria e.g. homeowners in a certain London Postcode. As the sample size increases, your margin of error will naturally decrease. Don’t worry – you don’t need to understand the ins and outs of statistics – we’ll make sure you’re on the right page.
- Work with professionals: Ultimately, you want to get the best and most accurate results for your time and your budget. Working with Spark ensures that this will happen and that you can move forward to keep hitting targets and exceeding expectations within your industry.
Let us do the hard work for you. Get in touch today.