With the advent of hand-held phones (read smartphones), most of which are equipped with the Internet, it is easy to get information from your customers without much ado. No matter the size of the business, most market research survey platforms are easy on the pockets. So much so that even startups can directly compete with the likes of companies that have a lot of cash to burn.
You can glean a lot of information about your customers which will be helpful for your business by using the market research platforms that are available in the market. The global revenue of the market research industry exceeded 44.5 billion US dollars in 2016. Why is it such a huge industry? Because companies want to know what customers think about their business. It also gives them an opportunity to see how they can fare better, add more features and so on.
There were times when most product launches and new businesses were started on the “I have a hunch it will succeed” premise. While it is not bad to trust your instincts, when there is a significant amount of cash and people’s effort that goes into building something, it makes sense to invest in a market research platform to see if what your potential customers want is in sync with your products and services.
How Can a Market Research Platform Help You?
You can use a market research survey to your benefit by using the data that you get which will be converted into information that will help your business prospects. A market research survey helps you understand what the customers think about you and your products, the products of your competitors, changes they want, more features that will make your product much more attractive and so on.
The ability to get all of this information using any of the market research platforms available is what makes this process extremely important and useful.
a. It makes you customer focused.
One of the most important objectives of using a market research platform is to help understand the customer. No matter the effort you put on your product or service, the end goal is to satisfy the customer. Market research is a strategy that reminds companies that nothing is bigger than their customers. Using a good market research platform also means that you get to connect directly with the consumer and are in a position to understand their needs better.
b. Gives you a “measure-first” mindset.
As a business that is in a highly competitive niche, the best way to keep growing exponentially is to measure your progress, wins, losses, strategies, results and more. Using a market research platform helps you to test your ideas before you put in a lot of effort to get something achieved. While activities like campaigns, advertorials and emerging concepts are always welcome, market research platforms give you an idea if it is worth your time.
c. Keeps you up-to-date.
In a world that is changing rapidly because of changing technologies, it is impossible to grow without staying abreast of the happenings in the industry and about business in general. Using market research platforms keeps you up-to-date about such matters as you not only understand the pulse of the customers but also what your competitors are doing. By using a market research platform, you are ensuring that your business thrives for a long time. Market research platforms help you keep up with the times by enabling you to send surveys on a regular basis.
d. Helps you better your messaging and communication.
Communication, like in personal relationships, is also super important with your customers. The messaging from your company, let it be your email newsletter, social media handles, calls from customer service executive and more creates a huge impact and lets the end consumer know who you are and what you stand for. By using the help of market research platforms, you will get to know the kind of message that the customers expect from you. This will not only help you refine the messages, but also attract more customers by communicating in the right way.
How to Pull Off a Successful Market Research Survey?
There are a lot of ways in which you can draft your survey after you choose the right market research platform, but there is only one way to make it most appropriate- by having the end goal in mind. While it might be tempting to ask as many questions as possible in the survey using the chosen market research platform, please do not do that. Not only will it impede the interest of the survey’s respondents, but also digresses from the purpose of the market research survey.
- Have an outline.
It is extremely important that you have an outline before you even start researching to see which market research platform to use. Here are four questions that you need to keep in mind when designing an outline:
Who exactly is your target market?
Is the idea for my product/service relevant to my customers?
How much would be my customers willing to pay for me?
What kind of information/features would a customer be looking for?
These are some of the questions that you need to have clarity on before you go out of your way to draft a market research survey using one of the platforms available.
- Engage with different stakeholders.
While drafting the questions, you need to discuss with all the stakeholders such as marketing and sales team, product managers, engineering, finance, and HR. Why? Because not only do they end up helping with different perspectives, but as consumers themselves, they would be in a better position to add questions that might be relevant. Get the information from these folks and convert into properly phrased questions that can be added on the market research platform that is chosen.
- Target the right audience.
Create customer personas before you even think of going to the next step. The more specific your target audience, the higher are your chances of converting more of them into responding to the questionnaire using the market research platform. You might even see that a highly targeted audience means more budget, but you can tweak them based on your specific needs. The market research platform that you choose should be able to help you do that.
- Drafting the questions.
The next step is to draft the right questions. Ask as many closed-ended questions, such as MCQs, rating scale questions, ranking questions and so on. Give the respondents an opportunity to express themselves freely by asking a few open-ended questions too. Also remember that the more number of questions that are there, higher is the chances that your respondents will drop off. Do not take more than 3-5 minutes of your customer’s time. The only reason you would expect your customers to spend more time is when you are offering something valuable in exchange for their time.
- Use the right tools.
There are a lot of market research platforms that have a bunch of market research survey templates making it much easier for a business to send survey questions to their customers. Survey Sparrow offers a library of such questions too thus helping you save a lot of time. The tools with Survey Sparrow helps you to analyze your data in a way that identifies patterns, gives you insights and recognizes areas where more can be done.
Pro Tip: Offer your audience incentives to encourage them to complete the survey or forward them to more of their friends so that it reaches a bigger crowd. The incentive could be a small discount, company swags, and consultation and so on. It doesn’t have to be anything that breaks the bank, as long as its something that cheers the customers and helps them complete the survey, it is good.
Must-have Features in a Market Research Platform
As we have explained here about the benefits associated with a market research platform and its impact on the bottom-line of a company, here are some of the must-have features. Choosing the right market research platform requires a lot of hard work as not all businesses are the same and they might have different objectives when it comes to a market research survey.
1. Survey Builder
One of the most important aspects of a market research platform is that it should have a survey builder using which you can create the entire survey. Features like drag-and-drop which helps with building the layout, design, question arrangement and so on are so basic that if a market research platform does not have it, please do not bother with it.
2. Conditional Logic
This is a feature that only some of the top market research platforms use, it shows certain questions to a respondent based on their previous answers. If a question is not relevant to a particular respondent, it does not show it to them. This is gauged based on the previous answer of the respondent. For eg: If the customer is asked if they use a particular software and their answer is ‘no’, asking them about the software is not relevant and you can refrain from doing so using this conditional logic feature.
3. Survey Templates
The folks at SurveySparrow have created you a template of questions for as many different areas as is possible so that you do not have to take the trouble of creating survey questions from scratch. Survey templates often come with a lot of standard questions which is relevant for the particular niche that you are choosing. You might need to add or delete questions based on the relevancy and accurateness that you are looking for.
4. Response Management
There are many ways in which you can set data collection, from triggering responses based on a particular keyword to using quotas to manage the expenses and categorizing responses, to name a few. A good response management system also allows you to collect feedback in real-time and allowing the tracking of multiple iterations.
5. Multi-channel Options
There are some users who might never use a laptop or a PC, so if a market research platform only allows you to send questions over a desktop or a PC, you might never be able to reach the above-said customer. This is why you need to have multiple channels using which surveys can be sent and customers can respond back. The preferences of the end customers vary for a myriad of reasons and it is important that you be on top of them to get as many responses as possible.
There are a lot of market research platforms that come with the option to automate a lot of the processes. It is imperative that you purchase one that gives you the option to automate because sending emails manually, analyzing them, responding to them and more will take away a lot of time that can be spent on core tasks. Automation is necessary for these four areas: designing, distributing, collecting the data and analyzing the data.
If the market research platform that you have chosen has capabilities to randomize questions and questionnaires to avoid any sort of bias, then you are in for luck. What does this feature do? It shuffles the order in which the questions are asked and also replaces the existing questions with similar sounding questions or altogether different ones.
The Pitfalls You May Run Into with a Market Research Platform
While we have been raving about using a market research platform to fulfill your survey needs, there are always two sides to the coin. Here are a few pitfalls when using an online market research platform.
A. Privacy of your customers
A big chunk of the SaaS industry has this problem because you are sharing your customer’s data with them. Is the market research platform worth trusting? Then it is all right although it is something that might keep people worried, No matter the T&C. But the advantages of using a market research platform to pick the brains of your customers outweigh the privacy concerns that one might have.
B. Spamming your customers
Your customers are being serviced by many businesses and not only yours, so they will be faced with a barrage of surveys which will not only result in poor response rates but they might end up answering just for the heck of it. So you need to be on your top game when you administer surveys, in terms of designs, questions, functionalities and more.
The above are just two problem areas we cared to mention because they are extremely relevant in today’s world when working with market research platforms.
For most businesses, using a market research platform to understand the pulse of their customers can be a huge learning experience. There are cases of dozens of companies that even pivoted their business models after hearing from their customers. Even if you think you know what your customers want, there are chances that you might learn a thing or two by discovering new channels helping you to improve your future interactions as well.
When you use a market research platform for your business which brings in great results, analyzing the data from the survey becomes easy. Get started with the market research survey platform with SurveySparrow to know what your customers think about you.