Surveys In Marketing

Philip Cleave
March 30, 2022
Supporting marketing activities with surveys

For your business to be successful, there’s no substitute for getting to know your audience and their wants and desires.

Irrespective of what industry you work in, today’s competitive and globalized marketplace means we no longer operate in a vacuum. So, if you don’t get to know your customers as well as you should, your competitors surely will. Keep one step ahead them by using marketing surveys to get to know your customers better.

Using surveys for market research

For any organization serious about moving its business forward, marketing along with its sales and customer support teams, should be at its heart. After all your marketers are vital in helping you identify, anticipate and satisfy your customer requirements, through keeping up with fast, ever-changing market trends and emerging customer demands.

However, to be really effective, you need to be able to use surveys as part of your market research. This will enable you to collect insights throughout the product or market lifecycle.

By using surveys in market research to gather information in the following key areas, you will be able to deliver better products and services to the right audience.

Product research

When it comes to new products, particularly those you’re trying to launch into a new market, undertaking product research is vital if you’re to minimize some of the risks involved.

Instead of relying on hunches or guesswork, utilizing a marketing research survey can help you gain more insight into how your audience feels about a product before you release it.

From new product designs, packaging or features, to a new website landing page, company logo or pricing strategy. Whatever you need to get feedback for directly from your target audience, by concept testing them through your designs, images and questions, you can get a clearer idea about what they like or dislike.

You may think a product will fulfill a need for your audience, but sometimes the opposite turns out to be true. The great thing about using surveys as part of your product research, is that even if you receive negative feedback, you can use it to rethink your ideas and uncover new opportunities. It can even help you to unearth gaps in the market that you might never have identified.


Whether it’s identifying the key influences of buying behavior or better understanding the motivations, attitudes and interests of your audience, to finding the right audience for your products or services. Surveys offer a great way to gain valuable insight from and about your target market.

Ultimately, this should help you to gain a clearer picture of who your ideal audience is. From here you can break this down into specific buyer persona profiles and be more effective and targeted in your marketing.

Promotional effectiveness

Whether you’re focusing on marketing and advertising, or lead generation and sales, or even a mix of these. Whatever promotional channels you’re using, you’ll want to know how effectively they are working. This is because even if you have the best designed, performing and priced product or service, it won’t be sufficient if not enough of the right people are hearing about it and are able to buy it, which is where your survey comes in.

Through running a promotion survey, you can become more informed about where your target audience is most likely to hear and gain information about similar products and services in your industry. As a result, this can persuade you to push forward with promotional channels that might otherwise have gone untapped and untested by you.

Ultimately, you’ll want to improve the targeting of your products and services to those that really want to hear about and buy them. Using surveys to test your existing promotion channels is a great way to achieve this.

Brand awareness

A brand and the awareness of that brand is crucial for every business. Not only do we as businesses want people to be aware of our brand, we also need them to recognize it in the best possible light, as that will impact our future success.

Marketing research can be a great way of identifying how well your audience perceives your brand. In particular, how your audience views your company, image, products and marketing tactics. Then depending on your feedback you’ll have a clearer idea about what’s working well and what you need to build further brand recognition.

Using surveys as part of your market research can extend into other areas too including content marketing, which is what we will go onto to look at next.

Using surveys for content marketing

In today’s competitive market place any strategies that can help you to better attract, engage and retain customers are essential. And thanks to its ability to entertain and educate customers through content such as blogs, articles, videos, podcasts and much more, content marketing is one of the key strategies to enabling you to do this. So, much so, that on average content marketing accounts for around 25% of all B2B marketing budgets.

However, if your content is going to be effective at answering your audience’s questions, building trust, developing relationships, improving conversions and generating leads, you really need to be able to understand that audience’s pains points. This is where the value of using surveys comes in.

Besides pain points, surveys also allow you to explore a much wide range of questions. This can enable you to identify exactly what type of content your customers enjoy most hearing about, their preferred format and what they would like to see more of in the future. When you have this level of detail, you’re much better able to create stronger more relevant content that resonates more deeply with your customers, increases your sales and keeps you ahead of your rivals.

Using surveys for competitor research

As we mentioned a bit earlier, because none of us operates in a vacuum anymore, we need to find out as much as we can about our own industries including our competitors.

From identifying who your major competitors are and discovering more about their products, sales and marketing strategies, to identifying their strengths and weaknesses and more, there’s a lot involved in competitor research. But these are areas you need to address if you’re to competently identify both potential threats to your business and opportunities you could exploit.

From secondary research techniques including examining your competitors’ websites and online review sites, to other methods such as speaking to your sales and customer support teams or talking to mystery shoppers. There’s lots of ways you can gather information about your competitors. However, once again your customers are a great source of information for identifying much of what you need, if you’re able to get their feedback in a survey.

Your survey questions are really important in terms of what information you’re able to get back. So, you’ll want to ask your competitors as much as you can about your competitors.

From the types of products and services they are buying from them and the experience they are delivering, to what they like and dislike about their products and even the survey distribution methods they use to reach out to their customers for feedback. The more you ask, the more information you’ll get back and the better you’ll be able to develop your own strategy and distinguish yourself from your competitors as a result.

Primary or secondary research?

When it comes to market research, both primary and secondary research have a role to play, as both offer benefits for the wider marketing mix. However, if you’re to get the greatest value from each approach it’s important to know the difference between primary and secondary research.

Primary research

Under this approach data is collected first-hand. This means that a researcher conducts the research themselves, or commissions someone else to collect the data on their behalf. This can be carried out in the form of interviews, focus groups and surveys.

Primary research goes directly to the source, rather than rely on previously completed research or pre-existing data samples.

Secondary research

Secondary research, also known as desk research, is a research approach that involves compiling existing data sourced from a variety of channels. This can include anything from internal research sources, or more commonly research based on external sources such as the internet, government statistics or information from trade bodies, libraries and museums.

For marketing, the use of secondary research can be hugely valuable in getting a lot of background information marketers need when they’re developing strategies. However, there can be no substitute for getting the real-life views of customers about your products and services, as well as those of your competitors. Get the mix right and it will help you to fulfill your survey goals and your wider business aims.

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