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Why Traditional Surveys Are Hurting Your Brand

Posted 9 Jan 2022

Chad Reynolds

traditional surveys and your brand

In the fullness of history, the only way to innovate is through feedback. With all the analytics from purchases and data from click throughs in the world, your product might still lack purchasing power. 

Your marketing team is doing everything they know to do, but their spreadsheets don’t lie—something isn’t working. The only way to understand why is to get the right kind of viable feedback, from the right source, in the right way. That is why so many brands are turning to co-creation this year.

You could send out a short survey, but I don’t know about you but the majority of surveys I receive after a purchase are cold and out of touch with the product I actually have in my hands. Seems like I’m not alone…

2020 McKinsey Customer Experience Survey

Embedded surveys, emailed surveys, automated phone surveys… if all your consumer sees is a list of cold questions with predetermined answers and radio buttons, your survey isn’t doing anything truly useful for your company. The questions don’t align with what they need to say and more often than not, the freeform section’s 350-character limit doesn’t make it past their general thought that the product lacked something.

The Why Gets Lost in Translation

And after 40,000 of those surveys, your spreadsheets and your bottom line have a distinct disconnect. The problem? You’ve got bad feedback.

Bad feedback is almost inherently double-minded, and, at its most basic, self-centered. Ultimately, you’ll end up with a spreadsheet full of numbers that you might need a master’s degree in marketing to understand. The problem is data without real insight. 

How, then, are we supposed to get the right kind of feedback that helps us meet our consumers where they are, innovate to meet needs, and drive sales to push the bar ever higher? 

You flip the traditional mold and do something new that addresses the problem.

The Holy Grail of Product Development

When there’s a framework in place to encourage constructive, helpful feedback, you change the game entirely—especially when someone can see your face. The simple face-to-face aspect makes your feedback exponentially more human, expressive, and accessible, therefore more applicable.

That great consumer feedback is the Holy Grail of product development: The data you mine by simply getting to know your consumer better helps you refine what you create and might even give you an idea for something new.

By the very nature of being outward-focused, the marketing team may have a decent grasp of your target consumer. But, for leadership, R&D, product creation, and other in-ward focused teams, that might be a bit different. That’s understandable. Global sporting goods company Adidas ran into the same problem when Under Armour surpassed them as the #2 brand in the world—but they didn’t let the problem stick.

Recruit Creators Not Panelists

The traditional model of product creation was failing them and at that point, no matter what tricks their marketing team pulled off—including fancy commercials and celebrity endorsements—it didn’t do their bottom line any good. So, they innovated by bringing consumers upstream into the product creation process. Milestones included consumer validation and it became an embedded part of the process.

Your teams need to work in a similar tandem with you leading them in that deep understanding of your consumer and spearheading a culture of consumer-driven processes from the top-down. Because without products that meet and exceed your consumer’s needs, your marketing team can only take your brand so far before you start to lose even your most loyal ambassadors.

But when you approach your customers in such a way that invites honesty, you can better pinpoint “what they want—not what marketers think they want.” That is the key to better products and higher sales. 

The only way you can understand your customer more is for you to meet them right where they already are—in front of their smartphone cameras—and engage them. 

Help Your Brand Stand Out

The best way to stand out in the market—oversaturated or not—is to create a product that your consumer finds unique and relevant. When you approach your consumer and honestly ask how your product holds up, you open the door for an honest conversation not only about how the product does, but how you can improve it, level up the packaging, and even market it with a unique take. All directly from the mouth of the consumer intended to purchase it. 

At Vurvey, we’re want to connect you to consumers in a meanigdful way, making co-creation possible at scale. We exist to help companies break the wall of anonymity from a traditional, cold survey to access valuable data that disrupts the old mold of numbers and spreadsheets. Vurvey takes you right to the customer insights you need to innovate your products, processes, and culture efficiently and effectively. 

The Real Win-Win With Creators

Your consumer wins because they know they were able to give input on a product they actually use—and now love—all the more because of a true sense of ownership. You win because your products do better, your consumer’s raving brings more people to the community you’re building around your product, and you get more feedback for even better products. This positive, upward spiral is the future of innovation at its finest.

Chad Reynolds

About the author

Chad Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Vurvey, an innovative co-creation platform that empowers companies to partner with consumers to build, test, and launch winning products. Chad is a serial tech entrepreneur, often speaking at industry events about human-centered design, co-creation, and disruptive innovation, as well as serving as a mentor and board member for high-growth start-ups.

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