Why use a market research survey?
A market research survey is a way of getting feedback directly from the people who have the ultimate say in your business fortunes – your customers. Unlike a focus group or interview, a survey allows you to get detailed feedback from a lot of people in a format that’s standardised. That means you can process the resulting experience data into actionable insights.
A survey isn’t a stand-alone solution. It can work alongside other methods, such as focus groups, field studies, observation and market analysis, to help you get a really clear picture of your market and decide what direction you should take.
Market research surveys are ultimately about your target audience, but they can go beyond your customer base too. Your surveys can be taken by employees, potential future customers, and even people who don’t want to engage with your business (to help you better identify the ones who do).
Market research: types of surveys
The surveys we outline below can be divided into four main types of studies.
- Market surveys
These help you understand who’s out there, what they want, and how you can best meet their needs.
- Customer experience surveys
This kind of survey helps you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and look at your business from their perspective.
- Product surveys
As part of product development, surveys help you find out what features, benefits and attributes appeal most to your customers, and how best to package your product or service.
- Brand surveys
A survey can help you understand how consumers perceive your brand and what values and ideas they associate with it. You can explore what value your brand has and whether people would choose you over competitors in your market niche.
Without further ado, here are 20 types of survey that can help you get the job done, whatever your research question may be.
1. Market description surveys
Purpose: to determine the size and relative market share of the market. Such studies provide key information about market growth, competitive positioning, and tracking share of the market.
2. Market profiling / segmentation surveys
Purpose: to identify who the customers are, who they are not, and why they are or are not your customers. This is often a descriptive market segmentation and market share analysis.
3. Stage in the purchase process / tracking surveys
Where is the customer in the adoption process? This information shows Market Awareness – Knowledge – Intention – Trial – Purchase – Repurchase of the product.
Customer experience surveys
4. Customer intention – purchase analysis surveys
Purpose: Directed at understanding the current customer. What motivates the customer to move from interest in the product to actual purchase? This is key to understanding customer conversion, commitment, and loyalty.
5. Customer attitudes and expectations surveys
Purpose: Used to direct advertising and improve customer conversion, commitment, and loyalty.
Does the product meet customer expectations? What attitudes have customers formed about the product and/or company?
6. Sales lead generation surveys
Purpose: Sales lead generation surveys are for
- assuring timely use and follow-up of sales leads
- qualifying sales leads (thereby saving valuable sales force time)
- providing more effective tracking of sales leads
7. Customer trust / loyalty / retention analysis surveys
Purpose: Especially helpful for high-priced consumer goods with a long decision and purchase processes (time from need recognition to purchase), this type of study explores the depth of consumer attitudes formed about the product and/or company.
8. Sales force effectiveness surveys
Purpose: A combination of measures that focus on the sales activities, performance and effectiveness in producing the desired and measurable effect or goal. Often measured as a 360-degree survey completed by the salesperson, the client (evaluating the sales call), and the supervisor responsible for evaluating the salesperson.
9. Customer service surveys
Purpose: Akin to customer satisfaction surveys, customer service surveys instead focus in detail on the actual customer service that was received, the process involved in receiving that service, and the evaluation of the participants in the service process.
10. Customer service representative (CSR) surveys
Purpose: CSRs often exhibit frustration, burnout, and high turnover. Surveys focus on CSR retention, reducing costs, and increasing the quality of customer relationships.
Attitudes, burnout, turnover, and retention: CSRs hold attitudes that reflect on their job-related activities including
- the allocation of time
- solutions to customer needs
- how to improve their job
- best practices
- how well internal departments help customers
11. New product concept analysis surveys
Purpose: Concept test studies are appropriate in the initial screening of new product concepts. Likes and dislikes about the concept and evaluation of acceptability and likelihood of purchase are especially useful measures.
12. New product acceptance and demand surveys (conjoint analysis)
Purpose: Primarily for estimating demand for new products that can be described or have been developed in drawing or concept, but have not yet been developed physically. This kind of survey develops market share estimates of market potential for the alternative potential products.
13. Habits and uses surveys
Purpose: Directed at understanding usage situations, including how, when, and where the product is used. Habits and uses studies sometimes include a real or virtual pantry audit.
14. Product fulfilment surveys (attribute, features, promised benefits)
Purpose: Evaluation of the product’s promised bundle of benefits (both tangible and image). Are expectations created for the product by advertising, packaging, and the product appearance fulfilled by the product?
15. Product positioning surveys (competitive market position)
Purpose: A “best practices” study of “how does the market view us relative to the competition?”
Competitive positioning analyses often compare the attributes and benefits that make up the product using multidimensional scaling.
16. Sales forecasting and market tracking surveys
Purpose: Sales forecasting and market tracking studies can include expert opinion (experts estimate the market), judgmental bootstrapping (expert-based rules describing how to use available secondary market information), conjoint analysis (estimation of consumer intentions based on product attributes that are important in the decision), and intentions evaluations (consumer self- reported intentions of future purchases).
17. Price setting surveys and elasticity of demand analysis
Purpose: Price surveys estimate the elasticity of demand and show optimal price points, including prices too low or too high. Price surveys may estimate the demand for different product or service segments, or different usage situations.
18. Brand equity analysis surveys
Purpose: What is the psychological value that a brand holds in the marketplace? Brand equity is a composite of brand awareness, brand quality, brand associations, and brand loyalty measures.
19. Advertising value identification and analysis surveys
Purpose: Advertising value analysis focuses on mapping the hierarchical attributes, benefits, and values that are associated with and portrayed by an advertisement. Means-end analysis is often part of this type of study.
20. Advertising message effectiveness surveys (media and message)
Purpose: Message effectiveness testing identifies the impressions, feelings, and effectiveness in moving the respondent to a desired goal (increased awareness, more product information, trial, repeat purchase).