What do Survey Companies do?
In the fast-moving consumer goods marketplace, an untested product or service may be a potential disaster for a consumer goods company or one of its brands. It would be irresponsible for a company to spend millions designing, manufacturing and marketing a product without first making sure that consumers would buy the product and that enough of the product would be sold to make it a commercial success. It may be just as irresponsible to expect an established product to keep its market share for years and years without a close eye being kept on market factors, such as competitor activity, pricing and advertising. This need for accurate, ongoing market data is where marketing companies and market survey companies play a role.
Globally market research is a huge industry. American companies alone spend billions of dollars a year on market research. From establishing focus groups to conducting product testing, interviews and polls, a massive number of resources is committed to understanding the consumer. Which logo attracts the consumer’s eye? Which flavour of chewing gum is the most appealing? Is the product going to be sold online, in stores or both? Typically, survey companies offer services such as customer satisfaction polling, brand health tracking, packaging testing, concept testing and advertisement testing.
How do Survey Companies Collect Information?
More and more companies are turning to online market research. Survey companies are finding it far more efficient and cost-effective to set up online questionnaires than most other data gathering options. These questionnaires can easily be conducted online or via e-mail. The cost of a typical e-mail survey can be as much as 50% less than a conventional (snail mail) one. Telephonic polling is even more costly!
As an incentive for consumers to fill out online questionnaires, companies simply offer them some form of reward. This creates a win-win situation for companies and consumers. The company gets valuable market research from a highly targeted consumer group and the participant is paid for their time by means of cash or discounts and freebies on products they are interested in. Rewards on offer include; discounts on products, free airtime, shopping vouchers, free airline miles, petrol vouchers, gift cards and cash.
What Kind of Research does Survey Companies Conduct?
Market research consists of primary and secondary research. Counterintuitively, secondary research is done first. Secondary research looks at existing sources to gather information on the product a company wants to sell and the existing market for that product. Primary research can be either qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative research is in-depth and focused on answering specific questions and concerns. Qualitative research would include creating focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Quantitative research uses online questionnaires to collect large amounts of data for statistical analysis. Statistical analysis is used to identify trends and may help to predict future buying patterns. Surveys are a quantitative primary research tool. A list of set questions is compiled to elicit and capture consumer responses. They can be conducted in-person, telephonically, by mail, e-mail or online.
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