The Power of a Survey
How many times have you been asked to participate in a survey? If you are anything like me then the answer is probably hundreds. I am often being stopped in the street and invited to take part in a survey that will only take a few minutes. I do feel sorry for these marketers as I usually decline and say that I am too busy. More often than not the survey is in relation to something that I am not interested in anyway. There must be a lot of people who do take the survey because opinion polls are constantly being quoted for a variety of issues. These survey results are extremely powerful in persuading consumers that a particular product has been voted the best in a survey. We are often influenced, possibly subconsciously, by these survey results and buy the particular product that came out on top.
Television commercials for beauty products seem to be the most common ones that state they were voted number one in a survey of so many thousand women. Particular dog and cat food commercials are famous for the line “9 out of 10 pet owners said their cat or dog preferred the brand.” So who are we to argue? If the product is the best for the people who took part in the survey then it must be true! Sadly, we are seldom able to have access to the survey itself to see how neutral the questions really were. I often think that the particular survey must have a leaning towards the participants returning the results that the commissioner of the survey wants.
All around the world there are survey results being quoted on news channels. If there is an election taking place then the political analysts use the power of a survey to predict the possible outcome of the voting. I don’t agree with these types of survey because voting should be a private process and all the effort given to securing that no one else sees your ballot paper seems nullified if you are going to tell the survey taker who you just voted for!
The type of survey that I am most likely to take part in is an online one. These often appear on websites and are asking for your opinion on the website itself. The survey is used to judge the experience that you have while visiting the website and is used to improve the site. I am all for that type of survey where you are being asked to help the website owners offer a better service.
I will also fill in a customer service survey if I have bought a product from a particular website or to explain why I did not purchase anything. My ideal type of survey is one that is used to provide me with a better service, not to persuade me to buy a particular product because it was voted number 1 in a well known women’s magazine.
Finally, the type of survey that I hate with a passion on conducted over the telephone. Similar to my attitude to those being taken in the high street I feel that these telephone survey takers are intruding on my privacy. No matter how a survey is conducted there always seem to be enough people willing to participate to produce the results that are quoted in the media. They are certainly a powerful marketing tool.