The value of online surveys
Although severely outdated, the article by Evans and Mathur accurately depicts the successes and potential pitfalls of online surveys. They identify global reach, diverse appeal, flexibility, speed, convenience, and overall control as positives of online surveys. They identified skewed internet population, lack of online expertise, impersonal, low response rate, and perception of as junk mail as negatives. Since their survey, I think the lack of online expertise and age skewing are not as much as an issue as seniors flock to social media websites like Facebook. Still remaining as issues are the potential of them being impersonal and quality control, but overall, the strengths continue to outweigh the weaknesses. Of the positives, I would add advanced analytics as another item that is a definite strength of online surveys. This is a modern branch of “Ease of data entry and analysis” as I think the ability to manipulate the data based on demographics with responses is an important advantage of online surveys.
As time has moved on, I think the value of mail surveys has gone down significantly as very few people are no longer connected, but more and more do not check their mail in a traditional manner. In fast, I’d argue that there’s more of a demographic bias in mail surveys than online now.
The possible solutions to the weaknesses laid out are outstanding. The small incentives suggestion and opt-in only surveys will help ensure that a lot of the “impersonal, spammy” feel to them will be removed. It’s also obvious that aside from their suggestions, there’s a lot of other variations as there are a large quantity of companies that offer services to conduct surveys in varying industries.
Online Survey Services
Survey Monkey, Opinion Lab, and Qualtrics are all trying to serve a similar purpose, but target different markets. Just by looking at their websites, it’s very obvious that SurveyMonkey targets the low end while OpinionLab has a strong focus on mobile and is targeted on retail B2C’s. Qualtrics is the most advanced with a strong focus on marketing research and advanced advertisement testing.
I signed up for a free trial with SurveyMonkey. I found the system fairly basic, but perhaps a little more advanced than Wufoo forms. It seems as though perhaps it may be a good option for a small business trying to get feedback from customers, but even the paid versions have limited usability since they don’t integrate well with more advanced services to use for overall marketing efforts. I do think that the question bank area is useful to novices to brainstorm question ideas though and the ability to analyze the results was solid. I would be interested to see the paid version used by a professional since the free trial gave me a limited view of its abilities.
Are there any other survey services that you have used and did you find them useful? Also, how do these services connect with marketing automation?
How often do you think a marketers personal opinions influence the outcome of a survey?