Online Surveys – Getting to Know You

How do you get to know her? This “woman customer” you so desperately want to buy your products? How do you gather information about her, her life, her needs, her motivations, her deepest desires? We’ve all read the stories of women who not only become customers, but become brand evangelists singing your praises to anyone who will listen. Who are these women and how do you gather information about them?

Marketers have more resources than ever for gathering data: online surveys, focus groups, interviews, customer rating systems, website analytics. All can be excellent sources of information, but all can also be flawed. There are two main problems. One – gathering the data is one thing, interpreting it is another. Correctly interpreting data isn’t always easy. Two – as much as she says “I want you to understand me” she may not always tell you the truth about herself. She’s not purposefully lying, but the image of ourselves we want to project to the world and who we really are often not the same thing.

I was talking to a friend who had a financial/investment services client. The client offered two types of investing advice and services. One service was geared towards value investors – those who are risk averse and comfortable with slower growth – more of a buy and hold strategy. The other service was designed for an investor who is much more aggressive. This investor wants the hot stocks, triple digit returns, and quick turnarounds.  The client believed the audience was evenly split.  But when the client did an online survey – the vast majority of visitors classified themselves as value investors. So they were considering changing the content on the site to speak more to this less aggressive investor.

When she told me about the online survey, I gave her my highly professional technical analysis – “It’s crap”.

OF COURSE visitors filling out the online survey were going to say they were disciplined value investors. OF COURSE they think of themselves as smart long-term planners happy with steady growth. Who’s going to willingly raise their hand and say “Not me – I chase every high flying stock opportunity with the wild abandon of a giddy schoolgirl in hope of bagging the next triple digit winner.” But you only have to look at the plethora of websites and trading services that make mega-bucks with headlines like “this stock is poised to rocket up 200% in the next 30 days.”

I consider myself a low-risk value investor. But I’m embarrassed to tell you how much money I’ve lost trying to find the next eBay or Qualcomm. I finally had to hire a financial advisor whose job it is to specifically talk me out of bad stock ideas. “But Pete – the newsletter said this trial drug could end childhood disease, save the rainforest and cure cancer! But if I don’t get in now, I could miss out on billions of dollars!!” He gently points out that the technical chart looks awful, the company has no track record of ever having producing anything, and it’s located in Botswana. Pete makes me stick to my value investor strategy.

Do I want you to understand me? Absolutely. Do I want you to create websites that speak to me, my needs, and in my language? You betcha. Am I always going to be honest with you when you try to get that information from me? Hmmmmm. Let me think about that while I check the share prices on Google. 

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7 Responses to Online Surveys – Getting to Know You

  1. Mary Schmidt says:

    Yeppers. As I’ve long said in sales training…remember, what a client wants…needs…and will pay for…are often three different things.
    And, of course, we’re going to tell people the “good” reason why we buy something – instead of the real one.

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  7. Clark Adams says:

    Online surveys help make a tangible market research. Apart from reaching a larger number of audiences, this type of research is cost-effective. This way, the company can delve further in the specific needs of their female customers.

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