Case Study: How an Audience Survey Fueled Real Business Growth

Case Study: How an Audience Survey Fueled Real Business Growth

Reader Comments (35)

  1. @Tea Silvestre cool website by the way. When i first started reading this article the author Jim Collins “good to great book” came to mind. Research, research research…. the data never lies.

    What you are asking us to do is to collect data so you know how best to respond to your audience. This in turn will drive you to create better tailored products to their needs, blog posts and content etc… I think most people know this is important, but are not sure where to start or think it takes too much time.

    But the results are really revealing. 🙂

  2. This was a great refresher for me and a reminder to get back to the basics of market research! I am curious, though, how well surveys like these perform when launched through a social media platform rather than an email campaign?

    • We used every method possible to spread the word on this one…social media, too. Email alone wasn’t enough. So, depending on your goals (number of responses you need, etc.) you’ll probably want to use any and every method available to you.

  3. As one of the partners in this venture, I can say I learned as much from the process of publicizing the survey as from the results of the survey itself. Great sum-up, Tea.

  4. Steve Jobs did everything possible to get a look at Xerox’s research plant. What was the result? The way you are going you could be the next Mac. Good sense.

  5. Thanks for sharing so openly the details not only of what you did, but the how and the why. Your insights are much appreciated.

    Honoring the promises you made to potential survey respondents truly shows that you “walk the walk.” So many others I’ve seen online “talk the talk” about know/like/trust, but few actually live it.

    I’m happy to say I’m one of your subscribers and I find tremendous value in your emails and blog posts. Looking forward to reading your complete report.

    And now you’ve really got me thinking about how to do more research in my field.

  6. I love your great points on what surveying your audience can do. We have found the same thing when working with our customers. We’re specifically focused on creating an easy way to distribute mobile surveys in-person at events or for sports teams. They’re goals are the same…grow their leads, learn more about their audience, etc. Although they have said staying up on the latest technology is important too.

    Great article.

  7. As one of those people who answered “time management” as the biggest business challenge, there was some encouragement in this report (“hey, I’m not a total freak of nature”) and some interesting details that I wouldn’t have expected. That’s the beauty of research! You can really learn some interesting and useful things.

    My favorite lesson? –You accomplish so much more when you collaborate with people. Especially those you might consider your “competitors.”

    The whole world should be moving in this direction. Glad to be part of the corner of yours that’s making it happen.

  8. Brilliant post Tea!
    I especially love that because people have replied to you in their own words, you’ve got the exact tone of voice and vocabulary you need to resonate with them when you write.
    As a copywriter that’s one of the hardest parts of writing anything to sell – inspired!

  9. Hi Tea,

    Thanks for an excellent post on how to do proper research. I’ve conducted phone surveys for two years (what can I say, a college student gotta find a way to pay the bills) and I’m shocked the way certain big companies insult their customers’ intelligence. Honestly, I don’t see the point with all the awkwardly phrased 1-10 questions, but hey, maybe that’s just me. The surveys that ask interesting open-ended questions, which try to solve the customer’s problems, do much better. It’s not rocket science, you genuinely just have to care about your customers and they will respond to you. If you fail to meet their needs or discuss their delicate issues, you’re in for a rough call, to say the least… I embrace permission marketing 100 % because I only want to speak to people who want to hear what I have to say. Don’t get me wrong. When done right, surveys can be a rich source of information (you learn the language of your customer, their problems etc). When done wrong, you learn a lot too, but mainly about the frustration and disappointment of human nature.


    P.S. Excellent blog posts are well disguised surveys of the 21st century. The reason they’re so powerful is that they add value, solve a problem AND genuinely care about the reader. Now that’s just smart market research and way more fun 🙂

    • I did a fair amount of that phone research myself when I was in college, too (so I understand your frustrations). A lot of that research is meant to be more quantitative in nature (vs the open-ended qualitative kind that includes open-ended questions). In order for any research to be statistically significant (vs. just interesting like mine), it’s got to pay a lot more attention to creating questions that don’t lend themselves to being interpreted by the respondents in any one particular way. (There’s a whole more to it than that, too — but I digress.) Suffice it to say, as solopreneurs our research MUST focus more on the qualitative if we want to get to the emotional stuff. We don’t have the luxury of spending thousands of dollars to find out what percentage of our target market eats toast for breakfast. We’ve got to be more worried about how our ideal clients FEEL about the toast. Glad you enjoyed this post!

  10. What a great idea! Sure, it sounds like a lot of work, but I’m sure it’s worth it. I’d so be interested in finding out what questions were asked and what answers were received – I’m just nosy like that 🙂

  11. Tea – ashamed to say this is the first time I’ve read your work and I really love it.
    I am a new business development specialist blogger and one of my favorite ‘tricks of the trade’ is to disguise selling as market research.

    Well-constructed research questionnaires are a pleasure to complete. Your audience should come away thinking you’re asked the right amount of information and they have been given the opportunity to tell you what THEY want to about each topic.
    Yet, even the big boys can get it wrong.
    Today I helped The Economist do a survey on mobile apps for their magazine. They asked questions like
    “what is your top way of commenting on our articles” and gave 3 options. The next question is “what is your next preferred option of commenting on our articles” And gave the same 3 options. They didn’t allow you to opt out of answering the second question if a) you didn’t have a second preference or b) you did not comment – you could not say NO. Which frustrated me….. so I told them in the answer to another question!

    I’m preparing a book about how the creative marketing agency of the future is managed using a similar methodology to you
    The questionnaire will come later…. you have helped me a lot with your structure and feedback.
    Thanks, Tea.

      • Maggie, did you actually read the blog post. I hope you might reconsider your remark.

        In the startup world this is called “market validation”. Testing the market for your product or service and appraising pricing strategies. You can uncover prospective customers through research. That’s not ‘sugging’.

      • Maggie, this interests me — is sugging (a term I hadn’t heard before) like when political pollsters call and ask misleading, influence-directing questions like, “Are you concerned about Candidate X’s history as a meth dealer?” in order to influence the person being called.

        Since I don’t know the term, I’m very interested to know the kinds of behavior it describes and how they reach the level of being unethical.

        • Sonia, thanks for clarifying this for Rebeca. Tea’s article is exactly what market research should be. Sugging and frugging (or fundraising under the guise of market research) can be compared to the subliminal persuasion of our politicians in that they are indeed deceiving and dishonest. To me, it’s taking advantage of our innate human desire to participate and feel valued.

  12. Amazing post Tea. I really enjoyed it and it glad you brought this out on how to do proper research. I remember once conducting phone surveys back and was actually irritated how such a well-known company could give feedback to customers! I think it’s high time for change and be the closest people to overwhelm customer in a manner that is intelligent and welcoming but not insult or a cold shoulder! Thanks a lot for sharing and I think this sounds so helpful to a big part of such surveys. I look forward for more. Great write up indeed!

  13. Congratulations on accomplishing your huge undertaking, Tea. And thanks for sharing your experiences… I especially appreciated your insights about the “strange, but true” benefits of surveys that aren’t commonly realized. I hadn’t thought of a couple of them before reading your excellent post. You’ve given me some new menu ideas for the next time I whip up some survey goodies in my own marketing kitchen. Thanks!

    P.S. I downloaded your summary report (excellent info and presentation, BTW) and am looking forward to receiving the full report when ready. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

  14. It’s always a positive and wonderful thing to act like you promised. I like the fact that you embrace simplicity and produce unique writes. I like your posts and I have to confess that this one did it for me.

  15. Making promises is no big deal but keeping them becomes a problem l just hope you will keep your promises. Your survey project is real boosting growth, do keep us posted on your developments please.

  16. Hi Tea! excellent post and certainly gathering and researching data can very influential while getting the more traffic and leads to your site but I believe it can be only happen when you master the ability of producing great and valuable content and readers love your content and after that you can took the step to done surveys yourself of guru bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing wealthy information love reading this article. 🙂

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