How To “Listen” To Your Client’s Target Audience

Posted on April 8, 2015 by Darla F

124233181And the survey says … pretty much everything you need to know if you do it right. Surveys are really about human behavior, so why are they such an integral part of marketing? Human behavior is what drives consumerism and consumerism is the reason marketing exists.

Think of a survey as a magic mirror. That Evil Queen was a little stuck on herself, but she had the right idea. If you want to improve your process, you have to be willing to ask questions and listen to the answers. The magic mirror never lies.

What is the Magic Mirror, uh, Survey, Going to Tell You?

Surveys provide behavioral data that you can’t get other places. Website metrics, for example, tell you what product pages people look at the most and who watches videos or reads blogs. The problem is that won’t make your client the fairest in the land. For that, you need something a little more intuitive. The goal of a survey is to find out what a customer wants, not what they do.

Surveys are all about developing focus, so you know what the audience expects. If the Evil Queen just asked the right questions, she would find out the Prince isn’t into the physical stuff – he likes a girl in touch with nature. Surveys provide answers to project management problems and steer your client’s choices.

Mastering the Magic Survey

It won’t really be magic, but it will be informative. Start by deciding what you want to get out of the survey. You want a survey that moves your client towards a specific goal, such as features on a new website. Here are a few more tips for mastering the survey process:

  • Consider demographics when planning your survey – When designing the State of Inbound Marketing Survey, HubSpot formulated two sets of questions, one for U.S businesses and one for international interests. One of the first things the respondents did was identify their country. That allowed the survey program to show questions customized for the right demographic.
  • Don’t ask ambiguous questions – That’s what the Evil Queen did and you know how that turned out. Create questions that are quantifiable and translate into measurable data. For example, you can measure the results of a multiple choice question – 10 people picked A, five people chose B; it all boils down to metrics.
  • Keep your survey short and to the point – If it reads like a final exam, the customers will run away screaming and you will never get answers.

Once, you author a survey, release it to a small test audience first to ensure you are asking productive questions.

Above all else, make sure your survey is straightforward and honest. Don’t craft leading questions or coerce the answers to skew the data. That defeats the purpose. You are not the Evil Queen looking to rule. You are a marketing agency who wants to listen to your client’s audience and learn from them.

Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.


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