Sometimes I Just Don’t Want to Play the Survey Game

I have this impression, which I can’t substantiate with empirical data (other than the empirical data that I have this impression), that every online marketing ‘guru’ says that surveys are a great marketing tool.

The argument goes something like this:

  • people love completing surveys;
  • surveys are easy to whip up and there are tools online to make them easy to run;
  • you get a lot of information which you can re-cycle as a report, an article etc;
  • by publishing the results, say in a newsletter, you present yourself as an expert in your field
  • ergo, people are more inclined to buy your products or services.

Logical enough.

And when colleagues ask me to participate in their surveys I like to please.

But I do believe there are some courtesies to be observed, not least the acknowledgement that this request might just be a bit of an intrusion on someone’s working day.

In that vein, it bothers me to receive emails like the one I got a couple of weeks ago which purported to be asking me a ‘quick question’ about my business. The suggestion was that my responding would help a professional association to which I do not belong.

OK, I thought, this is a person who is respected by peers and is evidently very successful. So I read on and was asked to take a ‘couple of minutes’ to answer the ‘quick’ question, which was actually three questions:

  • where do you want to see your business in 12-36 months?
  • what do you feel are your three biggest obstacles to getting there?
  • what specifically could help you overcome these obstacles?

Apart from being intrigued by the fact that the email says nothing about the methodology, what will be done with the results, whether I will later get a report of the consolidated returns, etc etc, I was taken aback by the presumption that I could answer such complex questions in a ‘couple of minutes’.

The fact that, without any indication of confidentiality, I was being asked to share commercially sensitive information with people in the same line of business had presumably not occurred to the writer.

So I replied as courteously as I could and, while wishing the person well with the survey, said I did not see how I could answer those questions in a couple of minutes.

Am I surprised that I’ve not heard back? Not really. For a moment I thought I might get a response. After all, the email was addressed ‘Dear Des’ and signed off ‘Warmly’. But of course, that’s autoresponder setup step one . 

I’ve been thinking about doing some surveys to help me position some products and services better, so this experience is very timely.

 

Share this...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone
About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.

Comments

  1. >Like my time isn’t valuable and I can just toss aside 15 minutes

    Yes, Frank, and I was thinking that maybe next time someone says that we could say, sure, and where will I send the invoice for my time? 🙂

  2. Des, I agree there. Also game that I don’t like to play are the people taking survey’s that call on the phone out of the blue asking for a survey. I ask “how long will this take?” “Oh about 15 minutes.” Like my time isn’t valuable and I can just toss aside 15 minutes. Ha!