Whether you’re just launching a business, have achieved steady revenue or your brand is well-established and thriving, one question that’s always top of mind is: What about the future? More specifically, how will you build a growth engine to drive ongoing expansion and profitability?
No one innately knows all the answers, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building out your business. To truly understand how to grow and where that growth will come from requires continuously applied and agile research on the market, and your customers, products and service.
According to McKinsey, “Leaders who are most successful at driving growth in their organizations are deliberate, persistent, and disciplined in the way they go about it.”
It’s important to state right away that, for even the best automated analytical engines, slicing and dicing every conceivable customer interaction online or off, then running the results through algorithms, can offer only a vague idea of who’s interested in what, when, and why.
Sometimes you just have to go to the source and…ask.
Consider it “ad hoc” research. Directly asking customers and prospects about their needs and desires can answer pressing business questions and help gauge the impact of a specific event like a product or campaign launch. Let’s see how this can be applied in a practical way.
Hoops means entertainment
When the NBA’s Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco’s new Chase Center in 2019, the franchise saw a chance to go beyond just hosting basketball games. They also wanted to create a compelling fan experience. Fueling this was the organization’s plans to become a diversified live-entertainment company. The team launched a survey program to support the ambitious projects it was hoping to implement.
The Warriors used SurveyMonkey to conduct market research to uncover fan sentiment trends and inform their reopening strategy. In-game experience surveys revealed that the team’s fan base was interested in more inclusive performances, so the team introduced alternative dance teams, including junior, senior and co-ed squads. The research also revealed that fans in the Bay Area had a higher expectation of COVID-19 precautions, so the team planned accordingly.
“We wanted a better understanding of what drives brand appeal,” said Charles Gao, senior manager of business strategy and analytics for the Warriors. “We're also getting support on what fans are looking for, what non-fans are looking for, and how we can better cater to their expectations, all to create a better experience and help drive our business.”
Customers of one’s customers
Helping your own customers succeed leads to your own success. OneDigital is a leading health, retirement/wealth and HR advisory firm, focused on driving business growth for its customers. Importantly, it focuses on its clients’ own customers and members, not just on its clients themselves.
Using SurveyMonkey Enterprise along with Oracle Eloqua helped OneDigital segment leads and gain a richer understanding of customer sentiment and Net Promoter Score when engaging with benefits. Daily pulse surveys automatically funneled into Microsoft’s Power BI made it easy to identify potential problems or gaps in service earlier.
“Once this is all fueled into the Power BI dashboard, we’re able to slice and dice by industry, customer size and survey type and see on a broad scale specific insights related to our customers, which we really haven't been able to secure before,” said Heather Rabinowitz, OneDigital’s VP of member engagement.
The newest of the new
Meanwhile, artificial intelligence continues to inform research and feedback processes. In October, SurveyMonkey unveiled Build with AI, which automatically generates surveys based on goals and target audience. Improving speed-to-insight by getting surveys in the field quickly, the tool uses OpenAI’s GPT-3 large language model and follows other AI-powered features that analyze survey results and provide recommendations.
“It will create a survey that, in many cases, is good to go out the door,” said SurveyMonkey CEO Eric Johnson. He envisions users harnessing the AI technology for everything from HR surveys about benefits options to quick polls about what kind of pizza to order for a company softball game.
These advancements are fueling other essential tasks, such as launching a study of ideal target audiences, testing product messaging, packaging, brand and product names, or launching pre-campaign creative tests of which visual concepts and ads perform best with a target audience.
“The good news is that AI and many other tools can be used with the kind of authentic feedback marketers collect on customers and the market every day,” said Lara Belonogoff, senior director of brand management at SurveyMonkey. “Feedback can help you make more informed decisions about whether to test new forms of AI, how to improve the current experience and where you may have an opportunity to differentiate your brand from the competition.”