Quality Surveys Just Got Easier. So Did Marketing

SurveyMonkey Changed the Game but Now I'm Hooked On Toluna's QuickSurveys

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Tom Hespos
Tom Hespos

At least half a dozen times a month, someone asks me, "What do you use for surveys?"

Usually, the question comes from marketing consultants or people at small agencies who want to find a way to execute market research cost-effectively on behalf of clients. More often than not, the next question out of their mouths is usually "Where do you buy lists of [insert survey target audience here]? I need to buy some lists for a client survey."

SurveyMonkey and its various clones may have simplified the science of survey creation and execution, but if you ask me, they fall short on the dissemination part. That is , I can easily design a survey that allows me to get some insight into shopping habits or whether moms like Logo No. 1 or Logo No. 2, but how do I get the survey in front of my target ?

Enter Toluna. The Paris-based research company recently debuted QuickSurveys, which has all the features you might expect from a web-based survey tool, with an added bonus: You can execute surveys against their 4 million-strong panel.

For the purposes of testing the interface out, as well as for giggles, I put together a quick survey about one of my passions -- hot sauce. The survey asked three very basic questions about brand preference, consumption and factors that drive purchase intent. It also asked the basics about demographics -- age, gender, household income, etc. The entire survey took about 10 minutes to put together using the QuickSurveys web-based tool. And when it was ready to go out into the field, I had a choice. I could execute it against my lists of Facebook and Twitter friends, import my own list or pay about $39 to get 50 respondents from Toluna's panel.

Not wanting to bug my social network peeps any more than I already had that day, I elected to spend the $39 for the panel option. I then left work to catch my evening train home.

By the time I arrived at the office at 7:30 the next morning, I already had completed surveys from the target 50 respondents and I spent some time reviewing their answers. Of course, QuickSurveys has a wonderful array of options for displaying the results in all sorts of pretty charts and graphs. So if I wanted to highlight the awareness gap that Sriracha seems to have among men vs. women, showcasing that with a chart takes just a few clicks.

Of course, working with the Toluna panel is best when you're targeting broad demographic groups for survey fulfillment. The company does have agreements with professional groups to let B2B marketers target certain business titles. However, let's not entertain fantasies of using QuickSurveys to test ad copy against left-handed home office radiologists just yet.

Speaking of niche audiences, when I launched my hot sauce survey, QuickSurveys gave me an idea of how easy the survey would be to fulfill, given my audience targeting criteria and the survey length. Moreover, it let me know how much it would cost to fulfill through its panel. I've evaluated offerings from direct competitors, and I don't know of any other survey tool that makes it as simple to understand cost and timing.

Still, I think we all have to start thinking about how quick-turnaround survey research can change decision-making for marketers and agencies alike. It wasn't too long ago that surveying a potential market took weeks or months, requiring the time of expensive consultants or market research companies. Now, some of this work can be done in less than a day.

Let's think about what that means for a second. Remember the last time a CPG marketer felt a bit of hesitation about a tagline? Now you can test it overnight with a couple hundred moms and give them the opportunity to provide feedback.

Any questions about whether or not the media target your agency landed on was the right one? Put a survey together and test to your heart's content.

While it's true that QuickSurveys can't immediately replace expensive market research, I think a fast and easy tool like QuickSurveys has a role in many aspects of what marketers, agencies and consultants are challenged with on a daily basis. If it costs less than $100 and takes less than a day to confirm a suspicion or to perform a last-minute disaster check before an ad goes live, why wouldn't you?

Tom Hespos is the chairman and president of Underscore Marketing. Follow Underscore Marketing on Twitter at @_MarketingLLC.
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