How Surveys Help Make Critical Business Decisions

How Surveys Help Make Critical Business Decisions

Making critical business decisions often require lengthy processes, which involve referring to your strategic planning process and business plan, along with proposals, meetings and lots of persuasion. 

Rather than basing business decisions on inferences, which can originate from business documents and the advice of others, businesses ought to consider using data for decision-making. However, businesses need to take heed of context, as data that’s blindly applied is worse than useless — it’s misleading.  

This is a problem virtually all businesses will come by, especially those investing in Big Data and AI. In fact, a large number of firms, specifically 64.8% of businesses invest in Big Data and AI. However, only 14.6% of firms have deployed AI capabilities into widespread production.

Businesses should therefore use data with a clear purpose, contextual insights, data filtering and neatly organized so that it is digestible and easy to understand.

This article discusses the weight of business decisions, the confusion and inaccurate conclusions springing from big data and the five key ways that surveys help businesses make crucial business decisions. 

The Weight of Business Decisions & Avoiding Wrong Ones

There are plenty of decisions that executives need to make on a daily basis, from taking HR and other internal actions, to relationship-building with partners and clients, to setting goals and budgets.  

It is critical for every business decision, regardless of its perceived importance, to be made with the best intentions and for the primary goal of benefiting the company in some way. 

When executives and other higher-ups layout fine-tuned goals for employees, their workers will run into fewer issues and make fewer mistakes. Employees will therefore execute all that your business needs more efficiently.

It is key to note that changing business practices on a whim or when you are in a bad mood can have grave consequences. Every business decision should be carefully considered, and gain input from other employees.

Given that all business decisions carry some degree of importance, they cannot be made suddenly. Such decisions must be informed by data, particularly customer data if you’re seeking to form or test new marketing campaigns. 

But as aforementioned, many businesses incorrectly use their data, as big data can be misleading, resulting in key stakeholders making the wrong decisions. This is especially true in large sets of data, as it is common to make causal links that appear to be legitimate, but represent fake statistical relationships.

Data needs to be contextual and allow researchers to make accurate decisions. As such, businesses need to conduct market research, specifically primary market research on their target market prior to making any changes or decisions.

In the mobile-first age, your business needs to make business decisions to not only suit your business needs, but to acclimate with the current mobile-first world. This involves your mobile properties, such as your mobile site and app(s), along with the way you conduct market research.

Survey research provides a strong means of gathering customer data, the kind that can help your business avoid the problems from big data.

How Surveys Help Avoid Issues and Make Business Decisions 

Conducting survey research is a critical move to make when it comes to using the correct set of customer data and adapting to mobile-first. The proper platform facilitates ease of survey creation, deployment and organizes your data in an orderly fashion. 

Given that surveys allow you to ask any question, set the theme of a survey campaign and form qualitative market research via open-ended questions, this kind of data provides all the contextual information your business needs to avoid the common pitfalls of big data.

The following sections explain the five ways you can use surveys to make smart business decisions.

Testing creatives before launching a campaign

Marketing campaigns are often major undertakings that come with large price tags. To avoid any mistakes or issues, such campaigns need to first be tested before launching. Surveys steer all those on the creative side of a team in the right direction, as insights from these tools help creatives form and develop their concepts, making them crucial components of concept testing

Surveys allow marketers and creatives to take more risks with content by first creating a survey to test different versions of a content idea. Then, they can understand the opinions and feelings of their respondents on a high level, along with examining their reactions more deeply, such as with open-ended questions, which are qualitative in nature.

Understanding different customer segments

Marketing endeavors — or any others — will never hit the mark when you don’t understand your target market, the broad group of customers that are most likely to buy from your business. In order to properly market to and serve your customers, you’ll need to understand them precisely, which includes understanding the segments that make up your target market. 

Surveys make this possible, as they are a primary source of executing market segmentation, in which market researchers can divide and organize their target market into smaller groups based on their shared characteristics, such as demographics, location and behaviors. This makes it easier to form marketing campaigns, as you can design them specifically for each segment. 

This technique is also ideal for market research, as it allows businesses to study their customers in a more organized and granular manner. If you don’t understand the nuances behind your customers, along with their preferences and aversions, you won’t be able to create messages or innovate on your offerings in a way that is relevant to them. 

Understanding what consumers think of your competition

Surveys help you make critical business decisions by way of conducting competitor analysis. Although surveys are deployed to the masses, which includes your target market, you can use them to ask consumers for their thoughts on your direct and indirect competitors.

Whether it is about other businesses in a geographic area or other ecommerce businesses surveys allow you to understand the standing of other businesses in your market. Surveys unveil whether consumers are aware of your competitors, thus allowing you to gauge your competitors’ brand equity, along with what consumers like and dislike about those businesses and their offerings. 

In this way, they can also educate you on your market at large, such as its key innovations, demands, movers and shakers, key events and more. As such, surveys are instruments for understanding both your competitors’ performance in the eyes of your consumers and their thoughts on your industry at large. 

Spotting trends early

The latest trend may stay culturally relevant to your target market for a while, but it also may just be just a passing fad. Surveys help teams become attuned to cultural trends, current events and the general sentiment around them. With this tool in tow, your team can test their ideas in relation to trends and back them with data.

This includes data on where your industry and niche are heading. Surveys grant you these insights with the potential of spotting trends early on, so that your team stays ahead of the curve and can capitalize on them quickly. Surveys are the perfect tools for adapting to new trends and practices, as their results are available in nearly real-time. (This will depend on the online survey platform you use). 

Get feedback on new product ideas

Innovating on products is often difficult; it would be especially unfavorable to launch a product without understanding how your target market feels about it. Perhaps the new product or feature will be useful to your consumers, but there is a chance of it disappointing them. 

For example, you may think you’re adding a useful feature or removing an inconvenient feature, while your customers never needed you to take these actions, proving the adage of “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it.” After all, some features, like a USB outlet on a laptop are necessary, but brands may remove it, incorrect about their assumption that it is unneeded. In turn, customers have to hassle with finding the correct adaptor. 

Thus, innovation is important, but it carries a lot of risks. As a business owner or market researcher, you need to be wary of these risks, how to minimize them and to innovate in ways that are truly beneficial to your target market. Surveys allow you to do all three, as you can assess product development by asking the right questions.

Surveys are key tools in customer development, a framework part of the lean startup concept, used to ascertain whether a product satisfies the needs of your target market. Surveys also complement an in-home use test, a market research technique that allows researchers to test a new product by way of sending it to a customer's home rather than sending the customer to a facility to try the product. 

Making all the Correct Business Decisions 

As a business owner or market researcher, you owe it to yourself and your team to make wise decisions to enable employees to trust you and to steer the company in the right direction. All business decisions are important, whether they involve customers, products, vendors or employees. 

Surveys allow businesses to properly cater to all of these entities, whether it is marketing to a target market, innovating on products or serving your employees. This is because you can create campaigns centered on virtually any topic, allowing you to understand your target market’s opinions on anything you like.

However, not all online survey platforms are built with the same capabilities. Your business needs to find a strong survey tool that allows you to make your own survey in just three steps,  uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to weed out poor-quality survey data and implements random device engagement (RDE) sampling to engage respondents in their natural digital environments, as opposed to using pre-recruited participants. 

When your business leverages survey software that offers these functionalities, you’re set to make critical business decisions without hesitation.