Conducting a survey is the process of taking a small, representative sample of a larger group to gain a better understanding of the group as a whole. When surveys are conducted on an ongoing basis they can become extremely important. Marketers take note: when done well, a series of ongoing surveys can become an important reference point for the markets they serve.
Here are some examples from different industries:
One of the most powerful brands in financial publishing is the Dow Jones Company, publishers of the Wall Street Journal and creators of the Dow Jones industrial average. In 1896 company co-founder Charles Dow created a process by which he selected 30 stocks he thought represented the larger industrial corporations in the US as whole. Today the Dow Jones Industrial Average has come to represent a key metric of the economic health of the United States. The Dow Jones industrial Average, at its heart, is just a survey. But every time the Dow Jones industrial Average is quoted, the Dow Jones Company gets free publicity.
The Nielsen Ratings sample a representative number of American television viewers and projects those numbers to determine who is watching nationwide. The Nielsen Ratings is basically just an ongoing survey, but the scores it generates determine if your favorite TV stays on or is canceled.
Every four years when the US turns to the challenge of electing a president, one Washington consulting company in particular gets a boost of free publicity. This publicity bonanza started in 1958 when Dr. George Gallup started surveying samples of potential voters to project who which politician was ahead in the vote. Today, every time a newscast mentions The Gallup Poll, The Gallup organization's world-wide strategic consulting business gets a boost.
Election time is also when an odd named Connecticut university with only 5,900 students gets national attention every time a newscaster announces a result from the Quinnipiac University Poll.
There are several publishers who create objective information to help consumers better understand the products and services they buy. Want to know which restaurant is best? Read the Zagat restaurant ratings. Consumer products? Read Consumer Reports.
The ability to create information that helps a market better understand itself is a very powerful process.
If you think surveys aren't influential please consider that just these examples they influence the health of our economy, which TV shows get canceled, which products we buy, and the selection our President.
Were the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Gallup Poll, Nielsen Ratings, and Quinnipiac University Poll created just to generate publicity? Probably not. But they do follow a formula smart marketers have used for years: create valuable branded content for a target market and your organization will gain stature and publicity in that market.
Surveys are hidden or source of persuasion and publicity in our economy and conducting them on an ongoing basis can increase their power significantly.
Read about some of our recent surveys and how this can work for your organization.