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Are Surveys Dead? Five Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Customer Research

by Alissa Warne  |  
June 21, 2018

Let's face it—no one enjoys filling out surveys. How many times have you received an email survey with the subject line "We value your opinion" or a similar trite expression? And how many times have you actually filled those out? Not many, we're betting—and that's because most people regard surveys as boring and tedious, offering no value to them.

For B2B marketers, that can pose a real problem for collecting customer preferences and opinions. How can we improve our product or service if we don't know what the customer is thinking?

For the most part, empathy and relevance are key to breathing new life into your customer research tools. It's possible for empathetic marketing, one of the top buzzwords of 2017, to make its way into something as yawn-inducing as a customer survey.

Here are five tips for getting better survey response rates and higher-quality responses.

1. Set the context

Instead of copying and pasting the usual company spiel into the body of your survey email, really think about who your customers are and why they would want to fill out a survey.

Mia Mabanta, marketing director at news service Quartz, received a total of 1,797 responses for its 65-question Global Executives Study—a 55% completion rate that is significantly above the average.

"People in charge of companies get asked for things every day, nonstop. If some outside entity is going to try to steal away precious minutes that could otherwise be spent pursuing business objectives (or personal ones, for that matter), it had better give a good reason for doing so," says Mia.

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Alissa Warne is marketing manager at Dassault Systèmes, a global 3D-software company. Alissa focuses on B2B customers in the mining sector and can be contacted at

Twitter: @alissa_warne

LinkedIn: Alissa Warne

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  • by Jared Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    I am not seeing the article?

  • by Megan L. Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    I'm not seeing the article either. But I'm interested in reading it!

  • by Peter Altschuler Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    "Your Feedback Matters!" Really? O.K., here's mine: Don't link to articles that do not exist.

  • by Peter Altschuler Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    This. Is. Peculiar. I clicked the link that took me an article that wasn't there. So I submitted a comment about the missing story. Then, once the comment was submitted, the story appeared. Who wrote the code for this?

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    Hi, all.

    We're not sure how, but the article text seemed to have disappeared at some point after we scheduled it for publication and before it went live. We've now uploaded it (again). Apologies for the inconvenience!

  • by Peter Altschuler Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    How refreshing. It should be mandatory reading for every quant who believes that we're still in the days of Joe Friday saying, "The facts, ma'am. Just the facts."

  • by Marcia Yudkin Thu Jun 21, 2018 via web

    You lost me in your first sentence: "No one enjoys filling out surveys."

    That can't be true. Every time I've run a survey, I've gotten enthusiastic participation, with many people spending 15-25 minutes to write out opinions, reactions and questions in addition to answering the set questions.

    And indeed, just this morning I filled out a long survey for authors. Many other times I have appreciated the opportunity to offer my opinion on matters relevant to my business dealings.

    There's no reason to set up an article with helpful tips by starting off with an idiotic over-generalization like that.

  • by Adam Fri Jun 22, 2018 via web

    Great article. Very much appreciated.

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