A very useful form of marketing research is survey taking. Surveys are undertaken by companies themselves – perhaps via a mail-in form that comes with a product – as well as by marketing agencies, telemarketers, non-profit organizations, and a myriad of other groups who are interested in figuring out why people make the purchasing decisions they do, so that they can better meet customer needs.
With regards to sustainability, a survey can be used to find out information about people’s perceptions and demands about sustainable concepts, and related issues. It can also be an effective educational tool, asking people questions about things they might not have previously considered. More so, it’s one way for companies to show that they want to communicate with the markets they serve – this serves to demonstrate that customer input is desirable and that customer opinion is valued – and that, by extension, a real relationship between company and customer can be formed.
As an example – there is a survey currently running on PhatGnat, a consultancy based around bridging the gaps between the commercial sector, government, and youth.
Phatgnat is particularly focused on community youth projects, and is aiming the current survey at the 11-25 year old demographic. The survey’s aim is to “investigate the influencers behind the purchasing decisions young people make and also explore how young people view brands and companies who invest in ‘community projects’ and if this has an impact on where they spend their pound / dollar / yen etc”.
What can result from the information gained from such an endeavor? One success that PhatGnat recently put together was a graffiti-art project sponsored by waste-disposal company Viridor. The project (outlined here and here) gave youth groups the opportunity to decorate a series of garbage bind – aka “skips” with graffiti-like art that in some way demonstrates the issues surrounding waste disposal and recycling.
My take on it is that it shows some respect for the youth of the community by the local waste disposal company, and presumably elicits some respect in return – ie – a real community building process.
Without the genesis of communication, projects like this would never happen. Surveys are an ideal way to start things going – simply asking meaningful questions can lay the ground work for much broader community involvement for all players, and for a much fuller success for companies. The survey will be live for a couple more days: Click here to check it out.