Consumer Surveys: If You Aren’t Asking, You’re Going to Lose

by Matt Weik

What are people saying about your brand? Does your brand cater to their needs? What demographic is actually buying your products and using them and more importantly, WHY are they using them? If you are a supplement brand and you aren’t using consumer surveys whether it be online or at the retail level to gain insight, you’re going to lose.

Consumer Surveys Provide Important Insight

While I’m not saying a brand can’t make it without using consumer surveys, it will simply in the long-run prevent them from making costly mistakes that use up resources when all they would have needed to do was ask their consumer for their thoughts.

Having some sort of consumer surveys periodically put out there to gain valuable information and insight will go a long way for a supplement brand. Far too many brands THINK they know what their customers want but they ultimately have no idea – they’re just guessing. By putting your finger on the pulse and getting out to interact with consumers in retail locations or through consumer surveys is the best way to position yourself to win.

The whole point of coming out with a new product or new flavor extension is to cater to your core consumer, right? I mean, if your core consumers want vanilla and chocolate because those are the staples, the last thing you would want to do is launch a new product and have it in a bubble gum flavor. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Likewise, your consumer’s behaviors can and will change over time. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. And you’d be insane to think that a product you put out today will be purchased in the same volume 10 years later. While I guess it could, it’s highly unlikely.

How to Properly Implement Consumer Surveys

Honestly, it’s ridiculously easy. If your brand has a website, which it should, all you need to do is use software from someone like Survey Monkey and place the consumer surveys right there on your website. Assuming you get good traffic to your site, you have the ability to gain a ton of insight into the behaviors of your consumers to confirm if they have changed and how you need to change as a brand, who your core demographic is, what products are they using and like, and what products would they like to see if you were to come out with something new.

Likewise, you should be collecting emails and have an email list full of consumers and prospects that you could attach the survey link to an email and blast it out to everyone on your list. This method is extremely easy and ensures you get eyeballs on the survey opportunity (assuming they open the email you sent).

Getting this feedback can be the first step in growing your business. If you know you can solve a problem by coming to market with a product that fits the needs and solves the problems your core consumer has, you can almost ensure it will gain traction nearly immediately upon launch. There are obviously always outliers with anything and nothing is guaranteed but rather than launching something blindly you’d have an idea if what you are about to launch is something consumers would use and be excited for.

Another way to implement consumer surveys is to go out and actually speak directly to consumers at the retail level and write down notes. Sure, this would involve you actually leaving the comfort of your office but it actually means a lot to the consumers to see a brand out in the field talking to consumers and gaining feedback from what they tell the brand team.

The last way you can utilize consumer surveys is by working with your retail partners across the nation and ask them to help you gain insight into consumer behaviors. If you have a survey that you can send them and ask them to hand out and allow the customer to anonymously complete, you can get a ton of questions answered. Not only would this be good for current customers to fill out but also those who have never used your brand before. It could answer the question as to why you never gained trial with certain individuals and how you can do things differently to be more inclusive and increase your trial.

Ask and you shall receive… ANSWERS.

Bottom line is if you aren’t asking questions don’t expect to get any answers. You need to be proactive when it comes to doing research on your target market. No one is going to out of the blue email your brand and tell you what they want to see from your company. They will either already be looking at other brands to solve their problem or they will be looking to fix the problem themselves without you.

I worked for a brand where the brand team, as well as the marketing team, never left their office to venture out into the field. When we would report back to them on our findings and insight by simply doing our job as a sales team, they wouldn’t believe what we were telling them or they had no interest on acting upon it. For instance, when we told them no one wanted a specific flavor or that a specific product was clumping and causing an issue, nothing was done until it was too late and consumers stopped buying the products. Then what happened? The teams came back to us asking why sales were down on certain SKUs. Well dummy, if you would have listened the first time when we told you, we would have had enough time to fix things before it got to this point.

Again, remember who you are serving and catering to. You want to make them happy and build brand loyalty. The last thing you want to do is have a bunch of products on the shelf that no one wants anymore. And by using consumer surveys, you can make adjustments as the times change to ensure you are providing your consumers with products they want to use. 

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