Surveying potential customers from different demographics is one of the oldest and most tried methods of market research in the book. While it might seem stale, surveying customers can often shed light on unexpected (and important) insights about one's business.
Google is aiming to revitalize this method by making it faster, more accurate and more affordable with the introduction of Google Consumer Surveys.
Although it is touted for any company ranging from the Fortune 500 level to a local store around the corner, Consumer Surveys seems very applicable to the small business category.
Nevertheless, Google software engineer Brett Slatkin noted on the Google Small Business blog that Google has already signed on several well-known companies, including Lucky Brand Jeans and Timbuk2, to use Consumer Surveys to track brand awareness and product development, among other metrics.
On the surface, it really does seem quite simple for business managers without a lot of time or resources. Basically, all one has to do is create an online survey, which is touted to be as quick as only requiring a few minutes.
From there, Google spins its analytic magic with initial results as soon as a few hours with deeper insights delivered within a few days.
The tricky part is that the Consumer Surveys is sort of a carrots and sticks method. Site visitors could come across the questions when they're trying to access media content such as news or videos. Consumers would have to answer the question to get access.
To ease any worries following the flurry over Google's recently revamped privacy policies, Slatkin assured that responses are anonymous and don't tie to a person's Google account.
Although it might seem annoying to consumers, it might actually be a benefit to them. Instead of having to pay for access to content, a publisher might opt to just require a site visitor to answer the question for access.
For a closer look at Google Consumer Surveys, take a look at the promo video below: