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Are customer surveys a waste of time?

by on
in Business Management

It sounds like a good idea: survey customers to find out what they want, and then let their answers shape your product development and marketing.

But in reality, it’s often a bust.

A case in point: according to an article in BusinessWeek (8/1/05, p. 38), in 2002 the Gap began an intensive program of focus groups, surveys, and other market research.

But in the fiscal quarter ending April 30 of this year, sales fell 4 percent. Analysts expect them to drop another 2 percent for the quarter ending on July 30, 2005.

The reason: eight former employees and two analysts say the Gap “has shifted too far toward research and away from the instinct and emotion favored by many successful clothing merchandisers.”

I see an insidious trend today, especially among traditional marketers turning toward direct marketing: they sincerely believe they can, through customer surveys, confirm that consumers will respond to the product, price, offer, headl...(register to read more)

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