Crowdsourcing and Market Research

October 15th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

The Internet has helped to create a language of its own, a language which is hard to keep up with. The great thing about ‘crowdsourcing’ is that you can kinda figure out what it means just the word its self (unlike names like twitter, google, bing). Obviously it has something to do with sourcing something with crowds. Turns out when I looked a bit closer ‘Crowdsourcing’ isn’t that new and it means a little more than sourcing from crowds.

Seems that ‘Crowdsourcing’ was coined back in June 2006 by Jeff Howe in Wired magazine. Broadly speaking ‘Crowdsourcing’ refers to the outsourcing of work to a large undefined group of people. Typically this occurs in the digital world as opposed to the real world (shame, as I’d love to crowd-source by gardening out).

It strikes me that there are some real similarities between ‘Crowdsourcing’ and Market Research, in fact it seems that there are so many similarities that it is useful to compare the two and find out what the difference between market research and crowd-sourcing actually is.


Crowd-sourcing and Market Research aide Good Product Design. Crowd-sourcing in many examples sees consumers taking the driver seat in regards to product design/survey design. There are examples of consumers being directly involved in the end product i.e. sneaker design. Market research does this to0.

Crowd sourcing involves collaboration between company and consumer.

Seems that market research and crowdsourcing have collaboration in common as well.

Crowdsourcing uses incentives like prizes, sometimes no incentives are used.

After looking at some of the examples of crowd sourcing it seems to me that market research can best considered a type of crowdsourcing. So if you were worried that you’d missed the next best thing your not. Ff you are doing some market research, then you are doing some crowdsourcing. Although one of the underlying platforms that crowdsourcing relies on is web 2.0 (i.e. the two way communication the Internet provides). It would seem then that market research 2.0 would be more closely aligned  to crowdsourcing than market research 1.0. Next crowdsourcing project – my garden.

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Why won?, Why lost?, Why missed?-Surveys for Greater Customer Insight

September 29th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


Customer satisfaction surveys tend to dominate thinking when it comes to surveying customers. Yet, there are plenty of other ways to gain insights into your customer base by asking a few quick questions. ‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys are just one example. And if you don’t have any customers they are also quite useful for dating.

‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys are a series of customer insight surveys that are practically guaranteed to give you the information and insights that any business requires in order to retain existing customers, win back old customers and win new business.

I first came across ‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys in my first job as a market researcher when I was straight out of university. I was immediately stuck by the simplicity of the concept but like most things often it is the simple ideas that are the best (excluding  factor and conjoint analysis).

Why Won?

Gaining a new client may mean the popping of champagne corks and a flurry if high fives all around the office.

Often little thought is put to why you may have been successful in winning the new client. A ‘Why won?’ survey seeks to answer this important question.  The key reason for doing a Why won” survey is that the information gleaned can be valuable in winning other new clients .

The underlying assumption being that if newly won customer liked feature A, then it is likely that other prospects may like feature A too. This could lead to greater promotion and emphasis being made of feature A and consequently more new customers.

The timing of a Why won? survey is important. It is best to leave some time between the customer coming on board and asking the new customer to complete the survey. Off course this depends on the type of interaction you may have with the customer but six weeks is a good rule of thumb.

The Questions
While it is not quite as simple as “Hey Bob, Why won?”, but there isn’t too much more to it than that.

The main objective of the survey is to identify the key factors why your new customer decided to go with you  and not your competition. If you have left it for six weeks you can also use the opportunity to see how your new customers are settling in. This can identify any early teething problems and enable you to stop your new customer becoming a lost customer.

The Methodology
The methodology of your survey deployment depends on a number of factors. The value of the new account comes into play along with how you will continue to communicate with your new customer. For higher value accounts I like the idea of a personalised telephone call. The call can play an integral part in the induction process of the new customer.

The person who makes the call should ideally be a neutral individual who has no role in the management of the account. In most circumstances it is ideal to use a market researcher to undertake the interview. Off course, the researcher can be calling from your organisation. The value in using an independent interviewer is that you are more likely to receive more candid and there fore more valuable information.

Online surveys can also be used instead of telephone interviews. I would be reluctant to use online surveys for high value accounts though. Responce rates are likely to be low and they will do little to strengthen the relationship or make your new customer feel welcome.

Why Lost?

Losing customers or clients is a drain on any business and often the temptation is to simply make excuses on why customers leave without capturing any data on the key reasons why they have decided to cease doing business with your organsation.

This is the purpose of the ‘Why lost?’ survey. Questions tend to focus on the key reasons why the client has made the decision to leave. It can also be useful to ask if there is anything you could do to win there business back. Often there isn’t but if there is you really want to know.

The Methodology
The methodology to use is similar to the why won surveys. The key factor is really the value of the account. Spitting out an online survey to a million dollar client will justify their decision. You just don’t care. A telephone survey would be more suitable.

Often the hardest thing with ‘Why Lost?’ surveys is actually knowing when you have lost a client. It is human nature to avoid conflict so if you client can just slip off in the dark – they will. In some industries it is fairly obvious that your customer is leaving e.g. “Hi, I want to cancel my subscription”.

Why Missed?

Often an enormous  amount of resources and energy can go into pitching for new business and unless your operating in a monopoly it is likely that you will come across business defeat in a competitive pitch.

While it is tempting in these situations to just put it down to a “numbers game” and move on if you want to learn from your defeats it is critical that you take the time to find out why your pitch was unsuccessful.

Methodlogy and process should work the same as the ‘Why won?’ and ‘Why lost” surveys.

Data Collection

With all these surveys it is essential that the data is collected in a useful and meaningful manner. It is of no value if you have various forms floating around the office.

While the data collected is incredibly useful to make quick improvements and gains to your business processes it is the longitudinal data that provides fantastic insights into how your business is tracking over time.

Competitive Intelligence

‘Why won?’, ‘Why lost?’ and ‘Why missed?’ surveys will also provide you with a goldmine of competitive intelligence. This data should be tagged appropriately as it enables a complete profile of your competitors activity to constantly developed. There is no need to engage in covert espionage when you have a wealth of knowledge lurking within your customers.

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Ideas, survey design, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

When DIY Customer Satisfaction Surveys Go Horribly Wrong

September 23rd, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to find out how you are performing in the eyes of your customers. With the benefits of customer surveys generally well understood, many organisations have employed market research companies to undertake the work for them while some opt for the DIY option.

I imagine the DIY option is generally chosen because of the associated cost savings. I mean, why pay someone when you can do it yourself? That’s why I mow my own lawns, it’s not because I love lawn-mowing, it’s because I prefer not to pay someone else when I can do it myself (not to mention the degree of discomfort I feel when watching TV while having the lawn-mowing man sweating outside  – dam you lawn-mowing man for making me feel guilty!). Yet, there are sometimes when the professional touch is required, something which my experience below demonstrates.

My daughter has attended swimming lessons at the local swimming pool for a number of years. The instructors at the pool are fantastic and overall we are happy with the lessons she receives. Re-booking lessons is another matter altogether and dealing with the office staff to secure a place in the next terms lessons is never a straight forward process.

My wife was delighted then when she was approached by a pool staff member to fill in a self completed questionnaire form on how she finds the customer experience at the pool. She dutifully completed the form with her feedback which was then collected by the pool staff member. What happened next is where it went all horribly wrong.

The pool staff member read through my wife’s feedback and once you had read through the completed survey started viciously interrogating her on why she was not happy with the service from the office staff when re-booking (it so happens that she is a member of the office staff). As you can imagine my wife felt well and truly put on the spot  and stated that she did not wish to discuss her feedback with the staff member.

So, while the idea was sound – surveying your customers really is a good idea. Where the process fell over in this instance was in the execution of the survey. Enabling your customers to give anonymous feedback is really, really important. Feel free to let customers indicate if they would like to discuss any issues further – this is a good idea.

Staff members that have a direct interest in the results of any survey should not be involved in the data collection from customers. The possibility of emotions running strong is just too great a risk and can turn what should be a positive experience for customers into a a rotten one.

Posted in Customer Satisfaction, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

The net result is ideal for market research

August 5th, 2008 by Jared Bothwell

I picked up an this article published in the Sydney Morning Herald which covers off some of the trends identified at a conference on market research in the digital age.

After kicking myself that I was not aware of the conference I read on and the article generally supports all the positive attributes of online surveys that most reseachers are already well aware off.

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