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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The survey

I'm sure you get the uninvited inbound calls as often as I experience. Someone representing one agency or organization or another has just a few questions to ask, a survey. My response generally when I am in a good mood (hopefully most of the time) is to courteously but rapidly decline to participate, just as I decline virtually all inbound telemarketing inquiries. (And if I am in a bad mood -- or in the midst of some really critical work, expecting an important call, perhaps, I am downright discourteous -- something I know I should not be.)

Yet surveys are powerful tools in our marketing arsenal, and that is why I have incorporated a one-question survey in this week's Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter and sent the same question to others on our e-list. I did this with some caution -- while an email survey request is less intrusive than a phone call, it still is something of an 'ask' -- and I am always concerned about intruding; of pushing into your space.

But this question is something different and its importance reflects the essential purpose of this blog and newsletter.

Simply thinking about the question -- and your answer -- I think helps move your business forward. You can then see the unaddressed problem; the issue that gives you the most stress; the challenge you see you need to overcome. With a clear , even if you don't have a clear answer, you can begin finding solutions.

And of course, by asking the question, I'll get a much better idea of what is really important to you and then can focus my research and efforts on topics and issues of relevance to your business.
I think you can see how this type of survey question might be relevant in designing your own business marketing strategy. Framing a simple, but effective, question, and then asking current it to current and potential clients will provide you with insights outside your own 'space' and provide you with vital clues about where you should be heading -- or what problems you are encountering.

Surveys, by the way, are easy to conduct online these days. I use some open source software, but there are commercial services available that allow some free usage and then charge modest fees for maintaining and handling the survey data. If you would like the names of these businesses, please feel free to email me at (or post an anonymous comment on this blog.)

I will keep you posted of the results from my survey over the next few days and weeks -- and you will see how the research, framework and questions in this blog evolve from your answers.

Thanks, in advance, for participating.

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