All marketing and PR pros should love a good survey. They help us understand the wants and needs of customers and employees and better yet – they create lots of wonderful numbers we can use to create the charts and bar graphs that resonate with the decision-markers in the C-suite. I have a nerdy obsession with surveys and I particularly like Survey Monkey for its ease of use and affordability. I’ve used Survey Monkey with great success on a wide range of projects. Here are just a few:

Mergers & Acquisitions

Shortly after you announce that you are merging with or acquiring a new company, one of the first things you can do is anonymously survey the new employees to determine their perceptions of your firm and solicit their feedback on where the company should go from here. This immediately tells these new employees that you are listening and that their opinion matters. A survey can immediately generate goodwill and calm the frayed nerves of employees worried about the future.

Publicity Hook

With the right survey and the right audience, you can create a newsworthy story based on a simple question or two. Years ago, the PR agency I worked with interviewed parents at a Kids’ Expo on what the Tooth Fairy gave for a lost tooth today and what they received as a child. This data led us to conclude that the Tooth Fairy was not keeping up with inflation! Some simple graphics and an economists’ analysis later and we had a successful story that garnered a great deal of media coverage.

Customer Feedback

Developing marketing strategies without customer feedback is like going through a maze with your eyes closed. You may eventually find your way out, but you may just end up right back where you started. Survey your customers. Find out what they like and they don’t like and ask questions about the entire discovery and purchase process. Then use this information to create effective campaigns that boost sales.

Employee Morale

Employees are always happiest and most productive when they feel they have a voice at the workplace. Plan to survey your employees annually to gauge opinions on a wide range of topics. But if you’re going to survey them, you must plan to share the results of the survey and how their feedback is going to influence positive change.

Issues Management

Today’s opposition groups are very savvy in their ability to stir up neighbors and the media against a business or industry that may wish to locate in your community. Companies under attack often combat this through a community relations/public relations campaign to educate residents about the firm’s true impact. A survey of community members and their perceptions of the issue can be an effective first step to identify the scope of the concern and this data can go a long way in crafting the story for neighbors, the media and elected officials.