Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.
-John Wanamaker, advertising and marketing pioneer
This quote gets dropped around marketing circles all the time. Wanamaker lived back in the nineteenth century when determining which HALF of your marketing was wasted was a difficult proposition.
So, how has Wanamaker’s quote remained relevant 100 years later? Because advertising has always lacked one essential thing: feedback systems
The feedback systems available to marketers at that time were slow and inaccurate. And the ones that did exist were often ignored by marketers. Why? Because they thought “Getting your name out there” was more important than testing and tracking.
And the situation hasn’t improved much since Wanamaker’s day. Many marketers still refuse to build one of the most powerful feedback mechanisms into their sales funnels: surveys.

Surveys Help Build Marketing into Your Product

DropBox owes much of its early growth to surveys. They asked “How disappointed would you be if Dropbox went away today?” Forty percent of the respondents said they would be EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED indicating they had a very loyal user base. This lead them to create one of the most successful SAAS (software as a service) referral systems to date.  
At the time, Dropbox was leasing AWS (Amazon Web Services) for their cloud storage service and they had a ton of excess space. So by creating a referral program that rewarded their users by increasing their storage space, both Dropbox and their customers got what they wanted: 
– Dropbox users quickly took advantage of the referral program  when they referred Dropbox to their friends to get up to 16 GBs of storage.
– Dropbox grew its user base utilizing their excess storage space within AWS; it didn’t cost Dropbox anything extra.
As a result of the program, Dropbox’s customer’s LTV (lifetime value) substantially increased and their CPA (cost per acquisition) went down. This opened up many new advertising channels for Dropbox which put them on the fast-track to dominate their industry.
And it all started with a survey.

It’s All About Creating Feedback Loops

Surveys are one of the simplest but most profound feedback mechanisms available to you as a marketer. Savvy marketers SHOULD ALWAYS gauge their clients’ satisfactions and dissatisfactions with their product or service.
Do they love it? If not, what don’t they love? What would they change so that they will love it? And once we get them to love it, how do we get them to refer others?
Yes, many of these questions are basic but I find the majority of marketers commit the sin of thinking they know their audiences inside and out. You may know your audiences better than anyone else in your company, but your audiences’ likes and dislikes are a fickle thing changing all the time. So, surveys are a great way of aggregating real-time data to optimize your customer’s experience. You also minimize the steps your potential customers take to discover your product’s aha moment.
Have you had success utilizing surveys? I’d love to hear a few questions you use to illicit responses!
As we’ve helped startups and small businesses gain product market fit and scale growth hacking protocols, we’ve used four to five different surveying tools. All of them have pro’s and con’s but for my money, Typeform is hard to beat (partly because it’s awesome and free). By the way, we’re not compensated by them in any way, this is a true recommendation!