Monday, June 16, 2008

Survey Says

I participate with a survey company called Zoom Panel. It does online marketing research on behalf of corporate clients. They e-mail you a survey and if you complete it, they give you so many “points” that can be traded in for rewards. I don’t know how many points I have and I have never cashed in my points, but I support the concept. I can do it or not do it, and on my own time. Not over the phone and not on paper, having to mail something back.

As often as not, after three questions or so, the survey says that I am not in the demographic they want to survey. So I collect 5 points and go on my merry way. They average complete survey is about 50 points.

I don’t remember how I first became involved, but I started actively participating after taking that Marketing class in school. Generally, the surveys are about things in the grocery store – yogurt or frozen foods or something. And for those surveys that are prior to product launch, I am required to click on a Non-disclosure agreement.

But just recently I was sent one regarding the financial services industry. I have an awful lot to say about the financial services industry. I pay my bills online. I track my credit cards online. My mortgage, my retirement account, all of my savings I manage online. I am the person that goes out of her way not to talk to a human being in my banking – which is what the banks really want. So when I call, it is because I have a serious problem and I require immediate human intervention.

Now the survey was more “what does this brand mean to you”, rather than any detailed analysis of particular products or services. But they did ask questions about cost vs. loyalty to one institution, which I find fascinating. I once told a bank that they would never have my “primary checking account” business because I have my current account number memorized and I wasn’t about to start over again.

The disappointing part is that I do not have the opportunity to see the full results. I would love to see statistics on cost vs. loyalty (or what may, in my case, just be laziness). How many people even know the difference between WaMu and Wachovia? And how does the mortgage crisis change perceptions? It has knocked on mine a bit.

In the interest of being a more informed consumer, I think I will keep an eye out. Maybe some statistics will leak.

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