Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Check all that apply.

I get a lot of junk that seems to find a way through my spam filter, many of them are surveys. They come in the mail also; surveys from people I have usually done business with, but not always. What I find irritating about most surveys is that they expect you to fill them out for free.

Think about this concept for a moment – somebody wants something from you: Information. They apparently find this information useful and, most importantly, valuable… but they want it for free. Yet were I to ask to use or consume one of their products and services for free, they would naturally be quite indignant. People expect payment for an exchange of goods or services. Yet, here they are, asking me to take my valuable time and knowledge and give it to them for nothing. My question is: What’s in it for me?

Now some companies (rarely) will offer you some compensation for completing their survey. Ok, now we have a mutually beneficial relationship; I give you something, you give me something else in return. I received a coupon for a free meal from a restaurant for completing their online survey. Nice! Occasionally we have even been paid cash for completing surveys.

I conclude that marketing people in most companies are clearly greatly estranged from the people they are marketing to. Why else would they think that their product is so compelling that their customers are just dying to fill out paperwork to reinforce that belief?

Here’s my hard and fast rule to all you marketing types out there: You want me to fill out your survey -- Fine; make it worth my while. Otherwise, expect it to suffer the [delete] key or get dropped into the recycling bin directly from the mailbox. You don’t work for free; well neither do I.


Rachel Noy said...

I have the opposite problem, my spam keeps trying to give me stuff, like viagra and a penis.

kara said...

sometimes i like surveys. i have no idea why, they really are a time suck. but i filled one out the other day and it took twice as long as i thought it would and i didn't even get mad about it. maybe that's just how much i needed a break from working.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Rachel: If I didn't know it was fake, I would take the Viagra offer, I already have one of those other thingies.

Yeah, I used to like filling in "o"s with a pencil.