Manufacturing companies invest heavily in engineering and operations. But when it comes to market research and all things sales and marketing, they get a little skittish. And that means that a lot of times, the customer satisfaction surveys that they ran got low response rates and even worse useful information that the manufacturer could use to make good decisions.
This is unfortunate because many manufacturers have to be ISO 9001 certified and that means having good customer satisfaction data that can be tracked and implemented as well as show improvements in the quality system as evidenced by customer satisfaction scores.
Here is just a short snippet of this well written article -
"Yes, some manufacturing execs do rely on DIY research in an effort to save money; and this method of acquiring critical information can produce disastrous results," according to Cathy Williams-Owen, president and CFO of Port Washington, N.Y.-based Dri Mark Products, Inc., a manufacturer of writing instruments, security marking systems and inks. "It is somewhat like working in a vortex. The information obtained may not produce the valuable insight that, say, a well-formulated focus group can provide. The conclusions that are reached can skew results with the potential for a disastrous outcome."
Manfred Bluemel, Ph.D., at Seattle-based Zeitgeist Research, is a proponent of DIY research tools like Survey Monkey,Survey Analytics and Zoomerang, with a caveat: "They work as long as you have a skilled market researcher who knows what to do with those tools."
"To use DIY market research most effectively, you need to talk to a marketing expert or consultant that understands research or product management and can help you design a good survey — then use the online survey tools that are available to help," Ivana Taylor, publisher of the online resource DIY Marketers, says.
New tools and technology are speeding up the acceptance of DIY research. More customized survey apps are being developed for both Apple's iPad and Google's Android-based tablets that will enable small manufacturers to do their own market research. (For examples, see SurveyAnalytics.com, iSurveySoft.com and SurveyGizmo.com.)