When you think of surveys, your mind probably jumps to gathering customer feedback, but some companies use them to engage with customers in unique ways.
The advantage of customer surveys is that the collected data can be used to improve a company in secret. These companies listed below forgo secrecy and instead use gathered results as marketing.
Some businesses polled their fans to let them choose what new flavor of chips to roll out next. Some advertised how superior a company’s product is against a competitor's. Everyone loves reading the results and data of a survey, even though a majority don’t like taking them. (Unless you give a reward!)
Here’s a list of some of the more creative uses of advertising:
The Pepsi Challenge
This is one of the oldest and well-known marketing campaigns around. Pepsi, being the underdog in the Cola market, decided they had a better product than Coca-Cola and conducted a massive blind taste test.
At grocery stores, malls and other shopping centers, a Pepsi representative would pour Coca-Cola and Pepsi into unmarked containers and let potential customers try it for themselves. Lucky for Pepsi, the results leaned towards Pepsi as the preferred cola.
Now they should solve another argument many of us have: Diet Pepsi vs Diet Coke!
Effects: This marketing survey stood out because most of America was able to participate in it and see the results for themselves. It started in 1975 and ran until 2010, giving Americans ample time to find out their favorite cola themselves.
Lay’s Do Us a Flavor
Since 2013, potato chip fans have been able to vote on what flavor of Lay’s the company should roll out next. Users submit their ideas and, using the magic of food science, Frito-Lays would pick four out of the thousands of absurdly suggested flavors and turn them into actual chips to be sold.
This resulted in insane flavors over the years such as chicken and waffles (Yes!), cappuccino (Eh?), New York Ruben (Yuck) and west coast truffle fries (ok?) all being sold throughout America. Then Lay’s customers would vote on their favorite of the four products and the winner would continue to be sold while the rest would eventually be phased out.
Each of the top flavors was accompanied by the person who submitted that flavor. This was a genuine incentive to think up and submit a great flavor for those looking to get their name on a bag of chips.
Effects: Customers felt a sense of ownership when their particular favorite chip would go on to win or lose. It let the customer feel like they have a say in the company, which fostered brand loyalty.
Burger King’s Fry Challenge
This is similar to the Pepsi challenge, but a little bit different. Back in 1998, Burger King created its own taste test challenge by putting their new and improved french fry recipe up against McDonald’s fries.
Back then McDonald’s claimed it was “America’s Favorite French Fry,” according to the volume of fries sold. Burger King had the guts to try and run a survey to dethrone this claim by using America’s taste buds.
Lucky for Burger King, the new recipe was a hit as they won the nationwide survey 57%-35%. Burger King then went on to run an ad which read, “If McDonald's makes 'America's Favorite Fries,' how come our fries beat them in a taste test?”
Effects: Burger King can advertise their fries are superior and have the benefit of backing it up with hard data. Burger King also gave free fries out when it was running the survey, which is a clear benefit for customers.
The famous television singing competition was all about audience input. Viewers would tune into the final episodes of each season and send text messages voting for their favorite singers.
Judges were present to keep the flow of the show going, but the final winner was always chosen by audience vote. The winner would receive a record deal and of course tons of publicity by being on national TV.
Effects: The benefit of an audience survey is a higher chance the winning singers will go off and be successful because their likeability is already proven.
What can we take away from this?
A majority of these examples show that the customers want to be engaged with the business. They enjoy being allowed in on the collaboration with a product. It’s not just advertising for the sake of advertising, it allowed the customer to feel like they had a helping hand in the company’s decision-making.
Another point to note is that all of these surveys are only one question long. The shorter the survey, the more likely participants will finish it. Regardless of the benefit to the customer, you’re still asking them to take time out of their day to help you.
Remember to keep your surveys brief and customer benefits high. For other survey creation tips, be sure to check out our E-Book on the best survey questions for all businesses.