I am not a big fan of surveys, for the following reasons:

  1. Customers don’t want to say what they really feel because it may reveal their deep biases that they are reluctant to share with anyone;
  2. They don’t want to be seen as wrong;
  3. They don’t want to be seen as ill-informed;
  4. Customers don’t want to hurt your feelings;
  5. What customer’s think can change depending upon their emotional state and what else is going on in their lives;
  6. Customer’s don’t really know what they want and change their minds easily;
  7. Customers don’t think about your product like you do, so really cannot offer effective feedback

What I pay attention to is what consumer’s are buying in my category, passive voice research in forums and online groups about products in my category, and whether or not customers are repurchasing my product.  The latter is the biggest indicator for me.

Neuromarketing has recently come on my radar and may offer some very insightful ways to gauge consumer sentiment about what they are seeing, in addition to solving some of the issues I mentioned above associated with surveys.