Although far from new, polls are a greater part of the American fabric than ever before. Consumers have become more comfortable with polls conducted via e-mail, on Web sites and via text messages (as much as I loathe the show, two quick words come to mind here: “American Idol”). In fact, it’s pretty rare these days when we’re not subjected to some sort of poll at least once a week, sometimes even once a day.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Polls aren’t like those delightful 6:30 p.m. telemarketing calls we often have to answer with a mouthful of pasta. They’re there; you can take part, or just ignore them, but they’re hardly shoved in your face or in the way of something else you’re trying to see or do. (Granted, sometimes telemarketing calls are pollsters — but that’s not what I’m getting at here.)
We’re no exception. On the CatalogSuccess.com Web site, we’ve upped the frequency of our reader poll to once a week to coincide with the weekly distribution of our other e-newsletter, Catalog Success Idea Factory. It’s helped us — more importantly, you — gain a better idea of what your peers are doing, how they’re handling adversity, such as the postage increase, how their mailing and marketing plans are changing, and so forth. So I encourage you to keep casting your vote each week, then view the results.
Why Just the Media?
But who says polls have to be confined to the media? Considering how expensive consumer research can be, what about polling your customers? You could have order-takers ask a poll question quickly after taking an order, or you could post a poll question on your Web site. You may not be as successful, but you could even stick a poll question on one of your opening pages and encourage customers to go to your Web site to respond.