Back to the Basics: Survey Marketing Terms

Back to the Basics: Survey Marketing Terms

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Terms and definitions to help you better understand survey marketing and how to improve results.

Customer Survey

Designed specifically to garner feedback on your products and services, customer surveys are an amazing way to collect critical data. Through understanding the customer's experience with your company, you are in a better position to serve not only them better, but future customers.

Marketing Survey

Targeted at a specific audience or demographic, marketing surveys allow you to understand what potential customers are looking for. This more generalized survey allows you to determine what these potential customers are looking for, what their needs are and whether you're in a position to serve them.

Leading Questions

These types of questions are awful and may skew your results. Leading questions ask your customers to make an objective comment on a subjective statement.

For example, a leading question is "What was your experience with our award-winning sales team?"

Bottom line is that for an effective survey question avoid adjectives and remain unbiased.

Open Questions

Open questions lead to open and honest answers, and are incredibly basic. Fundamentally, you want to receive honest answers from your survey rather than have your customers pat you on the back.

Taking the example from above, an open question is "How would you rank our sales team?"

Generic, basic and right to the point.

Multiple Choice Questions

Just like in high school, a multiple choice format for surveys are a quick and easy way to gather intelligence. Never offer more than four questions at a time, but always include an option for "Not Applicable" or N/A.

Yes or No Questions

There isn't much room for discovery with a Yes or No question, but it is an incredibly reliable way to check the pulse of your customer or market.

Some applications of a yes or no question includes:

  • Would you recommend our product/service?
  • Would you use our product/service again?
  • Did you receive our product/service in a timely manner?

Ranking Questions

Possibly the most universally applied form of survey questions; ranking captures exactly what your customer or market thinks and feels about you. Typically, rankings range from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, and always include an N/A option.

Using ranking questions, especially the 1 to 10 range pinpoints where your customers were pleased or dissatisfied.

Again, using the sales team example, the question of "How would you rank our sales team?" includes a range of 1 (awful) to 10 (outstanding).


It is a best practice to include a portion at the end of your survey for customers to provide additional feedback on your product or service.

Perhaps there was an aspect of their experience that wasn't covered through your questions or perhaps the customer wanted to thoroughly explain a ranking.

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