polling station
SurveyMonkey unveiled a rebrand and new additions to its survey platform this week PHOTO: RachelH_

If you think that companies use survey data to make decisions, think again.

"We found out that they use data to tap into what people are thinking and to then push their ideas forward (to their colleagues and collaborators)," Bennett Porter, senior vice president, marketing communications, Survey Monkey told CMSWire.

This is one of the "a-ha moments" the management team at the San Mateo, Calif.-based polling provider had when they surveyed its own customers. And it planted to seed for the rebranding and repositioning of the nearly 20-year-old company.

Hearing the Opinions of Those Who Matter

Bennett Porter
Bennett Porter
So instead of looking at SurveyMonkey as a service to help you get the data you need to make decisions, Porter wants you to think of it as the place you go, “to hear the voices and opinions of the people who matter most, in real time, so you can take action.”

"It's a fantastic move," Constellation Research vice president and principal analyst, collaboration, Alan Lepofsky told CMSWire. “Simple forms are becoming commoditized with products such as Microsoft Forms and Google Forms / Docs. The real value is not just in the data, but in the interactions people can have around the data,” he said.

In order to enable that, SurveyMonkey has augmented existing products and created new ones around its new “People Powered Data Platform.”

More specifically:

  • SurveyMonkey CX, the company's new customer experience management product, was built not only for gathering customer insights, but also as a place from which to look at data visually and collaboratively across the enterprise without the need to download data, send an email or otherwise share the information
  • SurveyMonkey Engage, a new employee engagement platform, includes proprietary survey methodology and driver analysis to help companies hear the heartbeat or disconnection of their workforce and to facilitate collaboration on next steps when needed
  • SurveyMonkey Audience, once a standalone offering, is now built into the SurveyMonkey platform. The product, which enables on-demand polling of segmented audiences, in more than 60 markets in over 100 countries, also allows for motivating responders by donating funds to the charities of their choice when they respond
  • SurveyMonkey Genius leverages artificial intelligence to help survey makers craft their polls with the right types of questions and answers. It also advises on an optimal number of questions for a given context (it's not how many questions you ask, but how long it takes to compete the survey that matters, according to Porter)
  • Respondent First, Mobile First Survey Experience, forty percent of the 3 million surveys SurveyMonkey hosts every day are taken on a mobile device. As a result, SurveyMonkey has created a mobile-first survey taking experience which allows for one question per screen and easy scrolling
  • SurveyMonkey Slack and Facebook Messenger Integrations, surveying people where they hangout simply makes sense.
SurveyMonkey new respondent quiz
SurveyMonkey new mobile respondent experience

Analysts React to 'New' SurveyMonkey

Lepofsky noted companies are always looking for ways to improve employee and customer engagement. "Embedding feedback into collaboration tools can empower improvements in everything from HR processes to ecommerce transactions," he said.

Constellation Research vice president and analyst Holger Mueller told CMSWire that he views SurveyMonkey's strategy as something more than a repositioning.

"It's a move from a generic all-purpose tool platform, where the user has to figure out what to do with it, to a purpose- built application," he said, noting that, "this is where unstructured feedback collection makes sense and has great value given that it comes from customers, employees and applicants."

Strategically, "it's probably a good move by them (SurveyMonkey) — as deeper, more functional applications command a better price tag than a generic platform — that in many cases was free," said Mueller.

He cautioned, however, that customers should evaluate the new offerings in detail and determine if the first releases are functionally rich enough to keep up with more experienced vendors in each domain.