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Case Title:

SurveyMonkey in 2014

Overview of Issue Analysis


Identify issues faced by the decision maker
1. Finley knew the business could be bigger, but recognized the need for a partner to help
take it to the next level
Finley lacked access to capital and a recruiting network
He explored the possibility of selling control of SurveyMonkey
2. Would the platform approach be too meaty to execute well?
3. Would international success require more significant investment than afforded by the
existing high margin business?
4. How should they prioritize SurveyMonkeys avenues for growth so as to best position the
company to achieve its full potential?
The enterprise solution, quality, initiatives, and APIs were all value-generating
efforts that would drive revenue, yet ironically, they had the potential to threaten
the user-friendly, flexible nature of the tool that had been the very foundation of
SurveyMonkeys success

Identify other general issues (eg, competition, IT


alignment, etc).
1. SurveyMonkey had an unconventional way of operating (e.g. marketing the business
through word of mouth and dressing in a gorilla suit)
2. SurveyMonkey competed with numerous other companies
a. Large, full-service providers offered a range of services in both the syndicated
(data that is collected once and then sold/distributed via multiple channels) and
custom data sectors (data commissioned by a single entity to collect data on a
brand, product, behaviour, or industry)
i. Enterprise Feedback Management represented companies who provided
enterprise-wide, multi-channel surveying capability suitable for diverse
departmental needs - the EFM space was highly fragmented
b. Mid-level companies offered survey-based enterprise solutions to generate
employee and customer satisfaction surveys, conduct academic research, and
collect market feedback on consumer products, among other applications
c. Consumers had access to consumer-friendly products where they could conduct
their own surveys (e.g. Google Forms, which was not a complex survey tool but it
had high level of exposure among Googles widespread user base)
3. Individual consumers using the tool independently or within an organization were at a
disadvantage
Could not afford to pay an expensive market research agency to help with
question design
Had difficulty identifying a pool of high quality survey respondents

Comprehensive Case Analysis

Goldberg established a set of immediate priorities to improve the business

Build a small management team to oversee SurveyMonkeys key tactical and


strategic functions

Leverage the companys small but growing global presence by focusing on


localization and international growth

Implement a major technological overhaul on the product by enhancing the


engineering team

Opportunity to unlock massive demand if the tool could be localized to international


audiences
o

Customers were overcoming language and currency barriers to access the tool

Goldberg and his newly hired team pushed to localize the SurveyMonkey website
to support the language and currency of its most prevalent international users
(They started with Dutch)

The team of engineers needed to rebuild the internal billing system to


accommodate multiple pricing tiers later on

Debate occurred over how much to push the annual model since there was no
guarantee that the bump in revenue per user would compensate for the decrease in
volume of monthly members
o

With the belief that these lower-churn members were a better long-term
investment for the company, the team decided to actively target a heavier
distribution of annual users (This strategy only made sense in markets with
higher penetration)

SurveyMonkey increased its capabilities and user base without creating a significant
drain on its technical resources by acquiring Precision Polling in 2010, a company that
developed, designed and implemented all of its surveys via an online interface

Survey questions were also asked in countless different ways, resulting in inconsistent
and often inaccurate answers
o

SurveyMonkeys survey research team researched the methodologically correct


way to write the most common survey questions and offered these questions in a
question bank to facilitate more effective survey design

In February 2013, SurveyMonkey announced the launch of its Developer portal, which
provided access to their Application Programming Interface (API), enabling developers
to integrate survey functionality into their own applications

Though SurveyMonkey had always been sold as an individual solution, it made its way
into businesses large and small - causing it to rethink its approach
o

They always relied on their own customers to act as its salesforce

There were more pushback and increased demands around the products feature
set

Analyze the case data to identify the causes of the


problems or issues

Up until the introduction of the tiered pricing structure, about half of the paying user base
was represented by monthly subscribers
o

They represented an area of high growth, but also high risk due to their rapid
churn rate

Many of these users were students who used the tool for a specific project that
lasted between a month to a semester, at which point they canceled their
membership

More technical needs diverted key resources away from the strategic, but less urgent
initiative to help improve overall survey data quality
o

SurveyMonkey needed to keep the existing tool running while implementing a


complete rewrite of the infrastructure in the background

Matters became more complicated when SurveyMonkey announced two


acquisitions, both of which were in the process of being integrated with the
product platform

While international expansion was a key driver of growth, it was also a highly resource
intensive effort with varying timelines around the return on investment
o

A custom-fit site for all does not work

SurveyMonkey needed to maintain 20 different sites, each with its own language,
currency, and cultural nuances

Alternatives:
1. Focus on solidifying their position in the international markets they have already secured
2. Outsource the maintenance and services of international sites
3. Find a cloud-based translation platform to easily translate their website to different
language

Decision Criteria:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Return on investment
Quality
Company Growth
Cost
Time

Alternative Assessment:
Focus on Currently Acquired

Outsource

Cloud-Based

International Markets

International Sites

Translation Platform

Return on
Investment

High

Medium

High

Quality

High

Low-Medium

High

Company
growth

Moderate

Moderate-High

High

Cost

Moderate

High

Low

Time

High

High than Low

Low

YES

YES

Decision

Recommendation
SurveyMonkey should use a cloud-base translation platform that enables them to reach new
international markets by being able to automatically translate website content. This platform
would automate the process of coding and translating, decreasing the amount of internal
resources needing to deal with language and cultural nuances on their 20 different international
websites. With the cloud-based translation platform, SurveyMonkey will be able to streamline
their entire localization process. SurveyMonkeys web content will be stored on the cloud
platform and then when request, the web content is translated in any chosen language the user
clicks on. There is minimal coding, only translation of content. This centralized cloud platform
will allow managers, developers and the translation provide to increase consistency and speed,
while reducing costs. We also recommend on hiring a company to provide us with the cloudbased translation platform, rather than making one customized. There are companies that offer
translation platforms that are ready to use that fit all the requirements of translating strictly web
content and do not compromise the quality of SurveyMonkeys services.

Implementation
1. Create and get approval of scope statement to determine requirements and scope
2. Research and hire/partner with Company X that is able to provide a cloud-based
translation platform
3. Adopt the cloud-based translation platform that has the capabilities of processing
requirements for Survey Monkey
4. Training on how current process will adopt the new platform
5. Communication between senior management and departments is essential
6. Test the quality of the end product of the cloud-based translation platform
7. Mitigation plan of security, adoption and functionality

Who: SurveyMonkey, and an external company that offers a cloud-based translation platform.
What: SurveyMonkeys Strategy and Website Processes

When: As soon as possible within the 5 year timeframe


Where: In the multiple markets survey monkey has already acquired and potential any other
high demanded marketed they would like to enter
Why: In order to focus on going global, major issues that prevented this were time to code and
launch an international site, complexity with managing 20 sites in different languages, lack of
internal resources, and costs. This will allow Survey monkey decrease the amount of time and
resources used to create coding for languages, decrease internal drain by not having to manage
20 different websites with automated processes, and costs are fair with high return on
investments through increase in web traffic.