Can I ask survey questions about Quora

9 surprising sources for maintaining customer data

Any marketing strategy should be driven by data laser painting your ideal audience to ensure that each campaign hits its target. Data is critical to defining your target audience and supporting your content creation efforts.

Unfortunately, many marketers tend to limit themselves to their own experiences. If you're not familiar with sourcing and maintaining detailed customer data for your industry, creating engaging content and campaigns is an uphill battle. Assumptions can only get you so far, but using tools and resources to gather customer and industry data can help you get there with any campaign.

In this article, I've listed nine resources that you may not have considered for maintaining this data for laser-focused campaigns.

1. Quora

If you're familiar with Quora, you know that many of the questions that come up may have little to do with your industry. When you come across trivial questions like "Why are firefighters sexy?" (because we are) and "Why does dog fur smell bad when it's wet?" (Yeast and microorganisms are released on contact with water) you will find ways to collect data and refine your target group.

Quora is helpful for creating questions that can dig deep into the details of specific audience segments for your campaigns. This platform offers insights into what motivates them, what interests them, and how they are reacting to a content campaign that you are currently planning.

Example: An entrepreneur who runs an online fitness shop that sells nutritional supplements and shake mixes can use Quora to collect additional details on customer preferences to guide their next content campaign. Some questions you might ask are:

  • Do you prefer pre- or post-workout protein shakes and why?
  • What do you look for when comparing protein shakes?
  • Do you prefer multivitamins, energy shakes, or both?

With a little brainstorming and planning, you can get great insights and collect valuable data from your target audience on Quora.

2. Mechanical Turk

Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform offers direct access to a massive on-demand workforce. While it's task-based, it's also a great way to collect customer data, especially for B2B. Most of the work on Mechanical Turk is based on simple and repetitive tasks, but can still be used to obtain and retrieve data.

This can be an inexpensive way to research the user experience around your website, funnel, or SaaS product. On-demand workforce screen sharing provides great insight into an average person's navigation through your funnel or through the onboarding process of a SaaS offering.

3. Google Consumer Surveys

Surveys can be effective for cultivating data from your current audience. However, you're limited to the answers you get and the way the information is presented. For the most part, you need to decipher the intent of the answers and measure how the answers themselves correlate.

With Google Consumer Surveys, there are a few additional benefits beyond getting answers to burning questions. First, responses are provided in exchange for access. For a marketer, you can set up access to premium content offerings or other products. That makes Google surveys not only sources of data, but also potential sources of leads.

Once you have collected the results of a survey, you can divide the data into categories. You can also view demographic information and respondents' location based on their IP address. This is a fantastic way to see how audience behavior differs based on regional and cultural influences.

Most importantly, you don't just interview the customers for whom you have contact information. Your survey questions will be published on the Google News, Entertainment, and Reference Pages network once you've selected an audience area.

This means that you get real people from your audience all over the world providing data in real time.

4. Insights into social media

If you ignore your Facebook and Twitter insights, you are missing out on some great information. Facebook has one of the largest consumer records available, and your audience's demographics, interests, and habits are just waiting to be verified.

If you have a Facebook Page that has regular followers interacting with you, just hit the Insights tab. Navigate to "People" in the menu on the left. These insights show you primary demographic information, including age groups, geographic data, and the number of people reached in those regions.

Navigating to Posts will show you peak engagement times when your audience is most active. This information can be used to drive advertising and distribution for any content campaigns you have put together

5. Historical customer service records

Customer service platforms that store customer cases (e.g. Zendesk or are perfect sources for customer data. Spending time reviewing previous cases may expose common return issues making your customers unhappy, common solutions that are most effective, tolerance limits on response times, and much more.

You can also set up this system to become a future data warehouse. Instruct your customer service team to include key questions in cases that can be recorded for later review. This can include questions related to product feedback, why they originally made a purchase, and whether they include you on social media (why or why not), etc.

6. References

How often do you review the referral sources of the leads that go into your funnel? Your sales team should record this information with each new interaction, and your analysis can cover sources of recommendation on the web for inbound digital leads.

Review these referral sources, especially those that keep bringing new leads to you. If it's not a source you discovered through a marketing campaign, read it to learn more about your audience. Why they are at that particular source of recommendation, what attracts them, how it fits into their personal or professional life and more.

7. Social engagement

If you pay attention and post the right types of posts, you can learn a lot about your audience's tastes and preferences by combining content with other data you've gathered from surveys and authoritative industry sources.

For example, with information on the percentage of consumers who prefer trucks, a dealer might write a post titled “68% of you are in love with the American pickup,” followed by a picture of the latest truck model on the property. You can learn a lot about your followers in the feedback loop you create with customer data.

8. Reddit

I love Reddit for the variety of information, people, and data that can be pulled from it. The Datasets subreddit is an enormous collection of expert nominated datasets on a wide variety of topics. You can also request datasets to see if someone knows a resource or direct you to an existing dataset.

Click the Hot tab to find the top rated and most useful datasets relevant to your industry.

9. Pew Research Center

While reading content online, you have likely come across references to the Pew Research Center. Have you ever thought about searching through the records to find relevant customer and industry data at the source? Pew has a treasure trove of consumer behavior data, as well as survey data on health, income, social media, and more.

It can be an extremely useful resource if you are looking for more macro-level audience information than segments of micro-audiences.


I know many marketers prefer to engage directly through interviews and surveys to gather relevant data for creating and refining their audiences. However, you shouldn't feel like you are limited to direct means of communication with your audience. When you're running out of data and need to focus on your audience's background for upcoming campaigns, consider these sources to accurately maintain consumer information.

Do you have unusual resources for maintaining customer data?Let me know in the comments below:

Featured image: Pexels

All screenshots by Aaron Agius. September 2016