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 SurveyMonkey’s 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 SurveyMonkey’s 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 Google’s 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 SurveyMonkey’s key tactical and strategic functions
Leverage the company’s 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
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
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