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How to Use Feedback for International Market Expansion

How to Use Feedback for International Market Expansion

Instapro Werkspot SurveyMonkey customer spotlightWe love to see businesses pick up the pace, start growing fast, and expand into new markets—especially when they use surveys to get there.

But a transition to new territory can be challenging, particularly when you’re running with a smaller staff.

That’s the point Werkspot hit when it began growing 30% year over year in 2013.

Werkspot operates an online home-improvement marketplace in the Netherlands. When customers need to remodel their house or renovate their bathroom, they can connect with service professionals on Werkspot.

Time to go international – but how can you be sure?

The 70-person company, a subsidiary of, was looking to expand across Europe, starting in Italy. But growing there brought a million questions and challenges. Would there be any appetite for Werkspot’s services in Italy? How would they get a foothold in another country where they have no name recognition? Did they even have the right name?

Martin Jellema runs both sales and marketing for Werkspot, so he didn’t have a lot of time to find out. And while he normally relied on a traditional market research agency to answer these types of questions, he didn’t have an agency that he could use for Italy. That’s when Jellema heard he could use SurveyMonkey Audience to ask real people the questions he needed answered. He had already used SurveyMonkey to get information on customer satisfaction and demographic profiling, so he decided to try SurveyMonkey Audience for market research.

Step off on the right foot – choosing the right name

First, they needed to know whether Werkspot was even the right name to use in Italy. Using an Audience survey, they did linguistic tests on homeowners that compared the name Werkspot to a number of other proposals. Instapro ended up being the winning name and subsequently became Werkspot’s Italian brand name. Afterward, they began doing general market research surveys about the home renovation industry like asking contractors how many jobs they’d completed in the last six months and how many they expected to complete.

The results showed that Italy was a rich market for recruiting home-renovation professionals: 30% of Italian service people posted jobs online, compared to 23% in the Netherlands. Obviously these types of business insights are super helpful for business strategy. But with a little creativity, Jellema was able to use them in a broad range of other areas.

They gathered data comparing home renovation in Italy and the Netherlands that were interesting enough to create effective PR and marketing material to draw attention to their service. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the results gave them confidence for further expanding internationally. “People just tend to postpone jobs around the house,” he said. “It’s a universal behavior.”

Um, we here at SurveyMonkey have no idea what he’s talking about.

Have a story about how your company got big returns from a simple set of surveys? Let us know in the comments below!

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