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Customer Stories

How a digital agency transforms companies by letting survey data talk

How a digital agency transforms companies by letting survey data talk

According to Ntara, the decisions are in the data. The Tennessee-based agency, which creates web-based ecosystems for companies like Teradata and TruGreen, believes the value they offer their clients is simple: the truth.

“It’s easy to get attached to a narrative,” says Neil Owen, executive vice president of Ntara. “Historically, story trumps data.”  

Ntara believes the opposite is true. “Data protects the integrity of the project,” says Samara Bolling, vice president of strategic services. “Executives may have an idea of what they want to know about their business, but the data tells us what their customers are really looking for.”

Case in point: one Ntara hotel client believed their customers wouldn’t use credit cards online after hearing that a guest paid for a room with a jar of quarters. Ntara’s findings indicated the opposite—the lack of online payment options was limiting the hotel's revenue potential. “Everyone remembered the quarters story, but the myth didn’t match the data,” says Neil. “And, we were able to dispel that.”

That’s just one example of how Ntara tests their clients' beliefs and assumptions with a relentlessly data-driven approach that works—and translates into a client retention rate of 7 to 8 years; much longer than the industry average.

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"We know that when our client engagements begin with SurveyMonkey, it's going to be a longer-tenured client because everything is going to perform better. Our clients are happier. And they stay longer."


Starting every client engagement with data

Ntara’s projects include massive web deployments, all focused on the goal of digital transformation. Every project starts with a digital strategy, and every decision made for a client is based on the data Ntara collects and analyzes.

“Our ideal client relationship begins with primary research, including surveys,” says Samara. “Everything we do—from UX to copy, content strategy, messaging, to the way we build the site—is based on data.”

The company uses SurveyMonkey Enterprise to gather customer and market data at the beginning of most projects. Collected data becomes the basis for hypothesis testing. Says Samara, “We ask, what do you think you know about your customers, and what can we help prove or disprove?”

For example, Ntara set out to test a client’s hypothesis that long-term customers generated the most revenue. They created a survey that uncovered the attributes of their most valuable customers—which had nothing to do with longevity. The collected data helped Ntara design and build a website that included the things customers really value—like product information, photos, and configuration—which provided a quick lift in online revenues.

“We’re always pleasantly surprised when we prove our hypotheses wrong with data because we know we can trust it,” said Samara.

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"…ultimately, everything we do is about people. And, every time we interact with people, we use SurveyMonkey to do it."


Integrating data from multiple sources

Ntara collects data from a variety of sources to get a holistic view of their clients’ business and customers. Analyzing this data is critical—but used to be a painful process.  

“We used to link data sets across tools using Excel spreadsheets and would end up with this massive data table,” says Neil. “We'd have to bring it into another tool to break it down.”

The agency now uses SurveyMonkey Enterprise with Tableau to tie data sets together and better visualize insights. “In Enterprise, each response gets a respondent variable ID that we intersect with our customer ID numbers to further segment data,” says Neil.

“We can easily collect and organize our data using Enterprise, and derive actionable insights using Tableau’s reporting features and dashboard functionality,” he continues. “The marriage of these two platforms increases our team’s efficiency and ability to collaborate, and that provides real-time value to our agency and in turn, our clients.”

There were several other reasons the company upgraded to SurveyMonkey Enterprise. “The HIPAA compliance feature is important for our healthcare clients,” says Neil. “And, integrations and APIs make it much easier for our team to manipulate and extract data for reporting and further segmentation in our current systems of record.”

All teams at Ntara rely on SurveyMonkey’s ease of use and integrations to help them on a daily basis. “The fact that you have a tool that both our analysts and marketing teams can use with ease is wonderful,” says Samara. “Even novice users can go in and really understand what's going on.”

DIY research, fast

Ntara uses SurveyMonkey Audience panels to test outside their clients' database parameters, or when they need a fast response.

“The thing we love about Audience is the speed to results,” says Neil. “Instead of mailing to a list of 100,000 and waiting weeks, we can get a couple of thousand responses in just days.”

The company also likes the objectivity of Audience. “I always ask my clients—is your customer list really representative of the population at large?” asks Neil. “We want to make sure there’s a high confidence level in everything we do, otherwise, the research isn’t worth anything, right?”

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"The thing we love about Audience is the speed to results. Instead of mailing to a list of 100,000 and waiting weeks, we can get a couple of thousand responses in just days."


The end game: digital transformation through data

Ntara believes that accurate data collection and analysis is the key to their success. “We have better results when we base our decisions on data,” says Samara. “Our websites and marketing campaigns perform better because we’re not making assumptions. We're asking audiences what they care about.”

“We know that when our client engagements begin with SurveyMonkey, it's going to be a longer-tenured client because everything is going to perform better,” continues Samara. “Our clients are happier. And they stay longer.”

“We have programmers, we have designers, we have marketing people, and we have technology and tools that we use to get to data,” says Neil. “But ultimately, everything we do is about people. And, every time we interact with people, we use SurveyMonkey to do it.”