Apex Scoring System vs. Academic Literature: How Do They Compare?

In a world full of high-tech solutions to ever-more sophisticated marketing challenges, it’s amazing that the simple survey remains the premier tool for measuring customer engagement. But as any good digital marketer knows, the surveys themselves, as well as our understanding of customer research and consumer behavior, have become considerably more complex in an age when people can navigate through hundreds of vendors and storefronts with the tap of a finger. 

Understanding what makes your audience engage and take actions with your business matters more than ever in such a crowded marketplace. With so much competition for limited attention, savvy brands understand the importance of customer engagement to build brand loyalty and drive sales. Measuring that engagement, however, can be expensive, time consuming and, if done incorrectly, yield inconclusive data. That’s why we developed the Apex Scoring System, an efficient, user-friendly tool that measures the quality of your customer engagement in just 16 questions.  

Why Customer Engagement Matters

At its core, customer engagement is about interacting with consumers across multiple platforms in order to build a relationship, create brand loyalty and inspire trust. The more high-quality experiences your brand provides the customer, the greater your perceived value as compared to a competitor. Equally important, customer interactions provide you with insights that can inform your marketing strategy and sales process. 

For example, a marketing director might leverage customer experience data to identify the key junctures for consumers in their purchase journey and insert high-value touch-points. A sales executive, in turn, might review the same data to develop content tailored to specific market segments for use at each of the marketing director’s suggested touch-points. Our research has shown that effective analysis of customer engagement data leads to big returns for your bottom line: engaged Facebook and Twitter users click on nine times as many ads and spend up to 76 times more money than non-engaged users. 

Whether you’re refining your sales funnel or tweaking your brand identity, you’ll need to begin with consumer research that collects the data you need. Traditionally, brands have turned to surveys to enhance their understanding of what customers value and how to improve their experience.  After all, who better to explain what the customer wants than the customer? Unfortunately, persuading purchasers to part with this information can prove challenging - surveys can feel like a nuisance to harried buyers, particularly those who’ve just completed a lengthy check-out process or have multiple errands to run. 

A traditional survey based on key drivers identified in academic literature might contain as many as 57 questions and require up to six minutes to complete. The Apex Scoring System, by contrast, contains only 16 questions and can be completed in under two minutes, yet provides insights just as accurate as a more lengthy, literature-based survey. (91% as accurate, to be precise.) 

Designing the Apex Scoring System

How did we design such an effective consumer research tool? By laser-focusing on only the most important drivers of customer engagement and asking the right questions to collect only the most useful data. We pack a lot of punch into our 16 questions in order to measure brand advocacy - the most reliable indicator of actual customer engagement.

First, we reviewed the existing academic literature on customer engagement to identify key drivers according to empirical research. That’s over 800 peer-reviewed articles digested and extracted by two business PhDs - we were thorough! Based on those findings, we compiled a ‘typical’ customer engagement survey similar to commonly used tools. 

To see how the Apex Scoring System stacked up against a more traditional survey, we fielded both to focus groups of consumers and compared the results. We chose to analyze consumer behavior for four different products: two social media platforms, a local shopping center and a grocery store. In addition to brand advocacy, we also assessed different types of typical consumer behaviors, such as purchasing amounts and ad clicks. In all, we collected data from 604 individuals, 54% of whom identified as women, 74% of whom identified as white. 

To analyze the data, we performed two sets of regression analyses (basically that means we did a lot of math to learn which of the questions our focus group encountered had the most impact on accuracy, and how different kinds of questions may have impacted one another.)

What We Learned

Based on our analysis, the Apex Scoring System alone explains 69% of the variance in consumer engagement.  A combination of the Apex Scoring System and traditional market research questions can account for 75%, but requires more investment from each survey participant, which means a higher likelihood of opt-outs. 

More significantly, we found that the Apex Scoring System proved 91% as effective in explaining customer engagement as the leading academic literature. In practical terms, that means the Apex Scoring System provides results on par with much more cumbersome survey tools that place high time demands on respondents. 

What Can the Apex Scoring System Do For My Business?

No matter where you are in your customer engagement journey, the Apex Scoring System presents a unique opportunity to focus and refine your strategy. Our targeted questions focus specifically on the more important indicator of brand loyalty: brand advocacy, and help you understand your customer’s evolving perception of your brand to better meet their needs. 

If you’re already using a tool such as Net Promoter Score, Apex Scoring Systems provide insight into the ‘why’ behind your trackable numbers to help you understand what’s driving changes in customer perception.  Integrating Apex Scoring Systems into your existing market research adds an extra dimension to your data by explaining why customers behave the way that they do. 

Likewise, if you’ve got a custom-made customer engagement survey that works for you and your audience, the Apex Scoring System questions can integrate into it seamlessly. We like to play well with others! We’ll even work with you to design the ideal survey and manage programming and hosting where needed. 

The Bottom Line

As compared to surveys or questionnaires based on academic literature, the Apex Scoring System provides similarly accurate results in a fraction of the time. Our 16 targeted questions focus on the most important driver of customer engagement: brand loyalty, which means you learn more about what truly moves your customers and why. If you’re not yet measuring customer engagement, the Apex Scoring System is a great first step. If you’re already tracking engagement, our system integrates with existing metrics to give you an extra layer of insight. 

If you'd like to understand what your customers really think about you and learn how to use the insights to improve your CX, schedule an info session or complete our form below to get started.