LinkedIn enables you to poll end-user groups on any topic you would like to gather feedback upon. Polls could be used to gauge attitudes and perspectives about current topics. For example: Do you expect your IT budget for 2010 to be more, less or the same as the funding you received in 2009? Polls could also be used to create a buzz on a new idea that you are trying to introduce. For example, ask a provocative question that leads the reader to seek out more information: Do you think ERP applications will add social networking features for the end-users?
Perhaps, the most impactful use of polls is for primary market research purposes to gather feedback on a new product offering. LinkedIn’s pricing model for polling is a clear recognition of the long term potential of conducting market research on its site. The initial model is that polls can be conducted with first degree contacts for free. Polls to a broader audience are available for a $50 fee or as part of LinkedIn’s packaged premium offerings. LinkedIn has the potential to make polling a highly targeted, well-known group of customers as easy as sending an e-mail. Market research firms should be concerned about the level of empowerment available to corporate marketing organizations through this new application.