I’m not talking about things like family, health, and income. I’m talking about other quality of life issues.
Think about your customers for a moment. Do they care about local history? Land preservation? Outdoor activities? Art? Music? Drama? Literature? A particular cultural organization? A preservation project?
Imagine having this conversation with your customers, and how you could use the information to your mutual advantage. The message to convey is that as you make decisions about where to spend your marketing, PR, and community outreach dollars this year, you’d like to steer those funds toward what your customers care about.
• Conduct a survey at your place of business and online through a service like Survey Monkey. You'll want to provide some direction in the survey, but not so much that you are steering the conversation.
• Have your customer service representatives engage people in informal conversations.
• Post signs at your place of business that say something like, “We’d like to know what you care about, because we’d like to help.”
• Publish ads in the outlets you normally use announcing the survey and its purpose.
• Offer an incentive (raffle prize?) for people who complete the survey.
Once you’ve collected the data, decide how you will follow through. In a press release, report your survey findings and your decisions – if the timing is appropriate. You want to “say something” about your intention to follow through, but you also don’t want to make claims in public that impact others or that you can’t follow through on.
You could, simply, write something like, “We asked our customers what they cared about, and here’s what they told us. We look forward to supporting their interests. Stay tuned for future announcements!”
Make the survey results available at your place of business and on your website. People enjoy “seeing themselves.”
The results of this initiative?
• You will have real information on which to base your marketing decisions because you’ve removed the guesswork.
• You will be a hero to your customers as you begin to direct your dollars toward their causes.
• You will form mutually strategic partnerships in the communities you serve, because you will establish win-win relationships with artists, cultural organizations, projects, etc.
• You will create a series of newsworthy stories every time you make a “we support what our customers care about” decision.
This idea should really work for you – and for a very small investment on your part!
2012 © Bonnie Hurd Smith