Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hard to reach customer groups

I was in an interesting meeting the other day with our new advertising agency. I wasn't supposed to be attending as I wasn't supposed to be at head office and the meeting was only vaguely connected to my work. It was about recruitment but a different project.

As I was at a loose end I popped along, it was a good opportunity to size up the agency contacts on something I didn't necessarily care about.

The interesting thing was that the whole meeting was about how to reach a customer group we don't normally reach. We as an organisation recognised this groups impact on our business and recognised that the way we normally advertise i.e in local media, didn't reach them.

Another good point was that the project team had determined that the best way to determine the key messages for this group was to talk to a focus group of these customers.

After that it went down hill, the group decided that they didn't have the contacts and couldn't afford either the time or money to make the contacts.

The project team then set about assuming what the key messages were and that print media still worked as it did last year with a different customer group.

At this point another colleague pointed out that we had already decided this approach hadn't worked, so why were we resurrecting it, they pretty much got blank looks.

So I weighed in, pointed out it was a different customer group and there was no reason to suggest that approach would work, so why would we waste money.

There was a good ten seconds of blank looks including a staring contest with a senior manager.

You cant win them all ... I am looking forward to the traditional print campaign which achieves nothing not because it was the wrong approach just because the customer group is hard to reach. The really annoying thing is by that time nobody will remember the conversation that the key thing was to talk to the customer group before deciding on the message. My mate Sir Alan would have sacked several of the muppets present in the room.

Is it me or is the first step to talking to your customers actually finding a customer and talking to them.

Seriously, how hard is it?

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