Monday, July 8, 2013

Do Your People Know Why?

Quite often when I'm in discussions with a business, we talk about their customers. After all, external communication is a huge part of marketing. What I'm often astonished by is how in medium to global businesses, internal communication is neglected and causes marketing chaos. Two recent personal examples come to mind...


When I'm busy, I am a fan of having pre-made food delivered to my home. I have the local PizzaHut on speed dial; the delivery guy actually knows my pets' names. He's a nice guy. But  as a former market research professional, I was horrified when he told me that if I gave them all 5's (the highest score) on the satisfaction survey, I would get a free appetizer.
- Severe bias skew - bribery negates the value of the research. How can the individual store be judged on its merits rather than customers' frugality?
- One of the tenets of market research is respondent confidentiality - where is that in this scenario?

Then, a few days ago I stopped in at a Midwestern grocery store chain which has frequent buyer cards. As I was waiting in the check out lane, the cashier asked the lady in front of me if she had her frequent buyer card with her. The lady did not, so the cashier asked a customer in another lane to borrow hers and scanned it.
 - The point of frequent buyer cards is to reward for customers for frequent purchases and to gather customer information on purchase patterns and needs. The cashier contaminated the data for the lady whose card she borrowed. Depending on how frequently this occurs, a good bit of data could be contaminated.
- This could have easily been avoided by simply equipping the cashiers with an override buyer card. It would achieve the same customer satisfaction result without contaminating the data.

I've written before about the importance of sharing marketing initiatives with the whole staff. But that's not the end of the story. If people don't understand WHY certain activities are being done, how can you expect them to be on board? 

To think about...
Does your staff fully understand what is being done to promote the business? More importantly, do they understand why? Are they engaged in how they can help? 

There is no greater asset to a company than a staff who understands it is everyone's job to help the company. 

Update - September 2013 - great article from one of my favorite Social Media engagement thinkers, Cheryl Burgess.  "Does Your Social Employee Know the Why of Your Brand?"