In a recent Sunday edition of The New York Times was a full page ad for Target, asking this simple question:
Tell us what more we can do for you.
Customers are encouraged to send Target an email, and they'll receive a timely response.
Does it get any more simple than this? A basic question about how an already successful retailing giant can improve the customer experience. As we have learned over the years with our own database survey work, research is marketing. The very act of asking for a consumer opinion is almost always perceived as a positive.
And this type of consumer campaign can help expand Target's reach, while converting fans to evangelists. At Jacobs Media, we regularly utilize the Net Promoter scaling into nearly all the research studies that we conduct - especially the fan-based web polls. In a very simple question, it identifies "promoters" - those who will willingly sing a product's praises to others, while recommending it to them. The Target ad can accomplish the same thing, while strengthening the bond with current customers.
Oftentimes, stations ask us how they can expand their databases - without marketing or contest dollars. But if you think about it, the types of listeners who sign up for your email club based on the bribe of winning something are likely to be very different from those who join up because they are interested in helping you make a better product.
A simple campaign - like Target's - run on both your website and backed up on your own air - could be just the cume/fan/database burst you need. But be prepared to follow up your initiative with valid, timely, and meaningful responses. And be prepared to serve up some solutions. My bet - based on moderating hundreds and hundreds of Listener Advisory Board groups over the years - is that you'd actually come away with some good ideas. You can bet that before Target crafted their campaign, they made sure they had a back end in place, to ensure that suggestions would be properly handled and responded to. And some of the best will more than likely be put into action.
Maybe this is another reason why K-Mart and other retailers are no longer in the same league as Target. Connecting with consumers, especially during a time when companies and institutions are being questioned on a daily basis isn't just smart - it's good business.