Note: This project was for an organization with a strong local / state reputation, and high national standing. If you’d like more information, please contact me.
I was recruited by an Executive Director of an organization to advise their marketing department. They had recently increased advertising to acquire new leads and customers.
At one point during the following process, I was offered to lead the department permanently, however I declined out of preference for maintaining my own business.
The organization had recently worked with a videographer to create several promotional videos to attract new leads. I was asked to review them, (as well as a major piece of printed collateral), and provide insight into what could be improved upon.
The videos were too long for cold traffic in their market. My recommendation was to compile a single 45-60 second video that would provide a hook, and incentive for viewers to watch the longer videos.
However… that recommendation came with a caveat.
Right away, I noticed a disconnect. They had more than enough leads; the problem wasn’t buy-in, it was retention.
Why they were losing customers was perplexing. I knew if we could get to the bottom of it, we could decrease their marketing expenditures.
(My opinion was why spend money trying to get new customers, when you could keep the ones you had?)
I expressed this to the Executive Director, and he was enthusiastic about working towards a solution together…
I created a 3-phase proposal to get to the root issues and propose solutions. These phases focused on Discovery & Research, Presentation of Findings, and Proposed Solutions. The findings would serve as a means to provide key insights to the board, should there be issues that required voting. With the approval of the Executive Director (and informally of the Board, since formal approval wasn’t needed), I moved forward.
I worked with a partner to conduct research for the first phase. This involved interviews with customers, staff, administration, and one of the original founders. We culled common themes and were able to hone in on key areas that impacted customer retention. These findings coincided with other research I did, which entailed reviewing satisfaction surveys, investigating their exit interview process, and reading materials related to their competition, message, market, common problems, and more.
Core Issues / Top Findings:
While the mission and vision had not technically changed, the expression of it HAD. This explained why customer buy-in wasn’t a problem, but retention was. In short, customers and employees both were buying into something and realizing it wasn’t what they’d expected. This finding in itself was complex and required careful articulation in order to convey it clearly. I presented the evidence, and was pleased to find that the Board agreed this was a problem.
The retention of employees was low, and impacted customer satisfaction. There was a noticeable trend in a few key areas, one of which was frustration over increased tasks without increased pay. While this presented a problem that would need to be internally addressed, I discovered a pain point I could easily remedy – a new employee satisfaction survey. The old one was vague and didn’t provide much insight at all. Ultimately this prevented them from providing the type of feedback that would elicit positive change. With approval, I rewrote and submitted the surveys to the Board.
Customer satisfaction was greatly impacted by the above items, but there were other contributing factors as well. I distilled these to primary issues (leaving out minor complaints), and suggested a plan for improving how they acquired customer feedback.
Other Issues that Needed Correcting:
The marketing department had changed leadership a few times, resulting in a lack of confidence in how to operate. I provided an outline of a department with 1 lead, 2 directors, and 3-4 team members. Roles and high-level tasks were provided, as well as an interim plan to put into place right away.
The organization, which was branded under two different names, needed to be consolidated under one. The dual identities had created confusion, even within the local community. The issue and recommendation were presented to the Board, voted on, and the consolidation was made.