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 by a significant amount to acquire new leads and stakeholders.
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 quite 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 stakeholders was perplexing. I knew if we could get to the bottom of it, we could actually *decrease* their marketing and advertising costs.
I expressed this to the Executive Director, and he was enthusiastic about working towards a solution together…
I created a 3-phase project 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 any 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 a series of interviews with stakeholders, and one of the founders. We culled common themes and were able to hone in on key areas that impacted retention. These findings coincided with other research, 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 stakeholder buy-in wasn’t a problem, but retention was. In short, people were buying into something and finding out it wasn’t what they’d expected. This finding in itself was complex and required careful articulation in order to convey it clearly.
The retention of employees was low. 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 remedy – a new employee satisfaction survey. The old one was vague and didn’t provide much insight at all. Ultimately, employees felt prohibited from providing the type of feedback that would elicit positive change. With approval, I researched, rewrote, and submitted a new survey to the Board that not only asked the questions employees were desiring to see, but provided a means of confidentiality as well.
Stakeholder 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 feedback. Part of this came with a recommendation to reinstate an accountability committee that was no longer active.
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. I was able to show how 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.
My work was concluded with the submission of the final findings report to the Board.