Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Don't Tell. Ask.

Trying to break in to a new market segment? Wanting to make an impression with an audience that doesn’t know your name (yet)? Conducting a survey is an effective and surprisingly easy way to break through. Collect valuable, relevant data from the group you are trying to reach, and then distribute that data to the participants. You provide value and make your first impression as an industry expert—while your new target audience has an interactive and rewarding experience with your company.

Charlton Consulting Group had a recent success with survey marketing. Charlton is a small company with a big challenge. The firm is a turnkey provider of total compensation statements that show employees the total value of all their benefits, not just salary and wages. The firm had been doing a great job for smaller employers, but wanted to break through to mid-sized and larger companies and compete with the larger HR consulting firms. Charlton surveyed high-level HR executives about their usage, views, and experience with total compensation statements. Working with the Content Factor, they prepared an electronic survey and sent it out to an email list supplied by an HR trade publication. Executive participation in the survey was strong, partly due to the interesting nature of the content, a promise to supply the results and an incentive for $50 Amazon.com gift certificates.

Once survey results were tabulated and analyzed, Charlton distributed a summary report to survey respondents. They also posted the results on their web site and offered it through their print ads. Additionally, they sent out a news release summarizing the findings; and published a bylined article about the study along with a case study illustration in an HR trade publication.

The result? All 128 respondents to the survey requested copies of the survey findings. Therefore, these 128 executives received three “touches” from Charlton (the invitation, the survey, and the findings), and opted-in for future campaigns. The buzz surrounding the survey and its report generated an interview of a Charlton Consulting Group principal for a story about total compensation statements; coverage of the findings by all the major HR trades and some online news sources including Yahoo! Finance; and placement of a bylined article in Benefit & Compensation Solutions Magazine.

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