May 9, 2018
It is quite easy to imagine we know why people choose to be our customers. I’ve heard business owners say it is our homemade cakes or great coffee, or that they have the most extensive wine list in town.
But the reality is that when you ask one simple question …. why did you choose to eat or drink here today … you will get answers that surprise you.
Let me give you an example that is related to the question about why choose a venue.
Some years ago, a client asked me to help them promote their conference facilities. The facilities were very good, and the business was an international environmental charity. When I asked them why people choose them they told me it was because their conference facilities overlooked a large bird reserve of international renown.
But I wasn’t convinced.
Marketing a Conference Centre
Most of their conference customers were from large companies that had no obvious connections with the environment or birds. So I wondered if the real reason was their geographic location, the fact they were on the edge of a motorway, the proximity of hotels, the catering, the size of the car park or that they could cater for 2-650 people.
I carried out an online advertising campaign. We ran eight ads that were exactly the same except for one line that featured the benefits I had concluded might be the main reason the facilities were chosen.
The ads were run as Google Adwords which meant that Google would show each advert randomly to people searching for conference venues or conference facilities, but the magic part was that each advert would be seen by approximately the same number of people and we could measure the numbers that responded to them and clicked on the advert to discover more.
Over the next couple of days over 1000 people responded (this was an amazingly quick response) and we were able to form a league table of responses. Number one was the ability for the venue to cater for 2-650 people whilst the last in the list was the fact the venue overlooked the bird reserve.
The thing is the charity were focused on conservation and thought everyone thought like them. But events were frequently booked by conference organisers, HR departments or the CEOs PA. These people just wanted a place that could handle the event they had been tasked with organising and they were often based hundreds of miles away, so had no local knowledge or preference. Their interests were totally different to the charities.
Of course, some people chose the venue simply because they liked the charity itself.
Beware of thinking you know your customers well. They can surprise you. And the answer you got last year may no longer apply.
So ask questions and consider the response carefully. It could change the direction you take your business.
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