5 Ways to Get Input on Your Brand

Methods for getting the best input about your marketing.

Wendy Ruyle 9.07.2016

Your stakeholders are key to your organization’s success. They are the customers that give you the drive, the advisors that give you vision, the brand advocates that spread the word, and the employees that keep the office running like clockwork.

You need input from each of them to run the organization and in particular for strategic marketing initiatives. Building a new website? You need input from your stakeholders. Launching a new product? You need their insight. Each corner of your organization can provide key information to make your next marketing effort successful.

What’s the best way to get it?

Tailor your ask

Just as you tailor a message to different audiences when marketing your products and services, you need to tailor your ask for information. Each stakeholder will have a preferred style for sharing knowledge. Provide options to get every last drop of data out of them and make them feel valued at the same time. Think about how much time they have to give, how invested they are in the organization, and what their communication style is. Here are a few methods to consider.

1. Surveys

Surveys are a great way to get broad-brush impressions of likes and dislikes. With quantifiable research you can find out exactly what percentage of your audience prefers X over Y. For the stakeholder, surveys are a quick way to express an opinion. They can be done at any time of day and usually only take a few minutes. However, with a survey you can’t ask follow up questions when answers aren’t clear. Also, stakeholders are answering in a vacuum. They may not come up with the best solution to a problem on their own.

2. Polls

Related to surveys, polls typically ask one question with a multiple-choice answer. Use them when you want a fast response and/or want to share that information with your team in real time. These are useful for situations where more discussion isn’t necessary, such as scheduling an event on a Tuesday vs. a Wednesday. Polls can be informal social media posts or more formal emailed questionnaires to a specific audience.

3. Interviews

Meeting with someone in person (or over the phone) shows them very clearly that their opinion is important. Follow-up and clarifying questions are easy to do on the spot and you can get to not only the what but the why. When you probe with more questions to get to why a stakeholder prefers X over Y you may realize that what they really need is Z. The downside to interviews is that they take more time. You’ll need both staff and stakeholders to be committed to taking the time out to make them work.

4. Pre-interview questionnaires

Sending the questions you will ask in an interview ahead of time allows stakeholders with a thoughtful approach to mull them over and prepare their answers. For some, having time to think deeply about an issue will allow them to explore their answers more fully and encourage them to share more than If they are put on the spot.

5. Round tables

Getting a varied group around a table to discuss an initiative can spark a lively conversation and even more lively ideas. If the group is properly facilitated, one idea will build upon another and another until a great idea emerges and consensus is built. Improper facilitation on the other hand can result in chaos. Plan your participants, facilitator, and activities carefully to get the best ideas out of a group discussion.

Tap into your most invested audiences by asking for their input in the right way. And remember that the right way isn’t the same for everybody.

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