Are you sitting on a goldmine?

It’s such a privilege to work with some of Worcestershire finest charities and social enterprise companies through the county’s Changing Futures Fund. Each client is different but they are all extremely dedicated to their work and ambitious to deliver the best services to their customers. Recently, as I started work with another new charity, we uncovered a veritable goldmine of data which they hadn’t really tapped into as a marketing resource. The information? Literally hundreds of paper feedback forms from customers of their excellent training courses.
Of course, in following good practice for teachers and training professionals, these forms had all been read by the trainers after the end of the courses. The comments had been acted upon to revise the course materials and improve future teaching and learning. The next step, from a marketing point of view, would be to analyse the data and use the feedback in their marketing for future courses. The goldmine they were sitting on was literally hundreds of excellent testimonials to the quality of the training that could be shared with future potential participants.
They are not alone. Often, in my experience, small businesses as well as charities have these untapped feedback forms to hand, gathering dust in a corner cupboard or ancient filing cabinet. They have the potential to become the best credentials presentation you ever made, deliver your most powerful marketing message or interest readers of a newspaper with your most relevant press release. The stories they contain are all written from the point of view of your customers. They are thus much more believable than any advert you can write yourself.
Without being properly mined, all you have is an untapped resource. Instead of panning for gold, are you digging deep into the data for insight and understanding? Are you asking the right questions of your customers with your feedback forms?
Analysed and used wisely, this data can make your products and services very attractive to new customers, who could have the same issues and problems to solve as your previous customers. Our clients have all used customer surveys in this way and some have been spectacularly successful when presenting this data to future customers. The data may contain evidence that you should be increasing your profitability by increasing prices. It may simply provide reassurance to new customers that your products and services deliver great results, re-assurances that your competitors may not have.
So, if you obtain any sort of feedback, are you making the most of your precious data or are you just sitting on it?
Happy marketing