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October 05, 2009


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Alan Boyer


Speaking of "do you know your customers?"

Let me tell you a story along those lines.

I had been helping a small town build their downtown branding, and increasing the traffic. After having several successes they shifted gears with new committee leaders, and decided that they'd rather do their own thing. They were sure they knew their market better.

They had been doing a Spring Festival with about 13,000 people attending every spring. I had encouraged them to build it even further with additional marketing and to establish a theme that they could be known for. One of the neighboring towns was doing one with 50,000 attending and had built a nice brand around their events. So I was encouraging them to build theirs even bigger.

However, their new committee leaders were "artsy" types who believed that doing an art fair would be better. I suggested that they do the spring festival one month, and the art fair the next, continuing to build into new markets and establishing the fact with the community that there was always SOMETHING going on and to look to see what's goingon this month.

But they decided that they'd shut down the spring festival and replace it with the art fair.

They just slammed the door on 13,000 people that had been loyal followers for 20 years, and went to another market that had to be developed.

They wouldn't listen to anyone about that. They were SURE that the art market was better, after all, the new leaders of the committee were artists.

I showed them that there were over 50,000 people looking for a spring festival locally on the internet monthly, and only 600 looking for an art fair. But they were SURE they understood their market.

The result: 300 people showedup at the art fair, and 13,000 people are angry with them, letters to the city council and to the committee.

And the next city over saw an increase of 10,000 people this year when they did their spring festival.

What's surprising is that next year they intend to work harder at the art fair. They still refuse to do another spring festival.

Shawn Phillips


Great idea and great reminder that I need to do the same... really dig into the what people need.

All the same, my own preference would be that you'd shorten that survey a little. Not in total but on the individual questions. You can get the same info over more and shorter questions.

The long series of responses to first Q simply makes me want to wilt... sort of fade away...

But then again, that's just me.

In Strength,
Shawn Phillips (@shawn_phillips)

author, Strength for LIFE

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