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How Active Listening Reinforced and Refined Messaging Strategy, and Validated Years of Direction

When “No surprises here” is a success!
By utilizing active listening techniques, MCA helped an existing client double down on their messaging strategy.

A client we’ve worked with for six years authorized one of our favorite things: a three-legged active listening project.

One portion was a trend survey sent to current members. We believe that the best gift you can give a survey is to repeat it at regular intervals. Surveys are inherently flawed because you never (well, almost never) get 100% participation. But they can be excellent directional tools to measure how well the organization is doing at delivering what it promised to its audience.

Another part was an attitude/awareness/understanding survey to prospective members, conducted without revealing their brand as the survey sponsor. It is always good to know if your prospect audience has any idea who you are and what you stand for, compared to others in the same space.

The third segment was an active listening series. We invited regular members to participate in an hour-long chat about a range of topics. Members were grouped by cohort, and the conversations took place over a six-week period.

At the end of the project we were reviewing the summary with the client’s senior leadership team. The best comment came from the executive director, who said, “Nothing surprised me.”

Does that mean we didn’t dig deep enough, or ask more insightful questions, or somehow missed the mark?

After all, a Big New Thing is what we want from listening to members and prospects, isn’t it? Something we’ve missed, or something that will change the way we approach the organization’s membership goals.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

“No surprises” meant that this client has their finger on the pulse of their members and they understand the prospect universe.

Additional proof of that statement is that the Net Promoter Score in the member trend survey went up by SEVEN points since the previous survey. This is a consistent trend from the survey prior to that one. They are continually improving their ability to satisfy their constituency.

Prospects recognized the client, and accurately selected the definition that most closely aligned with their mission. Their brand is solid and respected.

And perhaps most telling, this organization has grown by 75% in the last six years. 

There was absolutely a mountain of usable information in the survey. Language, testimonials, hints. We’ll be mining the survey insights for the next year, modifying and testing our messaging, tweaking content, and working with the client to develop programs that address the opportunities that came up.

Most of the time a success story is about something that moved the needle dramatically. Chest-thumping and all that. But this one is far more typical of MCA’s style: Consistent. Collaborative. Open. Authentic.

If you’re looking for ways to understand your audience and minimize surprises, let’s chat.