Whether your business is small or global, customers’ acquisition and their subsequent retention is something that you must be thinking about almost all the time. Most marketing programmes and campaigns are designed to achieve precisely that. Today’s marketing strategies have become very proficient at getting and retaining customers. However, as advanced and sophisticated as they’ve become, most marketers still don’t realise how useful a basic community outreach programme can be in achieving the same objectives.
Why Community Outreach Programmes Aren’t So Famous These Days
There is a reason why the evolution of modern day marketing techniques has resulted in the community outreach programme being left by the wayside. The reason is that most modern day marketing techniques are based on numbers and statistics. They make use of detailed reports that empirically describe the sales funnel paths of each and every visitor that comes in contact with the business. These detailed empirical reports cannot be created to study and analyse community outreach programme.
Even though a community outreach programme cannot be analysed in terms of how many people contacted, how many people engaged, and how many converted, its benefits are still comparable to all the modern day techniques. This is true even if you want to analyse Returns on Investment (ROIs) or the worth of the programme. So, what are the various benefits that a community outreach programme can bring your business? Consider.
A Community Outreach Programme Will Improve Your Brand Image
The obvious benefit of a community outreach programme is an improvement in the brand’s image or the business’s corporate reputation. Community outreach means doing something for the community above and beyond business related activities. Such programmes are about the company doing something beneficial for the people rather than for themselves. Therefore, it is a giving strategy with the hopes that it will result in intangible returns.
The returns in question here are nothing but goodwill from the people in the community and even people outside of it. After all, as any marketer understands, goodwill is actually the currency that a business operates on; financial returns are just a result of the said goodwill. In fact, there are a number of studies and researches done by various universities and research centres that statistically correlate a community outreach programme and improved brand image.
It Will Also Advance Brand Recall in the Community In Question
Brand recall is a term used to define the ease with which people can remember the brand name or business name. It is important because it symbolises the familiarity that the target audience has with the business and its products. Brand recall along with brand reputation forms the primary objective of any branding exercise. For example, if an individual remembers Nike, then he’ll go to the company’s stores the moment he needs to buy sports shoes.
The same principle applies to all other brands, products, and services. A community outreach programme doesn’t only engender goodwill amongst the target audience. It also improves the business or brand’s visibility in the region. This increased visibility promotes brand recall amongst the people of the community to a point where the outreach programme’s activity begins to be associated with the business’s offerings.
A Community Outreach Programme Can Improve Customer Experience
Customer experience is on the lips of all marketing whiz kids these days. It is, in fact, quickly becoming a byword that businesses all over the world have started aspiring to. The logic is that if a business can give the customer the right experience, then there is no reason for that customer to leave that business. Giving the right customer experience, thus, turns into an exercise in finding commonality in the individuals of a target group and then creating generalised marketing messages that seem like they were actually created for individuals.
A community outreach programme is helpful because it gives the business organic access to a group of people that all share some specific trait. For instance, if the programme pertains to local schools, then it automatically gives the business access to parents of young children. Therefore, when another parent becomes this business’s customers, the knowledge that his involvement is helping kids elsewhere improves his experience with the business in question because he feels pride along with satisfaction.
Community Outreach Also Counters PR Disasters
No matter how big or small your business is a public relations (PR) disaster can ruin your bottom line quicker than you can say “profits”. No business is free from this risk, especially in today’s world wherein sharing stories and experiences has become so easy. Social networks have put everyone at risk and handed the power over to the consumer. The best example of a PR disaster and how it can take even big businesses to task is United Breaks Guitar.
However, a community outreach programme has the potential, to a certain extent, to render a business immune to the effects of PR disasters. The reason for this is simple. It is the fact that such programmes create goodwill and if the reputation of a business is already well on the positive side of the spectrum, then it will take something really serious to push it into the negative side of it. If you compare this to a business whose reputation is in the middle of the spectrum, you’ll find that a PR disaster would push such a business into the negative much faster.
A Community Outreach Programme Done Right Can Boost Your Bottom Line
We’ve already established that a community outreach programme gives the business visibility. If done right, such a programme can give a business visibility in circles where investors reside. Getting an entrance into a group of these types of individuals means more funding for the business.
On a different note, a well-targeted community outreach programme can also boost the bottom line from the sales side. For instance, if we take the same example as above i.e. schools, it gives the business a direct ‘in’ to the majority of the community because most spending adults end up getting married and having children.
More importantly, children tend to talk and parents tend to listen to their children talking. Therefore, a properly marketed exhibition or sports event in the school can result in parents hearing about it and later, possibly, acting on the knowledge. Similarly, children in school never stay static.
Each year, each class gets new students, which means more parents come into the mix. Hence, having long term relationships with schools can be a wonderful way to gain access to new audiences on a regular basis. Since a good chunk of these new audiences will act on their knowledge of the brand, this means boosted bottom lines on a yearly basis.