“Can you hear me now?” is a question made popular by Verizon several years ago. Now their competitor Sprint is making fun of and using Verizon’s former spokesperson in a new marketing campaign.

But are you hearing what consumers are saying about your credit union or bank’s marketing? In his book Content, Inc., author Joe Puluzzi says, “Listening posts are all about getting as much feedback from a variety of sources as possible so you can find the truth.” Marketing is not just about sending. It’s about receiving. It’s about listening.

Want to improve your marketing’s effectiveness? Then try listening more to consumers.

Setting Up Listening Posts For Your Marketing

Here are three ways to setup listing posts when it comes to your marketing:

  • Surveys—Ask your members or customers what they really think about you. They’ll tell you. But watch “bland” and “boring” questions. When helping our clients develop their brand plans, we often survey consumers to get a feel for how they truly perceive their financial institution. One of our favorite questions to ask is, “If ABC Credit Union or Bank were a car, what type of car would it be?” That is a more emotional question and elicits deeper level insights into how they really perceive you.
  • Conversations—One of the absolute best ways to discover what people think about your marketing is simply to talk with them. Sometimes the higher we move up the organizational chart the farther away we get from the consumers we serve. So when I was an executive at a financial institution I would routinely visit the branches and just chat with people who were coming in. Ask them what they think about your website, whey they bank with you and what matters to them in financial services. It’s amazing the insights you can learn from a short five-minute conversation.
  • Social media—Are your people saying anything about you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social channels? Granted, many folks use social media to vent their anger. However, reviewing your Facebook account to see likes, comments, complaints, etc. offers a trove of information. Do people love you, hate you or even worse are they indifferent about you? Remember, social media is “social.” If you are only using social media to distribute information you are missing an opportunity.

And what happens if after you establish these listening posts you hear absolutely nothing? Crickets. Silence. That actually tells you quite a bit as well. It tells you no one is hearing your marketing messages. Probably because it is too boring. Remember, no one talks about a boring business.

And no one succeeds with their marketing unless they are listening.

Note: This article originally ran October 4, 2016.