Helping Small Communities for more than 30 years
Sure, we believe in our cause with passion. We talk about it all the time at our conferences, workshops, and shows. Talk about it among ourselves on a daily basis. For some of us, our families probably know much more about the water industry than they ever dreamed about—and you know they dream about it.
We agree with ourselves. Everyday. So why doesn’t the rest of the world “just get it?”
Maybe it’s our approach?
We forget that our customers—our real audience—don’t have the same experience that we do. They have plenty of other things to worry about. The children need a college fund, Grandma is sick, or maybe they can’t make the mortgage payment. Not to mention, they have their own jobs to worry about. They don’t really know—or maybe even care—that our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure is deteriorating at a rapid rate. In fact, they may not understand what that means.
We know. It’s language we use everyday. Right? Yes. But to our customers, it’s shoptalk. It means nothing. And some people may even be offended by our use of such talk. They think we’re just trying to trick them—talk over their heads. We’re just trying to raise taxes or increase customer rates so we can make a big profit and laugh all the way to the bank.
To get the message out to our customers, we need to change the way we’re sending it. We need to say it in simple everyday language that anyone can understand. And we need to give them a reason to care about what we have to say. If we have a customer who can’t pay his/her mortgage, you probably aren’t going to have much luck in his/her support for a rate increase.
First and foremost, we have to find what resonates with our customers. There are a number of studies out there in which the results can be tailored to a more general audience. For example, NESC and WVU’s School of Business and Economics recently completed a study that noted that social responsibility plays little role in someone’s choice to conserve water. What does matter is: How is this action going to benefit me?
In other words, what’s in it for me far outweighs doing the right thing. While this may not be what we want to hear: who wouldn’t want to do the right thing? It’s what we need to understand if we really want to get our message out.
This is the second in a series of post about marketing water. The first post is Marketing Water.