‘Pig Panel’ Proves to Be Valuable Engagement Tool for New Pig
Engagement is a word you hear over and over again in the retail industry. Companies are continuously looking to find ways to better engage customers and prospects in an effort to create lifelong relationships with them. B-to-B retailer New Pig, a seller of absorbents and spill containment and control products, has found an interactive way to engage some of its best customers. New Pig's Vice President of Direct Marketing Robert Cameron presented a session yesterday at NEMOA's directXchange Fall Conference in Groton, Conn. on the company's "pig panel."
New Pig's pig panel is comprised of 900 customer volunteers. These are people that love New Pig, Cameron said. Panelists, who are experts in their field, are completely anonymous to each other. The pig panel is such an important part of New Pig's business that it has a dedicated panel coordinator whose job is to manage panel activities and conversations.
So what does the pig panel do? It serves as a sounding board for New Pig. The company frequently — if you're on the panel you're going to hear from us, Cameron said — surveys panel members to get their feedback on things such as product concepts and designs, branding questions, and opinions on workplace regulations. Basically, we want to know how we can better help them, Cameron said. It's a continuous two-way conversation.
These panelists love New Pig, Cameron said, citing 40 percent to 50 percent response rates for its pig panel surveys. "And most of those responses come within the first two hours of the survey being sent." They're frequently the source of product tips and ideas, going so far as to send sketches of a modification of an existing product or a new product altogether. And they're not looking for trademarks, Cameron said.
The pig panel has helped New Pig engage with some of its best customers while at the same time get valuable feedback that's helped to improve its business. "We're not selling to a SIC code, we're selling to a person," Cameron noted.
Cameron wrapped up his presentation with a few takeaways for the audience:
- pig panel feedback drives activities, helps other customers select the right products for their businesses, and, ultimately, drives sales;
- to truly engage, you need to talk AND listen to your customers;
- share customers’ product endorsements and testimonials in your marketing channels (e.g., catalog, email, website);
- engage across all channels; and
- test, measure and refine your customer engagement efforts on a continual basis.