Throughout the pandemic we at Mingle have been volunteering to help our local communities. It’s proved incredibly rewarding. Many, many volunteers report that they feel better about themselves and think they benefit more by giving of their time than the people they are trying to help.
With this thought in mind, Mingle was recently approached by Dr Gillian Oakenfull, Professor of Marketing at Miami University. She had come across Mingle and was interested in us helping her students to embrace the ideas of customer-centricity, building empathy (in an increasingly data driven world) with real consumers and landing knowledge about them that was commercially useful.
It was pro bono work but we were happy to volunteer.
Through Dr Oakenfull’s extensive network her students were tasked to work on a real business challenge – issued and to be assessed by P&G. It involved deep diving into the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ consumers and developing a marketing campaign for a specific P&G brand that met the company’s mission of being a “Force for Growth and a Force for Good.”
After delivering online lectures to students based in China, Malaysia and the United States and then guiding the students through Mingle’s 4 C’s process they went off to practice what it is to be customer-centric. As we always advise, pursuing a single-minded knowledge objective.
We gathered again so they could share their work and we could offer some last tips before they presented to P&G. What they had done was startling. They had quickly become more knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ consumers than some multinational consumer companies who are household names. It has to be said, more knowledgeable in a very specific, narrow area of focus but that’s a good thing.
For obvious commercial sensitivity reasons we cannot share what they delivered but P&G said, ‘The winning team blew them away.’ Dr Oakenfull felt that the insights generated were far superior to any previous class in large part to taking a more consumer-based approach. She added, “It’s always a challenge to get students to understand both what an insight isn’t – it’s not data, it’s not information – and what it is – novel, human-centred, tension-filled. Mingle’s 4Cs approach allowed them to centralise insight generation in their research process and focus their marketing recommendation on activating those insights.” The students not just reading about consumers but actually meeting them to learn, pool their knowledge and extract commercial value. To gain competitive advantage.
Insight = Competitive Advantage
Not bad, eh? And these students are not professionals. Yet.
We’re delighted that our support was so well received. We are also encouraged by what will be the next generation of marketeers. The future is bright. We were also reminded that, as seasoned professionals (we don’t like the word ‘veterans’) ourselves, with decades of experience, we know stuff. We’d forgotten the value we could add and the warmth and gratitude with which it is received.
Which is my point. If you build in some time to volunteer or offer help to the next generation in your industry, you may find that you’ll take more than you realise.
Give a little, take a lot.
Image courtesy of Matt Collamer on Unsplash.
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