In the world of parks and recreation, the term "consumer" might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about residents and members. After all, you're in the business of providing leisure and recreational activities, not selling products. However, if you want to truly connect with your community and tailor your offerings to their needs, it's time to start thinking of your residents and members as consumers. This was the overall message of last week’s incredible webinar.
Tip 1: View Your Residents As Consumers
When we say that residents and members are consumers, we're not talking about turning your local park into a shopping mall. Instead, it's about adopting a fresh perspective. Thinking of your community in terms of needs and preferences, rather than just demographics or geography, can be a game-changer.
The main reason for this shift in mindset is that it encourages you to view your community in a different light. Instead of just knowing where they live or where they go, you're prompted to dig deeper. This means asking questions like "Why do these people attend our programs?" or "What needs are they looking to meet, and what are their consumption preferences?"
Understanding these "why" questions is the key to creating programming that meets the needs of your community and is, therefore, consumed.
Adopt a fresh perspective! 💧 Think of your community's needs and preferences.
Tip 2: Stay Proactive With Your Parks & Recreation Marketing Efforts
It's important to remember that the needs and preferences of your community are not set in stone. They're constantly evolving. Assuming that you fully understand your community once and for all is a mistake you can't afford to make. Instead, be proactive by regularly rechecking your assumptions, conducting new surveys, and refreshing your understanding of your residents and members.
Tip 3: Adapt Your Communications To Your Residents (Consumers!)
Once you truly understand your residents and members, you can make informed decisions about the right programming to offer. What activities do they want to participate in? What facilities do they want to visit? What level of competitiveness do they prefer? What age groups do they want to engage with? Without this understanding and the data that supports it, you risk making the wrong decisions based on incorrect or outdated assumptions.
But it's not just programming that can be affected by this newfound understanding; communication is equally vital. Tailoring your message to different segments of your community can be as simple as adjusting the tone for different age groups. However, you can also use this information to determine the best channels to communicate with them.
For example, while Facebook might be an effective tool for parents of Generation X, its usage is decreasing among Millennials and almost non-existent among Gen Z. Modern tools that you think are effective may not be the right fit for every segment. Consider the tourist hotspot in your community; advertising in hotels or other tourist-related businesses may be more appropriate, while community center advertising could work for engaging existing clients in new sports leagues or program changes.
Be supported by data 📊 to make the best decisions for your Parks & Rec programs.
Tip 4: Categorize Your Residents And Members Into Segments
One of the best ways to manage this view of your community is by segmenting your market. Each distinct group in your community can be part of a segment, which will have a unified set of characteristics to help guide your decisions about programs and communication channels. The number of segments you need depends on your community and the decisions you're trying to make. Every difference within your segments should exist to aid your decisions about what to offer and how to communicate with them.
The end result of this segmentation is a shift from seeing your community as a homogenous group to measuring participation and engagement within various segments. This allows you to make informed decisions about your offerings.
Tip 5: Use Marketing's Best Theories To Understand Fully Your Residents And Members
Finally, for each of these segments, there is a funnel. At the bottom of the funnel are people who are fully engaged and loyal customers. Slightly above are those who are aware but not yet customers. And at the top of the funnel, you have those who are completely unaware of your programs. By examining the size of each of these stages, you can determine the best way to move forward.
In conclusion, understanding your residents and members as consumers is not only a fresh perspective but a necessity to thrive in the world of parks and recreation. By continually seeking to understand their needs, preferences, and the ever-changing landscape of your community, you can tailor your programming and communication to meet their expectations effectively. Segmenting your community further refines your approach and allows you to make informed decisions that resonate with your audience. Remember, it's not about selling a product, but about delivering an experience that resonates with the diverse tastes and needs of your community.