I attended a very interesting seminar at the recent RWM event in September, “Communication is King” which was aimed at an audience of marketing and communications professionals within local authorities. The discussion centred around how to meet waste collection targets (either reduction of material to landfill or an increase in revenues from recycled output) against a back drop of reduced communications budgets within local government.
These professionals face challenges in winning hearts and minds within each household in order to meet recycling targets. The issues they face don’t stop at reduced marketing and PR spend but an increased transience of consumers between council areas – who may have different recycling policies and capabilities.
In addition to this transience; Rachel Gray, Consumer Behaviour Change Manager from WRAP, discussed the nuances of householder profiles and how local authorities must now target their messaging and channels accordingly, in order to counteract a certain level of confusion felt by more cautious residents. According to the session discussion, there was particular confusion around plastics and food waste. In the last six years, WRAP found that most people have had some kind of change to their collection service.
Targeted marketing through the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Local authorities are facing similar challenges of spend reduction and ROI analysis that the private sector has also experienced. Having the right tools in place in order to capture customer feedback, profile your target audience by behavioural analysis and send out relevant and resonant multi-channel messaging all apply to waste recycling campaigns run by local authorities. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has this best practice at its core and has a public sector application specifically developed to help give local government agencies a 360 degree view of citizens and enable them to engage in a more targeted way with improved case management and responsiveness.
Collaboration and communication across departments and even across different agencies and authorities seems to be key too, as Mark Baker from Somerset Waste Partnership put it “collaboration and pooling of resources is the answer (to reduced communication budgets)”. Microsoft tools such as Dynamics CRM, Yammer and Sharepoint can all be leveraged by local authorities and government agencies to achieve a leaner marketing and internal communication model that boosts productivity and puts the consumer/citizen at the heart of your efforts.
How can social media fit into an ROI model?
So whilst local authorities have tangible support for engaging consumers from organisations such as WRAP with campaign materials such as “Recycle Now” and from Eunomia’s “Waste Prevention Toolkit” to help plan and analyse waste recycling initiatives; a question that was raised at the end by MRW’s Andrea Lockerbie about leveraging and costing relatively new communication platforms such as social media seemed to have not been fully considered in the session.
Social media communication can be treated in the same way as other marketing channels within multi channel campaigns and be more easily managed and analysed through the use of social listening tools such as Microsoft Social Engagement. Local authorities have experienced a cultural shift in the adoption of social media as an engagement tool, and the need has been met to set performance criteria and prove success against KPIs with Microsoft Social Engagement.
Prodware has helped organisations who want to collaborate better and market smarter through the use of leading and familiar Microsoft technologies; please talk to us if this is a challenge you share with the audience at RWM.