Leadership decides to “merge” based upon customer feedback
“Everybody’s doing it” is the mantra, leadership decides to ask customers if a merger makes sense.
The visitors bureau in a midwest capital city faces the decision to merge or not to merge with the city’s convention center. There is anecdotal information and examples of cities where this works. However, no-one has information pertaining to this city and the organizations that choose it as a venue for their events. Leadership seeks an approach to reduce the risk of a bad decision. This decision needs to be right. How to find the best way forward?
GBQ Redbank Advisors developed a customer research approach to determine the impact of the proposed merger on organizations that use the city as their event destination. The team conducted telephone surveys of event planners at over 50 customer organizations that recently hosted events in the city. Survey responses were divided into two groups: those who experienced only the visitors bureau OR the convention center and those who experience the two organizations working together. The difference in overall satisfaction between the two groups provided a clear indication: “we are better together.” The organizations scored higher overall satisfaction when they worked together than either organization scored on its own.
This was a clear referendum by the city’s customers. They prefer the visitors bureau and the convention center to work together. In fact, closer analysis of the survey responses showed that the strengths of the two organizations are complimentary.
The visitors bureau and the convention center moved quickly to leverage their individual strengths and functional duplications were eliminated. For key functions, a single leader was appointed across the two organizations. The two organizations may never physically merge, but immediately their joint marketing and selling efforts are costing less and performing better in the eyes of their customers.