Using ballot boxes to uncover a million dollar idea

Posted by By Renee Magana on 3/18/2016 to Marketing Ideas

Using ballot boxes to uncover a million dollar idea

When it comes to business, build it and they will come is not always true to form. This is especially true when it comes to ballot box programs geared towards garnering employee or customer feedback. While a ballot box can have multiple types of uses from suggestion boxes to promotional boxes or registration boxes, when used to garner employee or customer suggestions or feedback, there are some critical steps that need to be taken. So why is getting customer and employee feedback so important? Perhaps the best example of how employee creativity created a million dollar idea is the Post-it®. Most of us have used a Post-it®. But did you know that the idea of a post it came from a former 3M employee? 

Spencer F. Silver was working for 3M in the late 60s when he developed an adhesive that made a piece of paper stick to a surface, yet was pliable enough to be removed over and over again. For the next few years, Silver proposed the idea to management to no avail. It wasn’t until another colleague created a bookmark prototype that the Post-it was officially born. Despite multiple attempts by Silver, 3M almost lost the idea that came from its own employee. So what's the best way to get employees, customer and constituent’s creative juices flowing? 

Simply putting out a ballot box will not help you meet your goals. Here are some tips that customers such as Tag Heuer, and DirectTV are using to meet their ballot box program goals. 

 1. Leverage technology. There is no question that the digital age has forever changed the way companies market. But despite predictions that offline marketing techniques will fade away into the ethers, progressive companies are using a hybrid approach that blends offline and online marketing techniques to bolster their 1. customer acquisition or employee feedback strategies. For example, many of our customers use modern day techniques such as QR codes and mobile texting with their ballot box programs to attain significant results.

 2. Make anonymity an option. Especially for critical feedback, allowing employees and customers to remain anonymous will solicit the kind of candid feedback companies are looking for. This is where an “offline” ballot box shines. Most employees do not believe “online” ballot boxes are truly anonymous, and the fact of the matter is they are not. Technology is traceable, but submitting an anonymous form is not. 

 3. Use compelling graphics. A picture speaks a thousand words. According to research, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. 

4. Provide the right incentives to encourage participation. Surprisingly, particularly for employees, research shows that monetary incentives are not always best. Recognition, pride and personal accomplishment have proven to be much more meaningful for employees. One of our customers openly recognizes the employee with the winning idea at the monthly company meeting. On the flip side, when running a promotional give-away to customers, the right monetary incentive is key (think free giveaway or discount coupon). 

 5. Share ideas to encourage iteration. As in the Post-it example, improvement upon Spencer Silver’s core idea was the turning point for the innovative Post-it. But if the idea was not made public, the Post-it may have never come to be. Many of our customers will read ballot box suggestions ideas at company meetings, which can spark additional creativity and improvement upon an existing idea. 

 6. Remember placement is important. When employees or customers are pressed for time, getting their feedback is very unlikely. But when they have down time such as during a lunch break or while waiting in a lobby, they often look for something to fill their time, which is the opportune time for feedback. 

Now it’s your turn. What innovative ways are you using for your ballot box programs?
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