Reaching the hard-to-reach: country edition
Consultative Committee, Working Group, Stakeholder Advisory Group, Customer Advisory Panel … whatever you call it, these people are the gatekeepers with the keys to the kingdom. They’re your most effective partners in getting the credible introduction you need to establish a timely and effective connection with the boarder audience you need to reach.
Traditional go-to moves like relying on an organisations customer database won’t connect you with the hard to reach. It’s knowing that footy practice on Thursday night is a great opportunity to reach the younger community members, it’s an early start to chat with the dairy farmers who can’t get to a mid-afternoon session because it clashes with milking.
The members of these groups can help you nail the best time to book your sessions, the order in which you should contact people and ask them to attend, right down to knowing the who makes the best scones for morning tea. It’s the lateral thinking piece that will help you meet your project objectives with an approach that resonates.
It’s the ‘so-what’ and the ‘why’ that you need to be able to articulate to those beyond the physical footprint of your focus area. The broader community need to understand why your project or initiative is important before they can invest far enough to start coughing up the insights to properly shape or socially licence the gig.
Get it right, and you have a rich network of advocates and insights. Mist-step or cut corners, and you’ll be trying to eat the whole tray of scones on your own.
So, pick up your phone, pick up your car keys and do the leg work. There are no shortcuts. And this is certainly one area where ChatGPT can’t help or replace you.