Helping an Agency Connect with Its Constituents

Every government agency has a core mission — one that drives every person who works in that agency. Part of fulfilling that mission is communicating effectively with the agency’s constituents to engage, inform and serve them. By conducting research studies, Market Connections works directly with federal agencies to improve constituent services.

One federal agency has been working with Market Connections for five years to improve how it connects with its constituents. The agency came to Market Connections with a need to develop and refine its products and services. Agency leaders recognized that to respond to constituents’ needs, they needed a clear idea of who the market segments were and what each segment needs from the agency. Only in this way could they stay relevant.

What do we do for the agency? Through a mix of quantitative and qualitative research, we help the agency assess the appeal, credibility, relevance and usability of its communications tools and channels. The agency then uses the results to address and overcome communications-related challenges, ensuring that its message resonates with, and is accessible to, target audiences.

“For this agency in particular, clear messaging is important. Its constituent base is complex — it serves people in every economic, ethnic and age demographic,” said research director Dave Glantz. “Every one of these audiences has different communications preferences, needs and desires. With each targeted study, the agency not only comes to know that audience better, it gets a clearer picture of the constituent base as a whole. This helps the agency develop products that have a positive and meaningful impact.”

This type of research is not a one-time need; that’s why the agency has been conducting several research studies every year. For example, changes in social media and mobile use have transformed how current and potential users prefer to receive information. But rather than assume (such as no one over the age of 50 uses social media), the agency keeps abreast of current trends and adapts its communications strategies based on data.

Another example is how the agency was able to use usability research and focus groups to drive users to the website and increase engagement through online tools. Through this combination of qualitative and quantitative research, the agency learned that its constituents found the website difficult to use, and therefore were not using the tools designed to help them make decisions regarding their future. Based on the research results, the agency made changes to the website’s navigation structure, making it significantly more intuitive (a result confirmed by a follow up study). Website usage soared, and more users are benefiting from the tools.

Through ongoing research, the agency has connected with its constituents and learned what tools they need, what information they want and how they think the agency can best help them. The agency also has learned which channels it needs to use to reach different audience segments and is able to act on that information said Dave.

Communication is a key factor in delivery on an agency’s core mission, and market research ensures that you are communicating through the right channels in the right way with the right messages. Market Connections research provides the data necessary to support new product decisions and/or to better understand your constituents. As a result, your agency will effectively develop and position new products and services in a way that resonates with your audiences — and helps you efficiently and effectively deliver on your mission.

Learn more about how Market Connections can work with your agency to increase constituent engagement.

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  1. […] Read this case study to learn how primary market research has helped one federal agency connect with its constituents. […]