Finding More Donors With the Ultimate Question

A couple of years back I sat in on a very interesting presentation by Ryan Davies of Progrexion, a multi-disciplinary marketing research firm.

One of Progrexion’s house specialties is customer satisfaction surveys, one of the more dreary parts of marketing research. You know what I mean if you’ve ever been subjected to a customer satisfaction survey that runs 4 pages single-spaced in about 9-point type. Completing those surveys can be like that scene in the Dustin Hoffman movie Marathon Man when Sir Lawrence Olivier plays the Mengele-like ex-Nazi dentist Dr. Christian Szell who extracts information by pulling teeth.

But Progrexion draws from the work of author and Bain consultant Fred Reichheld to come up with a much more streamlined and painless approach. Reichheld wrote the 2006 book “The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth.”

Reichheld maintains that under pressure to meet growth targets modern corporate managers are going after the wrong customers and doing so badly. Hence the implicit statement in the book’s title that profits can be bad and growth wrong.

What’s the ultimate question? Well hold your breath because it’s all of eight words: “would you recommend this business to a friend?”

How people answer that question and a few more carefully selected questions are used to calculate something called the “Net Promoter Score.” The Net Promoter scores are based on a 0-10 scale and the measure the degree to which someone is genuinely pleased with your product, company or service and why.

Here’s the scale:
9-10 Net Promoter
7-8 Neutral
0-6 Detractor
Fine and dandy, you say, but what does this have to do with cause marketing or nonprofit fundraising?

Certainly the Ultimate Question and the Net Promoter score could be used gauge the success and lasting power of a cause marketing campaign or program. Want to know if your paper icon campaign is actually costing you money (even while raising money)? Ask the Ultimate Question.

But there’s another possible use.

Progrexion also uses the Ultimate Question as a lead generator.

In effect, the Ultimate Question and the Net Promoter Score is a way of identifying salesmen and mavens, to use Malcolm Gladwell’s terms.

And what cause marketing campaign couldn’t use more of both?