Research insights for local businesses

Guest columnistJune 17, 2014 

Research is such a valuable weapon in our marketing arsenal. Research helps us stay ahead of our competition by providing valuable insight into studying consumer behavior, attitudes and motivations. By watching and examining attitudinal changes in consumer perceptions over time, we can anticipate and forecast their behavior.

Research also serves as an official scorecard to evaluate how we’re doing in the hearts and minds of residents, visitors and investors. And based on the results from a recent followup study it looks like we didn’t do just good, we did great.

“Congratulation to Lee’s Summit. Your latest research scores are the highest scores we’ve ever recorded. In fact, Lee’s Summit is now a benchmark community for marketing implementation and success.” This comes from an objective, outside perspective.

Source: North Star Destination Strategies, who have been studying 200 cities in 40 states across the United States over the past decade.

All along the way our marketing decisions were steeped in research. Research was/is the foundation for all our creative and media development in order to ensure the success of our marketing. So let’s take a peek at what residents, businesses, visitors and investors have to say about Lee’s Summit.

Marketing insights to help our local businesses grow:

1. 75 percent of survey respondents stated, “The current marketing and advertising campaign makes me feel proud of Lee’s Summit.”

2. 70 percent of survey respondents recall having seen or heard an ad promoting Lee’s Summit.

3. 51 percent of survey respondents report that they have already visited or experienced a Lee’s Summit place, product or service after seeing or hearing one of our ads. An additional 8 percent say they plan on going to, or utilizing a feature they say advertised.

4. When asked to describe “What comes to mind when you first think of Lee’s Summit?” respondents used the following descriptors; friendly, caring community, safe, a great place to live, raise a family, hometown pride, great schools, growing, full of potential, great downtown and quality of life. Ranking our scores in the 94 percent.

5. 20 percent of respondents stated that they were visiting Lee’s Summit from out-of-town. This represents an increase over the 2011-12 survey period when the percentage was 8 percent.

6. The demographic sweet-spot for Lee’s Summit’s businesses and visitors are adults between the ages of 45-64 years of age, (primarily female) with a household income of $75,000-plus.

7. When the new LS logo appears in a ad for a business the reported recognition level is 76 percent.

8. When asked “where did you see or hear any advertising messaging for Lee’s Summit?” the detailed responses included; outdoor, television, newspaper, magazine, websites and social media forums.

9. Lee’s Summit’s scores as a “place to live” in now 7.5 times higher the national average, a “place to visit” is now 7.2 times higher than the national average and a “place to conduct business is now 12.9 times higher than the national average.

10. During a time period where cities across the nation continue to receive decreasing grades on a full scale of attributes, Lee’s Summit grades increased on average over 75 percent since the 2011-12 benchmark study was conducted.

The study implication is that in a relatively short period, Lee’s Summit has built significant momentum with our marketing efforts that has included cooperative investment marketing dollars at a staggering rate from the private sector. Our consistent messaging and graphic standards is resonating with residents, business owners and visitors alike.

Moving forward it is our plan to leverage and expand this momentum to include other community assets including Economic Development, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Tourism, Education, Cultural Arts and Community Service Organizations. We plan to expand our targeting areas, as wide as our budget realities allows, in order to continue to increase our return on marketing investment.

All Lee’s Summit businesses will be the beneficiaries of our community-wide marketing efforts.


James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at m.

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