In marketing, sounding boards are meetings or group forums, the purpose of which is to collect the opinions of others about a particular matter, such as the addition of a new product, or an idea for a new service. Businesses of all sizes use sounding boards as a way to troubleshoot their marketing ideas. These meetings can be very beneficial, as they can provide business owners with valuable insight.
Who Makes Up a Sounding Board?
A sounding board can be made up of various individuals. Typically, these individuals can offer valuable insight and/or have a vested interest in your company and the products or services that you offer.
Some examples of people who you could include in your sounding board include:
- Company shareholders, such as executives and managers.
- Employees who assist with the day-to-day operations of your business and interact with your clients.
- Your customers themselves. Your best bet would be to choose customers that are loyal to your business; people who purchase from you regularly and whom you have a long-standing relationship with.
How to Host a Sounding Board Meeting
Once you have your sounding board assembled, you are going to have to arrange a meeting with them. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss your ideas and to collect the opinions and insight from the people you have assembled on your sounding board.
You can host a sounding board by using the following steps:
- Send out invitations for your meeting. These invitations should clearly define the main purpose of the meeting and outline the issues or topics that you want to discuss.
- Decide on the best strategy for presenting your ideas. For instance, you might decide to host an open forum during which you would ask the members of your sounding board questions and encourage members to offer their responses at random. You could also suggest that your participants make suggestions by writing them down on paper and supplying you with their responses at the end of the meeting.
- Plan an effective layout for your meeting. These meetings are collaborative in nature, so you should arrange a layout that allows for the conversation to flow easily and seamlessly.
- Listen to responses with open ears and thoroughly.
- Decide how you are going to respond to any insights that are made, questions that are raised, and suggestions that are offered. Make sure that you choose your words wisely and that your responses are valuable and encourage further information.
- Plan a follow-up meeting with your sounding board to discuss the effects of your initial meeting.