The Disappearing Question: How Did You Hear About Us?

August 22, 2013
I have spent the past four months visualizing the moment I get myself to this vantage point.

I have spent the past four months visualizing the moment I get myself to this vantage point.

Earlier this week, with about six weeks remaining until my first marathon, an increasingly rigorous training schedule brought me to my breaking point, forcing me to face another personal first: A chiropractic appointment.

Over the past few weeks, I have fought nagging pain in my right hip, knee and foot. At first, I thought trading in my minimalist running shoes for something more cushioned and practical would do the trick. I really like my new running shoes, but turns out retail therapy has its limits.

I tried icing, applying topical anti-inflammatories, popping Advil, stretching with my foam roller and even drinking enough water to alter the very composition of my being. I even tried resting, which is about the most anxiety-ridden thing a first-time marathoner can do at this phase in the game.

Nearly resigned to withdrawing from the marathon, I sought advice from my runner friends. The verdict was unanimous: Go see a chiropractor.

* * * * *

Flash forward to Tuesday and I’m sitting in the reception area at Lyn Lake Chiropractic. While filling out a first-time patient form, I came across the most important question any chiropractor, nay, business can ask a customer.

How did you hear about us? 

I used to be annoyed by that question. Who cares how I heard about you — I’m here! This time, I was excited to give it some thought. How did I end up in this place of all places? What was it about Lyn Lake Chiropractic that convinced me?

efe7be88-9ee9-4574-bd4f-cfd01e4f25cf_fullI had originally planned to try out a chiropractic franchise that offers a $19 adjustment to first-time patients, but changed course at the behest of concerned Fast Horse colleagues. I reopened my search by Googling “twin cities chiropractic for runners.”

The SEO gods didn’t fail me. Lyn Lake Chiropractic’s Yelp page and various pages of its website made up the first seven results. Here, I noticed Lyn Lake Chiropractic was an official sponsor of the Twin Cities Marathon – the marathon for which I am training. And then I noticed several of the same friends who told me to see a chiropractor actually liked the Lyn Lake Chiropractic Facebook page.

I made an appointment. But how could I ever deduce my decision-making process to just one or two factors when really it was the whole marketing stew? I suppose that’s why so-called quants are finding work in our industry.

I wrote what I felt was the best answer: “I saw that you are the official chiropractor of the Twin Cities Marathon.”

Was it true? To an extent. I wouldn’t have made the appointment were it not for that very marathon. Silly as it may be, the fact they were supporters of an event I was training for made me immediately see the company in a positive light, like, They get me! They know what this is about!

These moments of consumer reflection are disappearing. Big Data may be more reliable, but the benefits of consumer insights aren’t limited to brands and businesses. I don’t want my purchase intent interpreted through my metadata. Instead, I would rather be asked how I heard about a company. There is undeniable good in consumers pausing to audit themselves with questions like Why have I brought my business here? What would make me a returning customer? Does this business reflect my values?

The two minutes I spent solving how had I heard about Lyn Lake Chiropractic was all the time I needed to justify my initial visit, and it wasn’t just the answer I came up with, but the fact they asked in the first place. You can chalk it up to nostalgia, but I mean it when I say it — thanks for asking, Lyn Lake Chiropractic. Your marketing research became my affirmation.