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  • 1. Improving Economic Census Response Through Communication, Coordination, And Outreach Robert Marske Economic Planning & Coordination Division May 15, 2009
  • 2. The Economic Census
    • Years ending in 2 and 7
    • Private, non-farm activity
    • Forms to businesses with paid employees
    • Administrative records for non-employers
    • Response is mandatory
    • Individual responses are confidential
    • Supports public policy, benchmarking
    • Supports business marketing, investment
  • 3. The Problem: Steady Decline in Response Since 1992
    • Small business response dropped . . .
    • from 92 percent in 1992
    • to 87 percent in 1997
    • to 82 percent in 2002
    • . . . and businesses in 2007 were wary of Government requests, and identity theft, and . . .
  • 4. Response Promotion Initiatives
    • Message on envelope
    • Toll-free number
    • Business HelpSite
    • Large companies: Advance information
    • Account managers
    • Early mailout
    • Improved electronic reporting software
    • Multiple remails
    • Letters from top legal official
    • Awareness campaign:
      • What’s in it for ME (my business)?
  • 5. Targeted “Sweet 16” Many Businesses, Low ‘02 Response
    • Auto repair
    • Construction
    • Convenience stores
    • Dental
    • Insurance
    • Landscape
    • Laundry / cleaning
    • Legal services
    • Machine shops
    • Medical
    • Printing
    • Real estate
    • Restaurants
    • Trucking
    • Wholesale
    • “ Small Business”
    • Payroll providers
    • US Chamber of Commerce
    • Business Economists
  • 6. business.census.gov
  • 7. Media/Associations Page
  • 8. E-Blasts -- widely used -- inspired people to take action;
  • 9. E-Blasts -- widely used -- inspired people to take action;
  • 10. Industry “Hot Reports” Find data for your industry Compare your business
  • 11.
    • Oct ’07 - Mail Large Companies, 800K small firms
    • Dec 12 ’07 – Mail remainder of 4.7 MM mailout
    • Feb 12 ’08 - Forms due
    • April 1 ’08 - First form followup
    • May 1 ’08 - Second form followup
    • June 1 ’08 - Third form followup
    Collection and Followup Activity Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar
  • 12.
    • Oct ’07 - Mail Large Companies, 800K small firms
    • Dec 12 ’07 – Mail remainder of 4.7 MM mailout
    • Feb 12 ’08 - Forms due
    • April 1 ’08 - First form followup
    • May 1 ’08 - Second form followup
    • June 1 ’08 - Third form followup
    • July ’08 - Phone reminders to 150,000 businesses
    • August ’08 - Legal letters to 400,000 small busineses
    Collection and Followup Activity Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar 2007 Response Below 2002 Phone calls, Legal Letters 2007 Response Below 2002 Legal Letters Mailed 2007 Response Below 2002 Legal Letters; Reminder Calls
  • 13. “ Legal” Letters Got Attention
  • 14. “ Legal” Letters Got Response
    • “ OK, here’s your form”
    • “ I never got a form”
    • “ OK, you have my attention ... now what?” [but . . . we had only one chance to “get it right” ]
  • 15. Response Exceeds Targets Steady Decline Since 1992
  • 16. Communicating Benefits Helped . . . some
    • * Small companies
      • “ Sweet 16” -- 2% better response/shallower decline
    Observations
  • 17. Being Company Centric Improved Response
    • * Large companies
      • Advance Information -- 13% better response with verified address
      • Earlier mailout -- two month time advantage
      • Account Managers
      • E-reporting -- critically important
    Observations
  • 18. Next Steps: Ongoing Awareness to Bridge the Gap to 2102