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Zoom-in 2014 – Marketing trends for next year: Engagement Marketing

Marketers have always been pre-occupied with loyalty of consumers. While loyalty is a good gauge of consumers’ sentiments towards a brand, we need to move on to increase engagement, beyond the scope of “telling the consumers what to buy”.

Today, it is crucial to create conversations and talkability of a brand amongst the community. The term “engagement” refers to an activity that can only exist within 2 parties – the brand and the consumer. It is not a one-way communication. It does not point to any marketing tool or platform, but exists as a general philosophy that can be applied generally in your marketing strategy.

In an interview with Henry Jenkins DeFlorz, Professor of Humanities and Founder and Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT, Alan Moore said, “Engagement Marketing is a very broad term, and purposefully so. At its heart, is the insight that human beings are highly social animals, and have an innate need to communicate and interact. Therefore, any engagement marketing initiative must allow for two-way flows of information and communication.”

Continuous engagement happens when a customer not only follows the brand’s twitter page, but also makes the effort to interact with it, as well as sharing it with friends. Engagement can be achieved through various ways, with relevant content. One of the beauty of engagement is that now customers themselves can be a part of your branding process. It doesn’t just stop at reaching them. With the right tools, content, and voice, they will be your willing partner in marketing your products and services. Plus, their involvement could lead to new strategies to market the brand.

Engagement touchpoints can differ greatly from one another, depending on the objectives of the campaign. There is no single engagement strategy, rather, it changes from time to time, like a chameleon. Some engagement tools work well together, and some, better used solo. Marketers can focus on multiple objectives while engaging their customers, which could range from impacting the bottomline directly, or building positive feeling toward the brand.

The next question then is should we measure engagement, and how? Every form of engagement results provides an insight to form your next strategy. By using available analytics, marketers should mine these data to help them know which campaign worked and which didn’t. Having that said, not everything can be measured effectively.

Having 20,000 or more “Likes” in Facebook in the month of June does not necessarily translate into higher website traffic or more sales. One of the impossible subject to track is also the general positivity a campaign brought to the minds of consumers. Some engagement may not lead to sales but build the brand in a subtle ways that analytics cannot track. Questions such as “How much likability did it produce in current customers?” can only be answered through deductions from other data.

These are some of the ways to effectively create the engagement between your brand and your customers, and to create richer, more relevant experiences:

Developing engaging dialogue with customers

Keep in mind that to be engaging, we need to be sensitive to consumers’ needs in this two-way dialogue. Identify who you want to engage and what their needs are. Audiences should be engaged in the manner and the timing that they want, and by which channels they prefer.

Find out who you are

Identify the essence, personality and voice of your brand and amplify it. Make it detailed and specific to a fault. Then only you will be able to offer a true brand experience related to your brand’s core values. Only relevant and personalised messages are able to drive campaign performance and increase customer lifetime value.

Simplify

Communications are supposed to be easy and natural. When you are developing the engagement process, make it easy for your audience to respond. It should not be layered and formal. Marketers have a shorter timeframe to make a good impression in consumers so having a quick and easy-to-view format will help tremendously.

Create more personalised experiences

Marketers can quickly learn a consumer’s favourite product specifications such as colour, size and price when the consumer interact with the brand’s website. Using the data harvested from the consumer’s response, marketers then can personalise specific messages and recommendations to that particular user.

Moving to the more distant future, marketers will progressively be exercising technologies that will take into account the individual’s preferences and behaviours of million of online customers and at the same time delivering targeted recommendations across all channels. This personalised one-to-one marketing will boost conversion rates, customer satisfaction and loyalty in the entire customer lifetime.

Coming soon: What does engagement hinge upon?

References

Customer engagement, www.wikipedia.org

Engagement marketing, www.wikipedia.org

Trends for 2014: Using data to drive engagement and create personalised experiences

By Anthony Wilkey

http://nmk.co.uk

What is Engagement Marketing?

By Ryan Pinkham

http://blogs.constantcontact.com

What to Seek in an Engagement Marketing Solution?

By Dayna Rothman

http://blog.marketo.com

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