The goals of just about every company can be summarized pretty quickly: to acquire customers efficiently, grow their lifetime value and convert them into loyal advocates who influence new customers.
The social and mobile world has made it very hard to drive that cycle.
Buyers are now more empowered. They have access to a seemingly endless amount of information and they are forming opinions and drawing conclusions way before they even choose to interact with a brand. A study conducted by Forrester’s found that 2/3rds to 90% of a buyer’s journey today is self-directed, happening before buyers interact directly with the brand.
On top of that, customers are hit with almost 3,000 messages per day! This makes it very difficult for a brand to stay top of mind and relevant. If it can’t do that, it can’t grow the lifetime value of its customers.
With banner ads and other messages being tuned out, buyers are now being influenced by other buyers. A study by McKinsey shows that up to 50% of purchasing decisions are influenced by advocates. Clearly, marketing is shifting from the traditional technique of mass marketing and transactional marketing to engagement marketing.
Shifting to Engagement Marketing
We know social and mobile technologies have changed the way marketing is interacting with people. Yet, brands are still using old marketing “schools of thought” with these new technologies simply because “this is how we’ve always done it.” It is time to change.
If today’s digital world has shown us anything it’s that the “click” is only the beginning of a customer relationship, not the end. Marketing has shifted from talking at people or focusing on transactions, to engaging with people – building meaningful, life-long, and personalized relationships.
Engagement Marketing is about connecting with people.
For individuals, engagement marketing means shifting from mass communication to targeted, personal communication. This means understanding a customer’s individual preference, history and relationship with your brand. Persona-based marketing may speak to “typical” buyers, but 1:1 engagement marketing speaks to customers as a single person with their own style, behaviors and set of preferences.
Engagement marketing moves away from demographic marketing to marketing based on behavior. Instead of assuming what a customer is interested in because they fit a certain profile, engagement marketing uses data to tell you precisely who to target, with what and when.
Take Down the Silos
Siloed communications does not take into account the reality of today’s customer moving from email, to Facebook, to blogs, to a brand’s website, back to other social media channels. Engagement marketing shifts this to an integrated marketing approach. It is now about “omni-channel,” not just multi-channel. In order to achieve this, marketers need to create consistent experiences across every single platform, continuing a conversation from one channel or device to the next.
Engagement marketing does not rely on disconnected, point-in-time campaign blasts. What it does rely on is a continuous process. Engagement marketing responds to customers at every stage of the purchasing process and keeps them engaged to the ultimate point of purchase. It constantly flows and every interaction asks for another interaction thus creating a longer chain of events. With this, a customer’s first purchase is just the beginning of their value.
We all have goals right? What engagement marketing does is it moves from unclear objectives to clear customer journeys. Every interaction moves customers further along their lifecycle. Your goal is to move those buyers into the next phase with call-to-actions that are targeted with laser focus.
As marketers we need a measurable impact. Engagement marketing is measurable with advanced analytics and reporting. You can track customer actions and tie them to a specific tactic. With this, you can then optimize going forward and show marketing as a revenue-driver.
With the technology available to consumers combined with the fact that these consumers are always on the go, it’s necessary to coordinate marketing campaigns faster and more efficiently. Tasks that were a “time suck” can now be done in minutes to manage volume and complexity. Campaigns across multiple channels become a coordinated effort and what’s more, engagement marketing allows for total scalability.