Engagement Marketing is Here
The team at Good Monster recently had a call with a mid-size company who was looking to make a big push into engagement marketing. Their goal was to separate themselves from their competition. Now, typically we go into these types of meetings preparing for some push back against this engagement marketing concept.
Even though the term engagement marketing has been around for a while, companies are typically very apprehensive to dive head first into this marketing strategy. It’s usually more of a dip of the toe, maybe posting a few blog posts or pictures of the company holiday party, then waiting for people to comment on them. But this rarely has any impact. The reason? There is little-to-no incentive for the audience to comment, like or share it. Without engaging in conversation with your audience, and showing them your value, they won’t give a crap about your content.
The biggest reason brands are still a bit sluggish with engagement marketing is because they’re stuck with the idea that there needs to be a direct ROI attached with any and all marketing campaigns. They want to know, “If I spend $10,000 on this how much will I get back?”
While engagement marketing definitely has a significant ROI, it’s often not immediately quantifiable. It takes time and effort. Think of it like sales. Most companies hire a sales team to facilitate and continue growth. Any good sales director will tell you that a sales cycle is not an overnight thing. It takes time–identifying leads, filling the funnel, reaching out, following up, answering questions, following up again–all before you get to the sale.
There are slight differences between sales and marketing, but they are both based on the principle of earning your audience’s trust before they even think about buying your product or service. Whether you are a salesperson, or a social media rockstar, you need to earn your audience’s trust.
Needless to say, after hundreds of client meetings, we prepare ourselves to explain what engagement marketing is and why it’s important.
I usually start prospect meetings by giving a background about our agency, what we do, what we stand for, who we are–you know, the typical introductory stuff to show them that we are people underneath our agency. After that, I like to spend a good amount of time learning about the company. I mean, sure, we can do our own research online and look at where their brand is succeeding and where they could improve, but we need to hear it from their mouths. We need to hear what their hopes, dreams and fears are. This is the best and only way to really dive in deep to craft a good solution for a marketing campaign, especially an engagement marketing campaign.
In this particular meeting, after the general introduction of both companies and descriptions of what we stand for, I began to outline the principles of our engagement marketing strategies, our approach, the different platforms that are valuable right now. We tossed around some ideas. Then we prepared for the question.
“Well, what’s the ROI? When can we see that return?”
After fifteen minutes into the conversation, we still didn’t hear this question. Twenty minutes, nothing. Thirty minutes, still hadn’t touched on it. After an hour conversation about how to best implement a engagement marketing campaign across digital and social media platforms, they never once asked, “What would our ROI be?”; I was shocked.
The only change in tone over the course of the conversation was increased excitement about this opportunity. We talked about the attention that they could get. We talked about the types of content that would be created; fun, exciting content that would really make an impact in their audience’s lives. We talked about short-term strategies, long-term strategies and even longer term strategies. We talked about how their brand and their products would be displayed, what their voice would sound like, look like, feel like. We talked about building a cross-platform, in-depth, detailed engagement marketing campaign that would build their brand into a dominant player in their market and gain an amazing amount of attention from their target audience. But nothing about the ROI of social media or engagement marketing.
It was in the very last five minutes that the prospect made a comment about how excited they were to see the long-term return on investment of a engagement marketing campaign. They were sure that this is the direction that they wanted to take their brand and are excited to build something great.
I can tell you that this is not the only time that a prospect or a client has been excited about engagement marketing. But I have to say, that they are one of the few that are “all-in” before we even explain the possibilities.
We are seeing a changing of the tides in marketing. For most marketers and brand, social media is nothing new. But their willingness to invest a significant amount of their time and money into it has been relatively scarce.
If there is one thing that you do as a marketer, understand that whether you’re a B2B, B2C or some mix of the two, engagement marketing is and will be the most effective way to build your brand over the course of the next one, two, five, 10, 20 years. As your potential audience consumes more content via whatever device is trending, it’s going to become more important for you to produce engaging content that they will want to consume and that will earn their trust. Because, in the end, this is really the only way that you’re going to get any sort of ROI from your marketing investment.