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The importance of customer engagement

Digital is everywhere and brands looking to increase their market share and remain memorable to their existing market must take advantage of emerging digital platforms and incorporate them into their strategies if they are to be successful.
Stephanie Walters
One of the biggest areas of opportunity lies in the multiple means of engaging with consumers. Through the use of social media and other media, more and more companies are able to reach new and existing customers to make a memorable impact and increase both likeability and loyalty.

This applies to small, medium, and large companies alike. The potential for engagement is available to all, making it possible for smaller businesses to compete with the big dogs.

“Companies, especially smaller organisations must connect with potential customers in a thoughtful, compelling and unique way.” This, according to a customer engagement study undertaken by Private Company Services (PCS) practice of PwC, is the important role that customer engagement plays in business growth.

Think wider, think more

Clearly, traditional means of engaging with consumers is not as effective as it once was and certainly not if you stick to just one means of distributing information.

In the past, the biggest way to engage with consumers was through a powerful TV advert. The rise of digital and its related platforms has changed this. An article by Think With Google informs us that “90% of TV viewers [visit] YouTube and Google Search,” showing that the use of digital platforms extends their experiences “beyond their television sets.”

If this is the case (and Google would know better than most), with the amount of capital set aside by brands for TV, it makes sense to include a digital experience in these campaigns. Don’t just leave this budget at TV’s door, because the engagement will be cut short and the return won’t be half as good.

Investing in a wider digital strategy and utilising emerging media is how to successfully engage your consumers.

Connected communication

A unified digital strategy is how brands are able to impact online influencers, however, it is becoming apparent that a disconnect exists when executing both the traditional and digital communications – as seen in the above discussion of television as the primary marketing vehicle.

According to the FTI Consulting Digital Engagement Study, “key stakeholder groups value direct interaction.” They no longer solely want traditional means of communications, as seen in how there are distinct gaps between how they choose to engage with and consume information, and how this information is distributed by brands.

It is therefore imperative that brands take their traditional strategies and look to emerging media in order to create an attractive, unified strategy that doesn’t just add in digital as a nice frill, but rather utilises it as the key dissemination vehicle that it is.

The fun side

Exploring this new world of engagement with its ever-growing channels is by no means a headache. It is an exciting realm of opportunity, with rich avenues of return. Take the role that gamification plays in customer engagement.

The key benefit of gamification is engagement – and not necessarily through playable games. Loyalty programmes are a prime gamification example. These programmes, through benefits and rewards and fun activities attract and retain your target market and consumers find themselves engaging with your brand without even realising that they are doing so!

Real interaction = real engagement

Engagement is good, but not all engagement is good. How? Well, an automated voice on the end of a phone call advertising a new deal is a form of engagement. But how effective is this, really? One might argue that it does more damage than good.

The use of scripted communication and technology to process requests and distribute information is not necessarily the kind of engagement that will endear consumers to your brand. The fact is that this kind of engagement is neither attractive, nor does it create a personal, memorable experience.

Consumer engagement is completely necessary if brands want to be memorable and successful, which is why it is important to realise that each touchpoint must leave your customer feeling as though there is a significant connection – whether this is through a flexibly scripted call centre conversation, a loyalty reward earned, or an online advert tailored to each of your market segments.

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About the author

Stephanie Walters is the Digital Advertising Manager for Edgars Club Magazine at Amorphous New Media.

Amorphous' press office

Amorphous
Amorphous is a new media agency focusing on digital solutions, these include, strategy, marketing, user experience, creative and technology which are spread across different platforms such as web, email, mobile, online advertising and variations of these.
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