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Engagement marketing is more than relationship building

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 27 Oct, 2014
Essential Essential topic

Introducing the 7 principles of engagement marketing

engagement-marketingJust a few generations ago, the world of doing business was driven by face-to-face relationships.  Many of us have heard stories from grandparents who talked about their butcher or baker as if they were old friends. These unique and intimate relationships were powerful, built strong relationships with customers and ultimately drove customer loyalty.

This concept was one of the main casualties of the digital revolution – as buying moved into online channels and a plethora of new tools and channels became available to marketers to help them to communicate with customers in a digital world. Databases were blasted, demand was generated and victory was achieved – in the short-term at least.

But in today’s digital world, buyers are more becoming ever more empowered.  Steadily, buyers have acquired the power to define their own buying process so the days of marketers interrupting customers and prospects with their own agendas seem out-of-place in an ever-more information rich world.

That’s why it’s up to marketers to become the stewards of the customer journey and build a bond with customers wherever they are – whether that means engaging on social media, presenting a unified experience across devices, or personalising content and communications. We call this 'engagement marketing'.

7 principles of engagement marketing

Here are the seven distinct principles of Engagement Marketing;

  •  1. Engaging people as individuals 

Today’s buyers demand ultra-relevant communications that speak to them as individuals not personas – and regardless of what industry you are in; you’re marketing to individuals at the end of the day. Think people-to-people rather than business-to-business or business-to-consumer.

So whether you’re talking to a CIO about hardware, or parents about the right savings plans for their children’s future, you’ll need to know their preferences, history, relationship with your company, stage in the buying journey, and more. While persona-based marketing defines and speaks to your 'typical' buyers, engagement marketing speaks to individuals, on their own terms.

  • 2. Engaging people based on what they do

Engagement marketing bases communications on behaviours, not demographics. While demographics can tell you what a customer might be interested in; behaviours tell you what they are actually interested in.

Rather than assuming that, because a buyer fits a certain profile, he will be interested in a certain product, we can now target individuals based on how they actually behave.

You can also use behaviours on one channel – say, an interaction on your company’s Twitter feed – to inform marketing on another channel – such as the message that appears when that person visits your website.

  • 3. Engaging people wherever they are

Today’s customer is everywhere – online and offline. They move seamlessly from one channel to the next, jumping from email, to Facebook, to their favourite blog, to your website, then back to social media – all without losing momentum, and from whatever device they are using.

Marketing is no longer about being 'multi-channel'; it’s about being omni-channel. To meet your customers wherever they are, you need to deliver an integrated customer experience across every single platform. That’s why an engagement approach requires you to create a consistent experience for your customers – one that acknowledges the nuances of individual channels, yet still presents a unified message.

  • 4, Engaging people continuously over time

True engagement marketing is a not about points in time - it is a continuous process. We now have the opportunity to listen and respond to every customer at every stage of his purchase, keeping him engaged and helping to drive purchase decisions. It’s not about individual messages, or even individual campaigns – every interaction asks for another interaction, and is part of a longer chain. 

  • 5. Engaging people towards a goal 

Engagement marketing isn’t about relationship-building for its own sake – it’s about relationship-building toward a goal.

At each phase of the buyer’s journey – from acquisition to advocacy – your goal is to move those buyers into the next phase. And to do so, you need a clear understanding of that journey, and a clear call-to-action in all of your marketing.

  •  6. Engaging people with measurable impact

Unfortunately, the idea that marketing is an 'arts and crafts' function persists today – even as marketing is increasingly the function responsible for driving customer engagement (and therefore profits).

While the success of marketing activities was once difficult – if not impossible – to measure, modern marketing technology empowers marketers to do just that. The right platform, combined with smart organisational and process alignment, makes it possible to connect the dots between that email you sent last month, that event you hosted last year, and the revenue your CEO reports in an earnings call.

  • 7.  Engaging people at the speed of digital

When practising engagement marketing, marketers now coordinate dizzying numbers of campaigns across multiple channels and teams. An engagement marketing platform allows marketers to do the work with the biggest impact faster and more efficiently, making the assets which compose a given program – emails, landing pages, forms, segmentations, and workflows – easy to replicate and complete. Using an engagement marketing platform, marketers can complete these often-tedious tasks in minutes, freeing them up to focus on what matters most – engaging with buyers.

You can download the ebook of the 7 Principles of Engagement Marketing, to find out how to create a successful engagement marketing strategy for acquiring new buyers, growing their lifetime value, and converting them into advocates!

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