9 Trends Defining Consumer Engagement

  |  September 7, 2012   |  Comments

Here’s a look at the latest key trends shaping our marketing future and defining consumer engagement in the areas of gamification, mobile, social media, email, and beyond.

Arild Horsberg, the CEO of Bring Dialog, recently presented to a group of “472 friends or marketing peers” on key trends defining consumer engagement. I captured his insight and peppered it with some thoughts of my own.

Before we begin, consider this: Scandinavian countries have amongst the highest level of adoption with smartphones, and mobile adoption is where we are all headed as consumers.

1. Gamification

Gamification allows businesses to make their technology more engaging. It also allows the business to watch the consumer “play” out scenarios or go down a particular path. If done correctly, this approach allows the business to grab the consumer’s attention and tap into some very valuable input.

Have you ever thought of using gamification to encourage your consumers to fill out their preferences?

2. Mobile

Smartphones are becoming more capable and the consumer realizes that what they do, where they are, and how much money they have can be easily tracked. NFC, or Near Field Communications, is driving some interesting innovation by allowing you to simply “tap” your way through a transaction.

A crucial hurdle deals with the consumers’ acceptance of mobile as a payment standard. The good news is that mobile payments are becoming more accepted in the consumers’ minds. You know them, you spot them, you transact!

3. Augmented Reality

We see this so often on TV when the trajectory of a ball can be predicted based on the way the ball is thrown. The International Cricket Council actually uses augmented reality predictions to determine an “out” in international contests. Home designers use augmented reality to show a consumer how different colors might blend together.

Wouldn’t showing how “jewelry” looks on a particular “dress” be more effective in lieu of a simple cross sell?

4. Social Media

We know about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and so much more. The key to success is to focus on two important things:

  • Think about leveraging the capabilities of social channels to amplify communication.
  • Think about leveraging insights from social channels to create more personal relationships.

Business should look for ways to integrate social media into their communication mix.

5. Email Marketing

Don’t listen to the pundits who claim its demise. Email is in a state of revival and a very personal way for you to connect and communicate with your consumers.

We need to think about creating a relevant stream of messaging that covers the three broad categories of email: informational, marketing, and transactional messaging.

6. Creative

Are you focusing on human emotions? Precision marketing allows you to use tactics such as segmentation, A/B testing, and control groups to help you optimally target the consumers that you seek. But to really connect you need to focus in on the emotional aspects – your creative needs to inspire the consumer to transact.

7. Organization

The success of your venture depends on the ability of your organization to execute. Successful organizations can react quickly, are knowledgeable, and are listening to consumer feedback.

The new organizational structure for success has become more flat, as information can flow quickly and timely decisions can be made.

8. Apps

The virtual world is full of apps – incredibly engaging, incredibly useless, and then of course the other extreme of being mostly worthless. However, an app is going to be your gateway to communicate effectively with your consumer.

By offering “concierge” type services you can draw your consumers in, leverage gamification to get them to interact, and let them build out possibilities through augmented reality. Businesses need to invest in these utility apps to build value relationships with their consumers.

9. Business at the Speed of Sound

Some innovate to succeed, and some copy quickly and make things better. For a business to be successful, we need to realize that technology makes it easy for us to quickly mimic what someone else is doing and perhaps turn it around and do it much better and faster.

One of the few ways to differentiate your brand when price and product become alike is to act faster than your competition. Launch your new products, process your campaigns faster (and with more accuracy) than your competitors, and all of a sudden you have a new universal selling proposition.

Lessons for Marketers

Horsberg spoke in Norwegian (I only know how to say thank you and good luck), but I captured my first round of notes by simply listening to the examples that he spoke about. There are a lot of lessons for us, and even if we simply watch where they are headed, we are able to apply a lot of the learning to what we are doing at our own organizations.

Ha det bra!


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Sundeep Kapur

Sundeep Kapur has been assisting organizations with their converged channel marketing strategies since 1990. From direct marketing to digital to converged, he is a passionate teacher who works with businesses across multiple industries, helping them to enable technology and services to brand, and personalize and speak to consumers more effectively.

He is an industry-recognized expert who has delivered keynotes, run panels, and delivered "relevant, inspirational, and outstanding" education for organizations around the world.

Sundeep is also an avid user of social media, having leveraged words, pictures, and video into a conversational digital book. His daily dose of best practices can be found at www.EmailYogi.com, where he has more than 1,200 articles on best practices.

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