The 4 Cs of Customer Engagement: The People Want Content!

  |  July 29, 2014   |  Comments

When your goal is to create amazing customer experiences that build engagement and earn loyalty, your data-driven content priorities should become these "four Cs": choice, customization, connect, and communicate.

I've had many conversations with retailers over the years about the struggle to introduce content into an offer-based messaging flow. Offers and discounts are about transactions, so email, mobile, display, and social discount offers and coupons drive more short-term revenue. Revenue is good for business, and it matters in a marketing strategy! However, content engages people and builds loyalty - so it's important, too. How can we find the right balance?

A few studies back this up. Turns out that what people want is more content and fewer offers. A whopping 64 percent of customers would like to receive more content from their grocers, and 83 percent feel that their retailers are not providing sufficient information and resources to help them meet their lifestyle goals, according to a recent study by global consulting firm emnos. This suggests that marketing engagement will be more than just what is on sale, and must include relevant content like a recipe or whitepaper or fun fact or tip of the day.

Social sharing trends support this trend, as well. While many people share a discount code, they are more likely to talk about their engagement with a brand - how they used the product in their lives. That speaks to the need for content to encourage immersion in the brand experience.

Loyalty is more than transactions. Another survey from data insight company ClickFox, states that about 32 percent of consumers said they're most willing to share personal data if they feel loyal to a brand. Most marketers have rich experience in this opportunity, what I call the "data covenant." People will provide personal data by choice when the marketer agrees to respect their privacy, protect the data, and provide something useful in return. Great deals and sales notices are certainly valuable, but they apparently are a saturated commodity in our online research-driven lifestyles. Content will nurture, differentiate, and expand the brand promise.

How can retailers and other marketers make the transition from pure offers to solutions? Simply, consider how to sync coupons with content. For example, the emnos study found that 46 percent of shoppers are interested in receiving snack ideas from their grocery retailer, and 61 percent say eating healthy on a budget is a major concern. Wish lists easily extend to recipes and good lifestyle choices, and surveys can give retailers more data with which to customize content marketing. Content is also an excellent way to engage prospects and identify what types of offers will best lead to their first transaction. The "data covenant" rule above suggests that marketers should first demonstrate value - give content to get brand interest - and then offer a discount to close the deal.

All that custom nurturing runs on data, of course, and can be powered in large part by dynamic content and your marketing automation solution. When your goal is to create amazing customer experiences that build engagement and earn loyalty, your data-driven content priorities become these "four Cs":

  1. Choice. Make sure that people understand what data you are using, and why the use of it will provide more value to them.
  2. Customization. While the surveys don't say it expressly, I suspect that content for content's sake is not good enough. It's got to be the RIGHT content (and yes, say it with me, in the right channel at the right time on the right device...).
  3. Connect. Data helps us recognize our customers as people, not just CRM records. That investment comes back in spades, because positive, relevant experiences encourage people to share and meet each other, which has an additive effect on total value.
  4. Communicate. Without data-driven customer insights, marketers must rely only on generic responses, which never feel engaging. Personalized communications work smarter toward brand loyalty.

Do you see the need to transition from offers to solutions? What are the best-performing approaches for your business? Please comment below for discussion.

Image via Shutterstock.

ClickZ Live New York Want to learn more?
Attend ClickZ Live New York March 30 - April 1. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live brings together over 60 expert speakers to offer an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!


Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller is a partner with brand and marketing technology strategy firm TopRight Partners, which helps customers use the technology they have today to do the marketing they want to do today and tomorrow. She is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable customer experiences. A digital marketing and CRM expert, she helps sophisticated marketers balance the right mix of people, process, and technology to optimize a data-driven content marketing strategy. She speaks and writes regularly and leads several industry-wide initiatives. Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT toprightpartners DOT com or @stephanieSAM.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!




Featured White Papers

A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software

A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software
Manage your performance marketing with the right solution. Choose a platform that will mutually empower advertisers and media partners!

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.


    • Website Optimizer - SEO, CRO, Analytics
      Website Optimizer - SEO, CRO, Analytics (Marcel Digital) - ChicagoMarcel Digital, an award winning interactive marketing agency established in 2003...
    • Director of Marketing
      Director of Marketing (Patron Technology) - New YorkDirector of Marketing We are seeking a Director of Marketing to manage and build our marketing...
    • Senior Interactive Producer
      Senior Interactive Producer (Ready Set Rocket) - New YorkWhat You'll Do As a member of our team, the Senior Producer reports directly to our...