We hear about engagement, we talk about engagement and we aim to engage our clients and prospects that will in turn return us unsurpassed loyalty. Oh and I almost forgot, business naturally.
But are we?
Digital engagement is a very complex topic and I would like to explain and discuss it in more details in this column.
It’s argued that engagement is best executed in the offline world. I agree. Why? Because we were biologically given the ability to collect data, analyze, and dynamically put it in the right context.
Talking about offline engagement, here’s my example to illustrate engagement. You know this little place down by the street corner? The one you visit almost every lunch/dinner or is it your local grocery store or coffee shop?
My local place is a restaurant that serves international cuisine – everyone finds something there from spaghetti, steak, vegetarian to Asian etc. The food is overpriced for the quality but yet tasty. Sounds like a mediocre place but I keep on coming back. Every Saturday for dinner, and my wife goes there at least once a week for coffee. True, I’m a creature of habit, guilty as charged, but the work they do around their clients is amazing. When we get there (at least my wife, they don’t like me so much) there’s always a place for us – we don’t need to book in advance. They know what we eat, so they ask if we want the regular coffee that’s long black, decaf with skimmed milk etc. They know my children and my friends and can easily tell when I’ve not been there for a while or when we celebrate events. Last time my in laws were visiting, my father-in-law got a bottle of champagne for his birthday. I just love going there. Sure I can find cheaper or tastier food but this is home.
If we would be able to mimic this level of engagement onto the online world, it’s very likely that we would be able to give our customer an amazing digital experience.
To do that, there are 4 different questions that if answered and executed correctly will provide our customers the ultimate experience with our brand. Some call it the customer experience or customer journey:
1. Who is the customer?
2. What content best fits the customer?
3. When should the customer be reached?
4. How/ Where to reach the customer?
Let’s break it down to a short discussion.
Who is the customer?
Take Ryan a 31 years old male for example that never buy products from my company and just registered to receive more information on my products/services. And now let’s look at Lucy a 37-year-old female, she used to buy at least US$ 1,300 from my brand each month and did not buy for the last 2.5 months. These are two different clients. Each can be found in a different path across the customer lifecycle. One should be converted to an active client, the other is about to churn and thus I need to bring her back to the pool of active customers.
The point is we need to know where the customers are positioned along our customer lifecycle.
What content fits the customer best?
Very few online companies serves great content, content that even I didn’t know existed. For me it has always been: Pandora, Netflix, Amazon and I also have to mention that LinkedIn is doing a great job around content discovery and recommendation. Predictive marketing tools are coming to our rescue and helping us to provide customers and prospects relevant content according to their behavior. Content should no longer focus on what we think it’s the best but what the customer really wants.
When we’re looking at content and recommendations, the journey doesn’t stop at the website – it should be stretched to email as well.
Most innovative marketers today will also remarket/retarget, so as to try and get in touch with you on other websites.
Still with me?
When should the customer be reached?
Referring to my first example of Ryan and Lucy, it’s now time to drive content and incentive that will help Ryan become a customer. If we wait an additional month or two to get in touch with Lucy, it’s likely that we’ve lost her as a customer. Automatic lifecycle programs help detect behavioral change and automatically send the right message at the right time.
How/ where to reach the customer?
In the interconnected world we’re living in today, each customer interacts digitally differently with your brand via: social, web, mobile, and email. Apart from being consistent with your messaging across the digital channels, you need to identify the preferred channel of your customer and ensure the message is being delivered in the right channel. Talk about conversions and that’s the way to go.