Customer engagement is akin to many of the catch phrases that pop up in marketing lingo from time to time. These often take the marketing world by storm, and then eventually subside. However, customer engagement seems here to stay. Essentially, it is a strategic approach to marketing that seeks to engage customers on a more individual level. The rationale being, that this will allow the company to be more responsive to changes in customer needs, and behavior. Customer engagement takes direct marketing up several notches, by focusing more on two way communication.
The advent of social media added a new dimension to the marketing landscape. Because of the ease with which messages, both good and bad, can become viral, marketers have found it increasingly important to start listening to customers. Marketing is no longer limited to just sending a message to the customer, but rather, marketers are being forced to listen to what those customers have to say, and engage them.
If businesses opt not to engage customers, they risk being caught unawares by negative feedback, as they will not know what is being said about their brand. Social media sites have empowered consumers, so that they are now able to influence how well a brand sells. They are able to use email, websites, blogs, or other social networking tools, to express opinions about products and services, and influence what others buy.
Dissatisfied customers can damage a brand, making it lose its position in the marketplace. So customer engagement must move beyond words, and ensure that stated brand promises are adhered to. These promises should focus on the key areas of customer service, and product quality. When a brand loses ground in the marketplace it can have immediate repercussions, and this is particularly harmful to the small business, that relies heavily on social media marketing.
Engaging customers involves:
Listening to customers. Acting on the feedback you receive is the indication that you have heard what has been said by the customer. If you fail to act on this information, then you miss out on the opportunity to improve your product and gain market share.
Creating value. The brand must satisfy the need of the consumer so they must understand what the product offers.
Also consider the following:
Customers that are engaged are loyal. They are more likely to continue buying the brand, and becoming repeat purchasers. They will stay with you for the long term, and shore up profitability.
Customers that are engaged will buy more. Yes they will! Because they are satisfied with the brand and the service being provided.
Customers that are engaged become brand advocates. Brand advocates hold sway over other consumers, and their recommendations can play a significant role in attracting new purchasers. The connection they feel to the brand make them trustworthy marketing associates, as they are interested in helping others share in the brand experience.
Customer engagement is a more individual approach to marketing. It centers around engaging individual customers so that they feel connected to the business process, and become loyal to the brand. It has become apparent that it is much more than a catch phrase, but is evolving into a key component in a business’ ability to survive in the marketplace.