There is a must read book for any marketer called The Age of Engage  : Reinventing Marketing for Today´s Connected Collaborative, and Hyperinteractive Culture. The book basically explains the role of the Web to develop marketing strategies. It claims that that the role of Internet should go beyond the traditional corporate web site, and explore how to interact with customers through traditional digital tools and social communities such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in.
However, in spite of being a great book, it could induce the marketer to a big mistake that I would like to address: The thought that engagement is necessarily done through digital tools . This is far from real and let me explain you why.
The fact that the customer has evolved from a passive to an active state is a fact. Customers do not want to be told what to do. They want to be listened, to have a say in their adopted companies and brands and be eventually involved. In other words, gaining a customer is not any more a combination of imposition + persuasion, but a balance between attractiveness + value + engagement. It used to work by combining great products + with great communication + properly managed distribution. Not any more I am afraid. As we have debated in previous postings, the customer has become smarter and claim to be individually recognized.
Needless to say that the referred digital tools are relevant tools that we need to understand and optimize, butI am afraid that they are not enough in themselves. Engagement does not have recipes (sorry for that) and requires holistic approaches that will of course consider those digital tools but will go beyond them.
Quite obvious, you may say. And you are certainly right! However, after debating with quite a few colleagues, speaking with lots of consultants, doing a lot of reading and, of course, speaking to students, I somehow have the impression that our desperate search for “marketing recipes”, is leading us to a new one The Digital one.
Going back to the book for instance, you can find really good examples that have built powerful communication channels through the web, like Starbcuks. Indeed, digital tools have helped them to make the difference but, have they really made the difference by themselves? Certainly not. When reading Mr Schultz book about the Starbcuks relaunch, you can see that he speaks about going back to its roots and specifically taking back the customer service that eventually forged the brand.
Another good example could be found in specific industries such as traditional B2B ones. How is engagement created? How do you develop a customer relationship and keep it high for years? How do you make the difference in the long run? Again, by a mixture of initiatives that cover the entire Marketing Entity.
Shall we forget those Digital Marketing Tools? Please not! They will turn out to be incredibly useful if not essential! But please be aware that Engagement requires more than that…
I look forward for your views and thoughts.
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