Customer engagement is a hot button topic for a lot of brands. Most marketing managers desire their brands to be on the forefront of the minds of their target consumers. New data from Korn/Ferry International indicates that customer engagement keeps the majority of marketing executives (52 percent) awake at night. The characterization of “awake at night” could have been phrased in the way that it was for sensationalistic impact, but the fact of the matter is that marketing executives concern themselves with the concept of engagement and metrics that measure it. In fact, 30% of Korn/Ferry survey respondents cited “Creating sustainable & engaging customer relationships” as their top concern. 22% cited “Customer experience”. There’s a lot of overlap between customer experience and engaging customer relationships.
Brand engagement can be categorized both in the I and D of the AIDA model. There needs to be some level of interest in the brand to desire to have some sort of engagement with it, and engagement can be considered a way to develop and nurture desire to take action. This is why marketers see it as a key part of the marketing mix.
Various communication channels play an integral role in developing customer engagement. Branded communication messages in online mediums are a way to provide opportunities for engagement, particularly in the social media space, where there are opportunities for people to comment on social media updates or post messages on a brand’s Wall, Feed or in the comments section of YouTube videos, should that feature be enabled. Some of the commentary can be valuable and other comments provide little value and can serve to frustrate the marketer.
Facebook provides a People Talking About This (PTAT) feature, and PTAT serves as a form of brand engagement measurement. Typical PTAT is around 1.4% for a number of the largest brands, which is not an impressive statistic in terms of percentage of the population actively engaged but does provide brands hope that are not producing impressive engagement. Many brands are not engaging extremely well and still producing quality financial results. In April, I detailed some of Nike’s struggles with engagement, and they have $24 Billion worth of sales. Still, most brands would prefer to be in a position where they are delivering more engagement than less, but ultimately the financial results matter more with most brands than awareness and engagement metrics.
A lack of customer engagement is tied to content management, much of it within the digital marketing space. Content management across the spectrum of online channels is one of the main pain points and challenges for marketers both in the present and in the years to come. More engagement can lead to more of the actions that brands want customers and potential customers to take.