Good marketing gets the job done, sometimes without drawing attention to itself at all. Done well, customer engagement marketing gets lots of jobs done, but some of us have never even heard of it.
What is customer engagement?
Simply put, customer engagement is the strength of the relationship between a company and its customers. This implies that the ultimate goal of result-focused customer marketing strategies is to establish sustained customer loyalty — the highest engagement rating possible. Conversely, the foundation of every customer engagement platform is to defend against prolific customer churn — the bottom of the engagement barrel. In other words, if established clients are abandoning the customer journey (i.e., churning), it’s fair to say that the business’s customer engagement marketing is failing. The problem is that failure frequently registers when it’s too late to do anything about it.
Customer engagement and your ROI
According to a Forbes report, US companies reflect $62 billion annual losses due to customers abandoning the customer journey due to poor customer service. Indeed, ROI aligns closely with engaging customers for the long term. Alternatively, customer churn goes against all the prescribed metrics to build and sustain healthy profitability. While this seems logical, creating customer loyalty for a company brand is a daunting challenge for any business. Consider the following from a Invesp:
- Losing a customer costs five times more than holding on to one.
- Illogically, 44% of companies focus more on customer acquisition than customer retention. 18% doing it the other way round.
- The rest allocate their efforts equally to the two objectives.
It’s essential to get your priorities right and strategize intelligently for your customer engagement marketing to meet expectations.
Is customer engagement marketing a mainstream strategy?
Customer engagement marketing describes a strategic approach that aims to maximize every opportunity to engage with customers in the way that they want to buy. This may be diametrically different from the way the business prefers to sell. The principles involved apply to B2B and B2C arenas.
For example, businesses might assume that given the pandemic most customers would prefer to make purchases over the internet. Surprisingly, in February of 2021 77% percent of retail sales were through brick-and-mortar shopping. This means that many customers want to buy products in-person. Both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar sales depend critically on digital communications through the internet, social media, and mobile devices to do business. Content and messages through the preferred channels must resonate with one’s audience to make a meaningful difference.
In mature markets where products and services tend to look the same, competitive edge depends more and more on extraordinary customer connections. Customer engagement strategies neglect to take customer psychographics and behavior constructs into account. Management realizes that it’s not necessarily what you say but the way you say it that separates the leaders from the followers. The bottom line is that customer engagement marketing defines the modern approach to optimizing customer loyalty and minimizing customer churn.
So we need to get some important questions out of the way:
- What are examples of engagement marketing? – As engagement marketing focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers to attract and retain them, these are some simple ways to do just that:
- Contests or competitions
- Social media or brand interactions for awareness or experiences
- Q&A sessions
- Community groups and forums
- Customer Appreciation days
Understanding the customer experience as a gateway to a better engagement approach
Customer experience in growth marketing is a close cousin to the content of this article. Without engaging the customer at every touchpoint of the customer journey and moving them on to the next one, there’s little hope for ultimate success. Completing 2021 and moving through the rest of the decade, customer engagement marketing will develop based on awareness of the following five crucial strategic ingredients:
The emphasis is on empowering modern sellers to sell smarter and more effortlessly. It involves supporting your sales and marketing teams with SaaS and other technologies that save your customers time and money. In the B2B markets, the buying decision has shifted to committees, not single buyers. Marketers have to wade through numerous decision influencers (like engineers, IT, HR) whose thoughts all converge on the final decision. Without Zoom conferencing, podcasts, YouTube demonstrations, webinars, and videos, it’s practically impossible to connect to all the players. The one-dimensional sales pitch as an effective engagement tool is genuinely a thing of the past. Your sales and marketing team should understand all aspects of an automated and integrated sales enablement platform and navigate it easily.
An Adobe study asserts that businesses that springboard their customer engagement off omnichannel platforms have registered:
- A 10% increase in year-on-year growth
- A 10% increase in the average order value over three years
- A 25% improvement in conversion rates within three years
Onboard savvy sales and marketing people
A massive customer engagement “no-no” falls firmly on hiring people unable to empathize with customer needs. All too often, a good sales representative in touch with CX exits the position, leaving a hole that needs filling. In its haste to retain continuity, management tries to jam a square peg into a round hole. The net result is a touchpoint disaster soon after that derails the customer journey, and all the previous headway that had built-up disintegrates. It, therefore, brings employee retention practices into the picture. It revolves around holding on to the proven skills and talent as a lifeline to customer retention. Indeed, employee retention strategies impact everything throughout your employee life cycle — starting with your day-one sales and marketing training.
In a volatile environment where disruption is likely the only certainty, never losing sight of customer engagement is fundamental. You must ensure that your employees throughout the organization (i.e., those in customer support, after-sales service, or closing the deal), can deliver the right message for every conversation. If you can establish that at each touchpoint, the process should move forward smoothly to the check-out.
Respect time and the power of content
Customer engagement marketing as a concept only has teeth if it leads to delivering value in the fastest possible time. It’s dependent on being in sync with your customers’ motivations, stresses, emotions, and thoughts. Buyers today respond to a differentiated buying experience. Turning new prospects into new customers aligns with marketing initiatives finding the distinctive gaps that give you an opening to get ahead of the curve. One of the massive constructs in the messaging mix that can do this for you is content. Content that tells a story and provides compelling benefits at the same time will lead any customer engagement strategy — as long as it delivers:
- Meaningful information precisely when it’s needed.
- Itself through the media that is most popular with your audience.
- Data-driven product features.
- Undeniable brand connections.
- Shared experiences and solutions.
Close to 80% of marketing professionals around the globe expect content-centric campaigns to lead the way at least through to 2021. To back this up, 86% signaled that content marketing is their primary consideration when developing customer engagement strategies. A Prezi report found that:
- When a brand’s story lacks substance, people disengage.
- 33% of people bounce if the presentation isn’t visually stimulating.
- Many interviewees pointed out that content with heavy text or bullet points is a story disruptor.
- On the other side of the coin, 55% insisted that “a great story captures their focus and keeps them engaged with content.”
Create and maintain trust
Customer engagement and brand trust go hand in hand. It’s a fundamental measure of how much confidence customers have in product or service proposals. It builds based on how consistently your team delivers on promoted promises and adheres to its declared values. The more customers identify with a brand representing their aspirations, family connection, social groups, and self-image, the more likely customer loyalty drives the customer journey. This is where customer feedback plays a central role by monitoring message credibility.
Differentiate your brand at every possible turn
The word “best” is loosely used in advertising and website headlines. However, if companies can go the extra mile, their success should color the benefit package offered to customers. Features that translate as engaging (as long as customers genuinely believe the claims) are as follows:
- An all-in-one solution so there’s no hassle jumping from one vendor to the next for completion
- Cutting-edge technology providers offering affordable machine learning options
- Implementation services that take all the heavy lifting off customers’ shoulders
- Industry-best solutions that stand out as exceptional
- Customer reviews that talk to customers’ significant pain areas
- 3D and augmented reality solutions
- Proximity marketing that moves toward real-time marketing, allowing marketers to offer incentives or recommend products as customers pass or enter a store.
An excellent example of brand engagement with all the cogs turning is Amazon Prime. Prime leverages entertainment to reward e-commerce customer loyalty with an endless line-up of free movies and television shows. It’s all based on customer interaction data to provide customized movie and show options for each viewer. This personalization process accelerates shopping through Amazon, great word-of-mouth referrals, and, of course, relaxed entertainment.
A Customer Engagement Platform
Yes, this is a must. There’s no better company to advise you on this aspect than Sogolytics. Their customer experience software erases data silos, stratifies customer data, and integrates the most effective omnichannel customer engagement tools. The Sogolytics team is way ahead of the curve for brands interacting with customers, every possible customer feedback survey, and what metrics to monitor. Their engagement strategy experience will allow you to unlock your growth potential with a customer engagement platform that fires on all cylinders.
In summary, customer engagement marketing takes you outside the transaction to place customer loyalty on a pedestal, even when there’s no direct buying activity. Complete customer satisfaction relies on content that can reward consumers from all directions (like the Amazon Prime example shown above). It requires innovative thinking and creativity from all sales enablement personnel to keep the momentum going.
Ready to improve engagement with your customers? Connect with the Sogolytics team today!