In today’s highly connected digital world, marketers have access to real-time customer data than ever before to engage consumers in personal and relevant ways. At the same time, it’s becoming challenging to leave an impact on your customers with the avalanche of marketing messages. If the sole aim of your marketing strategy is to sell more, then you’ll not unlock any karma points in the long run. It’s easy to get a sale by throwing away discounts, but it’s harder to earn customer loyalty. Marketing strategies are no longer about the purchase; it’s about an engaged customer base.
As the old saying goes “No one likes to be sold; everyone likes to buy.” Gone are the days when marketing and selling meant the same. Today, brands are investing heavily in social media channels like Snapchat, Instagram just to maintain a dialogue with their audiences.
An engaged customer will turn into a loyal customer in no time. Here are the key Rules for Engagement Marketing.
#Rule 1: Humanize your brand with user-generated content
If your storytelling is all about your brand, then it will be perceived as advertising. The only way to authenticate your storytelling is by leveraging user-generated content.
Comscore says brand engagement increases an average of 28% when users are exposed to a combination of user created product videos and professional content.
The new marketing approach is to put the customers on the center stage. Brands have changed the way storytelling has been done by using user-generated content to influence millennial shoppers. Instead of tooting their own horn, e-commerce brands are using UGC in a whole lot of creative ways from engaging their customers to brand building and to increase conversions.
Home improvement retailer Lowe ran a successful Vine campaign “Fix in Six” featuring six-second stop-motion videos on DIY home improvement tricks and tips. GoPro had a massive increase in their revenue with their “Creator’s Challenge” user generated videos, Warby Parker’s Home Try-On Program was a huge success with the social factor integrated into it. The brand garnered a massive social buzz with customers posting pictures wearing the glasses on their social media sites.
User generated videos don’t require any marketing budget and are a hit with everyone from small retailers to luxury brands like Burberry. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2C companies budgeted UGC in 2015.
#Rule 2: Make your marketing less transactional and more interactional
Bombarding your customers with too many marketing messages can only spell doom in this era of customer-centric marketing. Today, sending the right content to the right person throughout the buyer journey is the premise of every good marketing strategy.
In this age of instant gratification, engaging customers at every touch point of the purchase journey is essential for delivering a consistent and engaging experience. For example, welcoming a new customer on board is a classic example of how brands are engaging their customers from the beginning, just like you would in any other relationship, thus resulting in increased customer engagement, improved sales, and retention.
Lifecycle marketing when done correctly, will not just shorten your purchase cycle but will also help you win customer loyalty.
#Rule 3: Engage customers across channels
The consumer journey is spanned across multiple touch points–devices, applications, and more. With every siloed interaction you’re losing sight of your customer and engaging them with relevant experiences is highly impossible–unless you have a single customer view. The only way to connect the dots and truly understand your customer is by conjoining all engagement points.
The single customer view is the sacred path to driving omnichannel intelligence to engage with today’s empowered buyers.
#Rule 4: Predict and engage
The best way to engage your customers is by giving them what they want—much like a personal concierge. With artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms, predicting customer behavior will help you proactively engage your customers.
“Investment in artificial intelligence will triple as firms look to tap into complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine-learning technology,” according to a 2017 Forrester research report on the “Age of the Customer.”
The deluge of data has untapped customer insights, and machine-learning algorithms hold power to engage customers with contextual and relevant messaging. For example, a customer who has purchased a dress will be interested in receiving footwear/accessory recommendations to complete her look. You can engage a customer with relevant recommendations and predict their purchasing behaviors based on their past purchases.
Engagement marketing is the new ROI-driver. Spending time and money on acquisition without any engagement strategy in place is a recipe for disaster.