Engagement marketing, what is it all about?

No it’s not new, the essence is about the relationship between you and your customer. The knack is making that a real relationship that has the key ingredients for success. We all know what these are because they exist in all our good friendship.

Trust
Common values
Common interests
Equal give and take on both sides.

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The common values and interests are all about your brand being well defined and the associated activity being well aligned. To some degree these are the easier of the 4 to deliver. The trust and equality is often where targets tempt businesses to compromise. This is not a dilemma that any business escapes. A well managed one may have fewer of them but I don’t believe there is any business that has not been faced with a decision that made them think twice about abusing that relationship just a little.

A small and recent example I had was when I broke the catch on my bin. I could not work out the correct replacement lid so asked the supplier to advise. Instead of selling me a new lid they sent me a replacement catch for free. I was willing to buy a lid and did not know replacement parts were an option but the supplier showed they were worthy of trust by making sure I got the best option as opposed to them making some profit.

A certain online bookseller does the same if you try to buy a book you have bought before they remind you that you have it before you pay. Great news for the customer but it can be tough convincing the business to build into the sales process a way to avoid customers spending money.

Some online grocery shops now automatically deduct offers you are entitled to if you have forgotten to add in the voucher code to make sure you don’t miss out.

Of course I have used minor dilemmas as examples. We all know that the significant ones that make us choose between potentially serious problems for the business and doing the right thing are the ones we loose sleep over.

What you choose to do with them comes back to the list we started with. What choice you make when the time comes defines you as a leader and if you use the sleepless nights to plan how you will manage the issues that come from that decision you will eventually come through the other side and be sleeping much better than if you had gone the other way.

All of it builds the relationship in ways that you would want as the consumer. They demonstrate that the business sees the customer as a long term friend and not just a way to make money. It also gives your staff and partners a signal that will pat dividends one day.

So how well do you understand your customer and what they want? How true to your values are the decisions you make? Engagement has very little to do with sending out surveys. No matter what the size of your organisation, getting out of the business and spending a day or two in your customers shoes learning how to inform these 4 key areas will never give you anything but golden nuggets of information. Get your back to the floor dates in your diary and don’t let them be stolen.

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