In search of knowledge a leading marketer tries to find out what precisely “engagement” means – and whether you should seek it
Since I knew him as a young pup at American Express Martin Chilcott has worked all over the world for leading brands. Like all good people he is curious – and sceptical
He sent me this today:
I always encourage audiences to ask those promoting the need for greater ‘engagement’ to ask ”so what do you actually mean by engagement?”
This still gets a big laugh, but little other input.
So I thought I should do some research and happened upon a typical Corporate Employee Engagement Consultant (groan!) definition.
They defined ‘employee engagement ‘as feeling ‘involved’ and being ‘committed’.
Not much else was advanced as to what this meant, although it did remind me of the old joke about ‘bacon and eggs’ – the Hen is involved, but the Pig is committed.
So I thought, I’ll just google ‘Customer engagement?’ and as usual Wikipedia have done their SEO homework and secured first place amongst the herd.
Customer engagement (CE) is the engagement of customers with one another, with a company or a brand. The initiative for engagement can be either consumer- or company-led and the medium of engagement can be on or offline.
So still none the wiser I pressed on.
Customer engagement has been discussed widely online; hundreds of pages have been written, published, read and commented upon. Numerous high-profile conferences, seminars and roundtables have either had CE as a primary theme or included papers on the topic.
However, despite plenty of discussion, still no mention of what the f**k it is.
But then enlightenment beckoned when I happened upon the adobe blog ‘Demystifed’, that sought to achieve its eponymous mission, by explaining how to calculate an ‘engagement index’.
Its key variables are: how often I returned to a website, the amount of time I spent there, the number of site feeds to which I subscribed (1 or zero for most I would have thought e.g. the ubiquitous ‘our newsletter’ sign up).
And finally the amount of ‘critical’ content viewed (presumably jolly important stuff that the Brand Manager thinks we should ‘engage’ with).
At last someone was shining a light on this dark corner of the Marketing lexicon, until it appears their case study shows that the higher the ‘engagement’ on their own Analytics website from various marketing sources, the LOWER the conversions i.e. SALES!
I propose that no one should try and develop a single ‘engagement’ index, but rather look at where the customer is in relation to even thinking about your product, let alone buying it and the action required to get them closer to parting with their hard earned cash.
…AND what if I could wrap it all up in plain English, which created a snappy and relevant acronym to enlighten the hipsters and inhabitants of W1A?
-Recognise some relevance quickly
-Exclude other distractions and continue reading
-Feel good about what’s on offer
-Explore to confirm at least one good reason for decision
-Respond (Visiting, Enquiring, Buying, Donating, Voting, Commenting, Sharing)
It also neatly torpedoes any fool’s errand to just generate awareness (or in the modern world ‘likes’) and recognises the importance of preference over other things, including competitors’ products and videos of cats.
Then I thought, hang on a minute isn’t that just AIDCA? Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction/Commitment, Action.
Back to the drawing board or back to the basics – and ignore the latest engagement bullshit.
I am not Martin’s agent, but he is an excellent speaker and damn good if you have a serious marketing problem to solve. He’s at http://hotchillymarketing.com/