Interdependence, interconnection, and consumer power: this is what the internet has given us. We can all agree (consumers and businesses) that this is a blessing and a curse: new resources, more choices, more competition, more consumer interaction. From our class readings, Shutltz and Wilhem both conclude that marketers must adapt to the changing marketplace and to their customer’s wants and needs by increasing customer engagement. Many companies have taken to social media and other digital platforms to engage with their customers-but what is considered proactive or pointless?
Brian Solis, an American Industry analyst, has a different view about customer engagement. Solis recognizes its importance in today’s “customer-pull” world, but also challenges what forms of customer engagement actually enhance the customer’s experience. In his article “User Experience The Don Draper Way,” he highlights this issue:
“Businesses tend to have a narrow view of customer needs or expectations. And, rather than design to evoke human emotion, journeys are designed with a “mediumalistic” approach, where platforms and devices take precedence over the human connection or aftereffect. Products, pages, profiles, and entire click paths are narcissistic by design, taking into account the needs of decision makers and stakeholders over the customers they’re designed to entice. The need to plug into trends trumps the opportunity to innovate and improve the customer journey.”
Here Solis points out that obsessions with social media coverage shift focus away from their main goal: “evoking a desired experience and sentiment.” Emphasis should not be placed on how many times a company posts on their Facebook, Twitter, etc., but the meaning and experience it creates for its users.
This goes back to Wilhem’s concept of value creation. In Customer-driven Online Engagement, Wilhem establishes value creation, “delivering something of ‘value’ to the customer,” as an essential component of customer engagement. Through understanding what the customer wants, marketers can create experiences and products with the value the customer is searching for. Customer engagement is an outlet where marketers can gain information to understand these wants, but it’s also a place where they can create this intimate experience and establish these values.
Creating an Experience (Example)
Rue La La recognizes the potential of customer engagement. Recently, they conducted a shoe experiment on Instagram where they asked their followers to post pictures of their favorite shoes and tag them #shoelala. Not only did their customers relish in the opportunity to share their style, but the company gained perspective on what types of styles and colors their customers liked and in what settings they were wearing them. What shoe or Rue fanatic doesn’t love sharing their style?
Back to the Basics
Going back to the traditional marketing objectives, it is crucial for companies to create value and an experience for their customers. With more options available than ever, companies need to differentiate themselves from their competition and understand their customer’s needs better than ever. For these reasons, customer engagement is crucial. In a world where customers have more pull, marketers must adhere to their wants and create values and experience. Without value, experience, or responding to the customer’s needs on these new platforms, you can consider the company forgettable. A similar product is only a click away.
This post is a part of a series of posts for Integrated Marketing Communications class that explores strategies of integrated marketing communications and recognizes strong and weak branding strategies today.
Solis, Brian. User Experience The Don Draper Way. http://www.fastcompany.com/1817696/user-experience-don-draper-way