The rules of engagement have changed, shifting in favor of the customer. No longer are marketers (or the businesses they represent) in complete control.
Now this is nothing unusual, a shift in this direction has been occurring slowly -in just about every industry- for some time now . With the economy in its current state a consumer’s discretionary dollars are in even higher demand and being controlled much more strictly than in the past. Because of this a business that is courting a consumer needs to be ever mindful of this shift in the balance of power. It is no longer a customer’s privilege to purchase a product from a business, but a business’s privilege to provide a product or service to a consumer.
Video: Rewriting Rules of Consumer Engagement Pt 1
What are the rules of consumer engagement?
The rules of engagement have never really been defined. There is no record standing absolute somewhere in the vastness of the internet that proclaims a set of rules to be followed. Just as well, because where would the fun be in that?
More or less the rules of engagement have been to get as much out of as many people as you could, and trample as few feelings and sensibilities as possible. This still holds true today though the boundaries that we might once have thought were absolute are in reality very far from set in stone.
How have the rules of engagement changed?
Engagement is no long occurring solely on our terms. Marketers are not able to simply dictate the terms of an encounter with a consumer anymore. We have consumers coming to us, sometimes we’re meeting them in the middle, and so on and so forth. We are no long distributing opportunities from on high; consumers are now climbing onto our clouds and plucking them right out of our hands!
The new rules:
In a co-creation situation (oooh, alliteration!) marketer and consumer meet in the middle and are involved in the engagement process from start to finish. This is in contract to the old model of preparing the material, going through a few other steps, and then bringing the consumer in to the mix.
Engagement is no longer a one-off thing that is measured in terms of a single encounter. Consumers are expecting more of an interactive and on-going experience that doesn’t stop after their first contact with you or your content.
It’s not enough for you to just be chatting for the sake of conversation when you engage with consumers; neither you nor they will benefit overly much from an encounter that does not have some sort of goal, whatever that might be.
An open mind
Engagement is happening everywhere, all the time. In the past a consumer was engaged by a printed advertisement, a sound bite on the radio, or a brief television commercial. With the explosion of the internet and now the advent of social media, there are many new playing fields and this is where consumers are expecting to be engaged.
For more rules of engagement, read this wonderful post:
- Putting the customer first: the 6 rules of online engagement – by Jo Stratmann
But is that everything? Shouldn’t there be something more to how we engage consumers?
Engagement is more than just a numbers game, and the changes we’re seeing in a wide variety or markets reflects this.
The rules of consumer engagement are changing into something greater. They are evolving into rules for interaction and dare we say it, relationship building.
When does engagement become a real relationship?
Why should it matter?
A lot of the time we as internet marketers lose ourselves in visions of metrics and the rise and fall of various graphs, charts, and other things that can be measured. The trouble with this that we get so involved in the process that we cannot see the forest for the trees. We become so focused on the end goal of capturing that next lead that we forget why we are trying to engage a consumer in the fist place, and what engagement really means. “Engagement” is not just an industry buzzword for communication or interaction. Engagement is what occurs when we have truly captured a person’s attention and how have the opportunity to make something of our time with them. Whether this time is used to share an idea, information about our products / services, or just establish an awareness of one another, engagement is not an end by itself, but rather the beginning of a relationship.
And we want this to happen, because when someone builds a relationship with a brand, more often than not a relationship goes on to become loyalty to a brand, and brand loyalty can span generations.
Infographic: Mobile Apps for Consumer Engagement
What rules of engagement do you follow? Are any of them listed here?