The Art of Consumer Engagement

When futurist Alvin Toffler talked about the upcoming “experiential industry” in his 1971 book Future Shock, he pointed out that people would be willing to collect experiences as consciously and passionately as they once collected things. Indeed, as highlighted in Forester’s annual report, companies with better customer experience tend to have more loyal customers. When consumers like the experience you deliver, they are more likely to consider your brand for another purchase and recommend you to others.In today’s world, consumers are ever more empowered to support things they really believe – this is simply called the feel good factor. With emerging technologies shifting the power from the marketer to consumers, companies should put more emphasis on engagement methods that will provide the right level of interaction and experience that consumers are looking for. By creating in-depth experiences, brands are not only continuing to make a deeper connection with consumers, but they are also creating great content and driving social sharing.Engagement is the journeyWhilst every brand wants more engagement with consumers, most companies still have not figured out how to meet the complex expectations of today’s connected consumers. With brands more focused on creating a demand measured in sales, companies need strong systems in place to better manage the customer experience across all channels.Here at Hotcow, we believe that great experiences are the best form of advertising. However, crafting an experience requires serious forethought and planning in order to generate successful results. Rather than focusing on the quantity of consumptive sales, brands need to identify or anticipate the needs of consumers and come up with clever strategies to fulfill these needs in order to lead to sustainable results.Empowered consumers have the tools to opt-out and block any type of marketing from brands. They enjoy the ability to consume only the content they want and use the same tools to disseminate their own thinking about brands lacking in their trust. With social media and review sites changing the game of how businesses need to respond to customer needs, brands need to focus their marketing efforts on offering intrinsic value beyond the sale of anything.Over the long haul, building trust with consumers is a much harder job than creating a sale; and in today’s scenario, it is also much easier to lose. Brands who offer consumers things that will make their lives easier and cleaner, improved services and consistent brand engagement activities are more likely to reach that so desired brand loyalty.The destination: LoyaltyIf the only way to achieve brand loyalty is through deeper engagement and intrinsic value, marketers need to re-evaluate how they will focus on customer retention. Your marketing must provide the appropriated level of interaction and experience to create richer connections and help consumers to make a positive impact on their lives at large.Consistent experiential activities should be built around a proactive process of matching consumers’ expectations in terms of needs, wants, aspiration and channel preferences. Only focusing on traditional loyalty programs is not enough to keep consumers excited. Consumers want to interact with brands and find the real value in it.Ultimately, brands should focus their attention on acting responsibly in the interests of the consumers, rather than just worrying about being held accountable. If marketeers make sure that what they are doing is likely to create value for consumers as well as for the company, the evidence they need afterwards to prove the effectiveness of their activities should take care of itself.

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