Buyers today, whether they’re consumers or businesses, are more informed, more savvy, and more selective than ever about the brands they choose. They’re telling brands: Don’t just sell me your products. Know me. Know my needs. Show me how much I’m valued by giving me experiences that are authentic and about me.
Marketing technology company Marketo calls this new world the Engagement Economy… where everyone and everything is connected and where marketing has taken on the new role of driving the customer experience. It’s no longer a matter of creating marketing strategies for customer acquisition or customer retention. Those concepts are outdated. Instead, the brands that succeed are the ones that manage engagement across the entire customer lifecycle.
“In the Engagement Economy, we need to stop marketing and start listening, learning and engaging to build meaningful customer relationships,” explains Chandar Pattabhiram, CMO of Marketo. “Ultimately, the brands that win are the ones that create lasting relationships and advocates.”
Unfortunately, many brands are not adequately prepared to make these shifts. A 2017 Marketo survey of 800 consumers in the U.S. and U.K. found that most consumers think marketers could be more innovative, and more than half want brands to have a deep understanding of their needs so they can engage with them. But a study released late last year by the CMO Council and Deloitte found that just 13 percent of marketing leaders are working to retain and grow customer relationships through improved customer experiences. Clearly, it’s time to rethink marketing priorities and understand how to engage with buyers more deeply.
The digital transformation that is crucial to the Engagement Economy is not about technology or processes but about creating experiences that feel real and human and are founded on care and trust. Research by ad agency Wunderman refers to this as “wantedness”—the degree to which a brand proves its commitment to earning a customer’s business across the entire customer journey. Buyers want brands to communicate with them when they want, how they want, on the right channel and at the right moment. An authentic customer experience, be that over Twitter, via email, or through a brand’s chat service, ensures this wantedness.
Imagine for example, an NBA team that lives and breathes by engagement. Every single moment, from pre-season to off-season, this team could keep fans up-to-date on what is happening with the players, the schedule, and other events in the team’s facilities. A fan’s entire experience, from ticket sales to in-stadium concessions are connected so that he or she is engaged based on individual interests and preferences.
Focus on the lifecycle
Driving engagement to get new customers is not the stopping point but the starting point. Brands need to focus on the customer’s lifetime value, and that means engaging with customers at every step of their journey and doing it in the ways that they most prefer. Certain hotel loyalty programs, for example, know your preferences no matter where you go in the world. Before you arrive, they’ve sent you an email or text—whichever you prefer—reminding you of your stay details. They greet you by name when you arrive, book you in the same type of room (or upgrade you!) every time, and, when it comes time to check out, they know you prefer the express option with an emailed receipt because you’re a busy business traveler.
“Creating lifetime value and brand advocates—that’s what success is,” says Pattabhiram. “If you’ve done that, you’ve won in the Engagement Economy.”
Attend Marketing Nation Summit
Ready to find out more about what success looks like in the Engagement Economy? Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, taking place April 23-26 in San Francisco, will provide a deep dive into the key issues brands are facing in today’s digitally connected world and what it takes to lead and succeed.
Along with a full schedule of more than 100 marketing-focused sessions, daily keynote panels will feature top marketers from brands like Autodesk, Hootsuite, Hakkasan and Panasonic Europe discussing how they’re taking on the challenges of an interconnected world. A special track programmed by Adweek will examine the intersection of ad tech and mar tech and how brands and marketers can leverage data to drive smarter, more effective campaigns.