Engagement as a Customer Activity
The Social Web creates an expectation from the customer’s perspective whether a prior, current, or potential (future) customer of a two-way relationship with brands, products, and services that was nearly unthinkable just a generation of business ago. Customers now have a real voice that in advertising lingo resonates with others who share their lot: Just as soon as your awareness campaign has done its job, they’ll use their new collaborative tools to vet your claims and promises. They’ll ask questions of each other and share outcomes, and in the process exert influence on pending or potential decisions of all involved. It’s a kind of group-think, gone wild.
Learn to Think Like a Fish
When you turn your perspective around to the viewpoint of your customers, the mechanics of engagement change. From the perspective of the fish, it is not the lure that is engaging. Rather, it is the act of eating, driven by a more fundamental interest like the instinct of survival—that results in the fish being “engaged. The lure looks like a meal, and fish think a lot about eating. Simply put, successfully catching a fish Engagement as a Customer Activity is not driven by the need to catch a fish: It’s driven by appealing to the needs and interests of the fish.
What are some of the typical engagement points built around associated activities that run beyond the immediate purposes of marketing used by businesses on the Social Web now? Table 8.1 provides examples of social technology and its application in innovation, support, marketing, and demand generation. The engagement activities are tied to business objectives and in turn, drive the selection of the engagement platform that is ultimately used.
It’s Still Your Business
How often do you hear someone say, When it comes to the Social Web, if your customers tell you to jump, your only response should be along the lines of ‘how high? Or perhaps you’ve been told, “You need to be 100 percent transparent. While these make great rallying points and from 30,000 feet they are correct they aren’t all that useful when it comes to the task of actually applying social technology to your business or organization. Sometimes customers get it wrong, and 100 percent transparency could be taken to mean being so transparent that your competitors know (as a result) what you are planning. Remember, it is still your business.
You are still running it, Engagement on the Social and you are still responsible for its performance as measured by some combination of customers, shareholders, management, and colleagues. The Social Web doesn’t change this per se what it changes is the way in which your customers expect to be able to participate in engaging with your business.
Advocates in the Making
Ultimately, engagement is all about driving collaboration and the development of brand advocates. It may be reserved or casual, or it may be spontaneous and enthusiastic. But in the end, what you are after as part of the leadership team within a business or cause-related organization and especially so as a marketer—is a customer base that spreads beneficial word of mouth for you. Peter Drucker noted that “the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. With the advent of social technology, the objective now is for customers to create (more) customers.