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.
Customers to the Rescue
The same holds true in support programs. Dell manages its customer support forums using a small number of moderators by empowering other customers who offer technical solutions based on their own experiences. This approach yields evident process changes that can be acted on after a sufficient number of customers have approved the solution, providing a better support experience while at the same time elevating the ideas that will result in likely business gains for Dell when addressed through subsequent product innovations.
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.