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Many marketers have fallen into the online dating mentality when it comes to establishing relationships with their customers.Theres a tendency to make a decision at a point in time based on an assumption or best guess (she looks athletic so shell like sports bars) versus actually learning more about someone and then determining the long term game plan and the steps for getting there.

This is where the difference between interaction and engagement come into play.In short, an interaction occurs between the customer and the marketer in the moment, while an engagement occurs between the customer and the marketer over time.

The shift in focus from customer interaction to customer engagement requires a change in mindset and technologies to move from discrete events or campaigns to an ongoing continuous process.Rather than acting on data in reactionary mode We know youre here so you must want this offer now an engagement approach involves gathering data to understand, analyze and make predictions (for those who are marketing techies, this goes beyond predictive modeling to state-space modeling which is more timely and more precise for executing against). it involves monitoring, then finally acting, and from there refining all as part of a continuous cycle that spans over the lifetime of each customer.

The key for marketers is being able to decide where they want customers to be relative to where they are today, whether its in regard to usage, spend, tenure, activity, product mix, etc. it requires being able to influence customers in ways that take him/her from a current state to the desired one, and proactively executing a plan via marketing activity even as their behaviors change.

This shift may require some marketers to work on their patience as engagement is about executing a long-term strategy versus achieving a short-term result but the outcome in doing so is well worth the wait and effort.Instead of reporting click through and offer acceptance rates to your counterparts, youll be reporting the impact your marketing efforts are having on strategic KPIs, such as revenues and retention.

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