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Consumer Engagement Defined

Engagement Marketing sometimes called "experiential marketing," "eventmarketing", "live marketing" or "participationmarketing," is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages consumers to participate inthe evolution of a brand.Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagementmarketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the productionand co-creation of marketing programs, developing a relationship with thebrand.

Consumer Engagement is the ultimate point in which a brand and a consumer connect in order tooffer a true experience related to the brand's core values. It is a long termconnection that must be enhanced over time. Brandsthat listen to consumers in their day-to-day lives, tap into their mindset,engage with response-driven conversations, strengthencustomer relationships, build brandloyalty and increase purchasing power.


Consumer Engagement Benefits

Generallyaccepted benefits of consumer engagement are as follows: 

·        IncreaseSales, Advocacy & Referrals
·        IncreaseBrand Loyalty & Retention
·        IncreaseCustomer Awareness
·        EnhanceCompany Image and Reputation

Effectiveengagement activities create emotional attachments that draw customers closerto protect them from competitors; encourage repurchasing while lowering pricesensitivity; gather insights to refine strategy; and ultimately promoteevangelism. To succeed, customer engagement efforts must have a correlation togrowth metrics, especially revenue and profits.

Engagedcustomers trust your brand, advocate foryou, and buy a greater breadth and depth of your products without as muchprice-sensitivity. In a report titled ”Enhancingthe Customer Experience and Engagement in Retail,”  PeopleMetricswrites that companies focusing on customer engagement realize a 13% revenuereward, compared to a 36% revenue penalty for those companies obstructingcustomer engagement.

With theproliferation of personal mobile smart-devices comes the “Age of Engagement.” Customers are demanding to be heard andinvolved over mobile and social networks. The most successful companieswill grow as they engage customers in customer acquisition, retention,operations, innovation, and even strategy.


Mobile Consumer Engagement

Personal smart-devices such as smartphones and tablets havesurpassed the two billion units-sold mark. By 2016 it is believed that therewill be over 8 billion smart-devices in the world outnumbering the humanpopulation. Consumers now spend more time on the web via smart-devices than theydo on personal computers. Mobile consumer engagement is rapidly becoming acritical strategic step for brands as marketing teams seek to keep pace withexplosive adoption rates among consumers. It’s important to note however, that“mobile” doesn’t change what you do; itsimply enhances the way that you connect with your customers. Mobileaffords a deeper and more intimate personal connection with each customer.

Brand managers who value engagement and recognize the newmobile-consumer are challenged with establishing touch-points to mobile. Abrand’s mobile strategy will typically include multiple facets. Many times anative app is launched, multi-screen campaigns are utilized or social mediachannels are leveraged. Vehicles to mobile connect points can often include,Bluetooth, iBeacon, QR Codes, NFC or AR (augmented reality). To initiate the contact between brand andmobile consumer, marketers often look to more established traditional mediachannels such as the following:
·        Traditional Media (TV, Radio, Signage, Print)
·        Live Events
·        Email
·        SMS Text Messaging
·        Digital Radio
·        Web & Mobile Banners
·        Social Media
Recent developments in wearable technology have created anew touch-point to mobile. R-Evolution has taken the concept of wearabletechnology and applied it to the $19b vertical of branded promotionalmerchandise. By using standard and widely adopted 2D scan code technology,R-Evolution can cost effectively transform traditional promotional merchandiseinto interactive merchandise creating a new mobile touch-point for brands toleverage.

In many cases branded merchandise and promotionalmerchandise items are already a strategic part of a brand’s annual budget todrive awareness. By blending “physical” with “digital,” brands can leveragetheir existing merchandise budget to enhance the consumer experience and reachthe mobile consumer simultaneously.   


Engaging Content

A critical component to any consumer engagement strategy iscreating content that your customers want. Content Marketing has actually beenaround for quite some time. It hasn’t been until recently that it has playedsuch a major role in brand strategy. The increased focus on content marketingis largely due to the widespread adoption of mobile and its close ties tosocial media.

Here are some examples of content that marketers’ create anddeploy to engage consumers:

·        Live Events
·        Contests
·        Social Media
·        Sweepstakes
·        Newsletters
·        How-to-Guides
·        Coupons
·        Mobile Apps
·        Rebates
·        Trial Offers
·        Downloads
·        Music
·        Ringtones
·        Videos
·        Event Information
·        eBooks
·        Games
·        Magazines
·        User-Generated
·        White Papers
·        Webinars/Webcasts
·        Blogs

R-Evolution interactive merchandise leverages the power ofcontent and engagement through an authentic one-to-one connection with eachmobile consumer. In essence, interactive merchandise is not only a mobileconsumer touch-point but also a controllable content distribution platform forcontinuous mobile engagement. Remember, effective consumer engagement is along-term conversation spread out over time.


Engagement Goals

Earlier we identified the generally accepted benefits toconsumer engagement. Let’s drill down further from benefits to direct campaigngoals. Every campaign should have a measurable outcome from which we measuresuccess. Success metrics should be indentified prior to the launch with adirect method to track and calculate the metric.

It is also wise to build in an “optimization” phase of eachcampaign where those executing the campaign can adjust and modify campaignvariables to increase the probability of obtaining the desired results. Hereare few examples of direct goals or outcomes a brand might seek when conductingmobile consumer engagement campaigns:
·        Lead generation
·        Content delivery
·        Event amplification
·        Customer intelligence
·        Activate brand advocates
·        Drive brand awareness
·        Extend brand persona
·        Drive ROI of existing marketing assets
·        Drive social channels
·        Drive ecommerce channels
·        Drive mcommerce channels


Social Media & Mobile Consumer Engagement

Social Media is the “mother” of all consumer engagementtouch points. Like mobile, social is very personal in nature and allows marketersto connect individually with consumers. In this network, consumers interactwith friends, relatives and others in their own personal network. To a brandmanager, this is the Holy Grail of brand advocacy and referral based selling.

Social networks have grown hand-in-hand with mobilenetworks. Our smartphones have become the “remote-controls” of our lives andsocial media platforms (twitter, facebook, YouTube) are the channels we “watch”to interact with and interact through. The portability of personal mobiledevices and the accessibility of social media align perfectly with millennials,gen-Y and even gen-X-ers.

This graph depicts the alignment between mobile and social:

It becomes quite clear that mobile-social networks and experientialmarketing are almost one in the same. We are witnessing the true convergence ofdigital and physical worlds. Each day the lines between the two become blurred furtherand further as each generation seeks life experiences while becoming more immersedin technological advancements.


Comparing Response Rates

It appear as if the evolution of experiential marketing iscalling out for “new” forms of consumer engagement; engagement that encompassesall of the components, both new and old, of the brand/consumer relationship. Wehave seen the early stages of wearable technology begin to take hold in themarket place. Clunky and odd at times, fashion faux-pas extraordinaire, theseattempts to capture the new experience are reminiscent of the very early daysof personal computers.

We can however, take a much more simplified approach. Sure,it’s not as “sexy” as Google Glass or as cool or expensive as Augmented Realitybut it can yield excellent results. When compared to other vehicles forconsumer engagement, interactive merchandise performs at a statisticallysignificant higher level. The chart below features engagement levels for a livecharitable event using interactive merchandise to engage participants versusother forms of consumer engagement. 

Successful mobile consumer engagement at live events canyield good results. In order to ensure these results, it is critical to executeon six key components. These components are:
1.     Clearcall-to-action and instructions
2.     Valuablecontent offers and incentives
3.     Responsivemobile rich-media experience
4.     Optimizationacross all mobile platforms
5.     Targetedcampaign design and execution
6.     Track,measure and calculate ROI


 Summary Conclusion

As brands play catch-up to consumers’ rapid adoption ofmobile-social networks, many will seek to intertwine mobile-social with liveevents and content marketing. The successful convergence of these marketingtactics will result in the ultimate fan experience which is what every brandshould seek to accomplish.

Brands no longer view patrons as consumers. Consumers arenow treated as “fans.” You cherish and nurture them with products, services,events and content that enhances the relationship and drives the overall brand-to-fanexperience.

Brian Michalski
Co-Founder, R-Evolution Industries

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