Making customer engagement a two way street

The digital marketing world has been abuzz with the power of meeting customers where they are, reaching them with targeted, just in time promotions and sending alerts on their mobile right when they are near a store they may be interested in.

Customer engagement - External reinforcementWe are calling it the power of digital. But it doesn’t seem to be about customer engagement at all. All we hear is “customer pounding”, with promotions and advertisements.

If you look at it from the customer’s point of view (your own point of view), do you really need all this “personalization”? Think about it, when you buy something, do you shop around? Do you compare benefits? Do you compare reviews? Do you look at prices? Do you wonder how that new item will go with what you already have or what you are thinking of buying?

And the power of digital is desperately failing at all of these questions that run through a customer’s mind. Brands are almost failing at customer engagement in the frenzy of all the digital capability- i.e. they are failing to partner with you, the customer. They just want to sell to you. They compete as a pack and the fastest or nearest wins. They thrive on a promotion, and rely on you making a decision with incomplete information, on the spot, under pressure.

The Principle of External Reinforcement speaks about this exact problem: partnering with customers. The question most folks ask is: When you partner and provide objective information, won’t you lose your customers? Quite the contrary. Think about it – you’re losing customers every second anyway because they are forever looking to additional sources of information before they buy from you. And everytime they do that, you must keep fighting tooth & nail to win them back – through promotions and discounts. It’s a brutal game, and the whirlpool just keeps pulling brands in. There’s no way out!

When you think digital revolution, think customer partnership, and also think external reinforcement. The other 4 principles also help create a complete digital customer engagement program. Otherwise, there’s no difference between how you marketed 20 years ago. Only the loudspeakers are more advanced now.

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