Interesting take on engagement by Gene Liebel at Adweek (So You’re Engaged — Now What?)
I’m positive many marketers indeed look to ‘engagement’ as the new metric:
MarketingGuy 1988: “We need reach!”
MarketingGuy 2008: “We need engagement!”
Yes, marketers need to engage their customers/prospects, but engagement isn’t a metric, or even a goal — engagement is a route to the goal.
Whether the objective is awareness, consideration, interaction, transaction, bonding, advocacy, or any other label on a stage in the Customer Journey, engagement is the chief means to achieving that goal. And that, by definition, is a strategy.
What then is engagement? My definition is the customer-centric need being fulfilled not necessarily by the purchasing of your brand, but rather by your actions as a brand: information, education, entertainment, inspiration = problem solving. Think about being “engaged,” such as by a professional speaker. S/he likely delivers on all of the above.
Yes, time-spent, page views, clicks are all metrics that can help define ‘engagement,’ but they are by far not the only ones. ‘Engaged’ prospects/customers also visit more frequently, are more apt to cross-purchase/up-purchase, and ultimately become the strongest advocates for your brand. They sign up for e-newsletters and RSS feeds, they download whitepapers and attend webinars, they refer friends and forward pages, and they talk you up in social media settings.
Engagement means different things depending on the objective of the marketing stage. ‘Engagement’ in the reach phases is still very wide-net-casting, with the greater in-depth engagement occurring in later stages of the Customer Journey. Hence, metrics used to measure the objectives achieved via Engagement differ as well.
Oftentimes, the bulk of engagement resources (e.g. Content Marketing) demand back-load weighting/allocation, as customers likely deserve greater attention than suspects, and advocates more so than customers.
Different stages of customers? Mixed allocations of resources based on customer groupings? Migration of customers from one stage to another? Different metrics in place to measure different stage objectives? Smells an awful lot like CRM.
As it should. Engagement is a close relative of CRM. And like CRM, the end goals of engagement are sales and maximizing LTV. Engagement isn’t the end goal, or even a metric…it’s a strategy.
MarketingGuy 2009: “We need sales and LTV: let’s focus on engagement.”