Understanding what marketing “engagement” really means

Marketing directors are automatically expected to be experts in their field, but there is still a learning curve for everyone. Unlike days of bygone years when technological advancements came slowly and it was possible to be an expert without continuous learning, these days if you don’t read up on what’s new in the field at least once a week, you run the risk of using outdated marketing strategies.

Defining engagement

For instance, a word many marketers bandy about is “engagement.” It’s been around for a while now, but without a clear definition, it’s meaningless. For a time, people thought a good measure of engagement was how many re-tweets or Facebook likes or shares they got. But just because someone took one second to like a picture doesn’t mean they were actually “engaged” with the content.

Product value exchange

So Forbes.com contributor Greg Satell suggested marketers measure their success  on a basis of value exchange instead. There are three types he described, the first being product value exchange, which is easily explainable as the idea that a customer sees a products value and its price as being equal.

Content value exchange

He also mentioned content value exchange, which Satell said means, “Consumers increasingly expect brands to be partners by helping them get maximum utility and enjoyment out of their purchase.” This includes good customer relations, responses to customer concerns, and a willingness to guarantee a product’s quality and longevity.

Social value exchange

Third, Satell explained social value exchange, which he compared to drinking at a bar. He said, “Every pub owner has long understood that we’ll pay a whole lot more to go to a place where we can meet people than we will to get drunk at home.” What he meant was people don’t utilize their products and services in a vacuum. They like to receive recognition for their choices, so a brand with high social currency will be more attractive than one on the lower end of the scale.

Using these terms instead of “engagement” won’t automatically fix your marketing problems, but they will help you identify the goals and outcomes of each of your strategies. Focusing your energy specifically on social value exchange, for instance, will mean you’re not considering price or customer service value concurrently. You can consider and fine tune one aspect at a time by using these three pieces of terminology.

The true aim of marketing

Satell also pointed out that marketers tend to confuse marketing with promotion. In fact, he argued, “Marketing is about insights more than anything else.” He also quoted Peter Drucker, the legendary writer, professor, and management consultant, who once said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

Source: Forbes

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