Do You Have the Right Customer-Engagement Goal?

For the longest time, business executives have been guided by their estimations and projections. This has been their number-one activity when setting a course for the following quarter, or the following year.

That approach makes good sense to anyone who is in the business of growing a business. But the rules of engagement have changed. It’s no longer about the total number of hits, impressions or likes. (Sorry all you social-media mavens!)

No, it’s about the degree of engagement you achieve, and that happens through the hard work of connecting with friends, co-workers, prospects and clients. They are the ones that can help you best grow your business. The greater the degree of conversation, the faster and more successfully you will achieve your goal.

So the question is: What is your goal and is it the right one? With that in mind, the following are some guiding principles I would strongly recommend you implement throughout your entire marketing enterprise.

In the old days, connections were made face-to-face and they were absolutely meaningful. For instance, a media sales representative would arrive on your doorstep with a media kit in hand to talk to you about why you should buy his/her particular medium. There was the print, TV, radio and billboard channels from which to choose. That was pretty much it.

Today, there are a gazillion ways to spread the word and highly specialized digital and Internet-based platforms provide opportunities to initiate a conversation.

Don’t get the wrong idea. I love personal, one-to-one meetings. They just don’t happen as frequently as they used to, nor are they the primary way to “talk” to someone. Social-media channels—such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.—have assumed the prominent positions as the places to begin “conversations” that have lasting value.

Many marketers in many markets are not comfortable with this sea change. And often, senior executives tend to resist this market shift because they’re not big believers in the new media tools or comfortable using them—which is understandable on one level, but not acceptable on another.

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.
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