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Customer engagement in the modern age

19th Apr 2017
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The Battle for Attention: Customer Engagement in the Modern Age

Posted by Rebecca Liebling, SVP of EMEA

Understanding what consumers look for, expect and desire from our brands is at the forefront of every marketer’s mind. To that end, the DMA presented customer engagement research examining how consumers engage. Last week, Scott Logie, Chair of the DMA Customer Engagement Committee, presented these findings once again for a new audience. I joined Scott and a few executives from a range of backgrounds at the DMA session The Battle for Attention to discuss tactics and techniques in the financial services and retail industries.

What does customer engagement truly mean and how it does it vary across verticals? Here are a few key takeaways from our panel.

Use Data to Connect at Multiple Levels

Ultimately, developing a successful customer engagement strategy comes down to consistent execution across all channels, good customer and behavioral data, and above all, connecting with your audience on an emotional level. Consumer loyalty does not come from price. For example, Compare the Market has transformed the traditionally dull process of purchasing insurance into an entertaining and valuable customer experience with their growing line of Meerkat toys and rewards. Consider that: An insurance company is now one of the largest toy producers in the UK, all in the name of customer engagement… and it works. Since the Meerkat campaign began in 2009, the company’s value has more than doubled.

Take It One Step at a Time

Don’t try to eat an elephant in one sitting. It’s tempting to lead efforts for change within your organization with thoughts like, “We need a new CMS,” or, “A new eCommerce system would solve this. But that is also a recipe for getting tangled up in departmental details and tech specs before addressing the root issue. Instead, focus on two words: Customer experience. What exactly do you want your customers to see, feel, do, remember, etc? Once you define this, then you can begin considering how to deploy that across your ecosystem.

Have we changed?

As my fellow panelist Ian Hughes, CEO of Consumer Intelligence argued, humans haven’t fundamentally changed in hundreds of years. While I agree with this as a general notion, I challenged that the advancement and prevalence of technology has had a profound impact on human behavior, one that must be accounted for in modern customer engagement tactics. The ability to marry what you know about a customer with how they are interacting with your brand at that moment is how you recognize opportunities that present themselves within your customer interactions.

Make Decisions from a Single Place

Ultimately, successful companies are those that are breaking down channel silos, recognizing that different channels can be leveraged to support and boost one another in today’s digital world rather than existing independently. However, to ensure that the interaction with your brand is consistent and relevant, you need to make the decision on how to speak to the consumer from one set of data, consistently updated with the latest interaction and constantly adapting to the user experience.

We would like to extend our thanks to the DMA as well as the other panel members who made this event possible:

Andrew Buffrey, Community Manager – West & Wales, DMA

Scott Logie, Managing Director, REaD Group and Chair of the DMA Customer Engagement Committee

Ian Hughes, CEO, Consumer Intelligence

Richard Walker, Head of Data and Insight, The Real Adventure

Ian Atkinson, Head of Brand, Communications & PR, SunLife

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