Thursday, February 28, 2013

Engagement. The Confusion Continues

What is it about engagement that so confuses people?

This from a recent posting from a well-regarded blogger on advertising:

Which is why the current obsession with “engagement” is so misguided.  The idea that your success is dependent upon your customers becoming deeply emotionally attached to your brand is a delusion.  Consumers are promiscuous.   Most successful brands have a customer profile that is a mile wide and an inch deep.  They’re just not that into you.

The above is correct, the fact is that consumers are not that into most brands.  This well-regarded blogger continues.

That is also why the current mania for spending enormous amounts of time, money and energy getting your “fans” to “engage” with you is such a silly preoccupation.  Wanna grow your brand?  You don’t need more engagement. You need more customers.

By “engage with you,” is this blogger referring to spending time with your brand?  If so, then the discussion changes somewhat, doesn’t it?

I don’t know of many marketers who don’t believe, to some degree, that more time spent with the brand is better than less time spent with the brand.  Some go so far as to refer to time spent as a proxy for sales.

The more time a consumer spends with your brand—researching it, finding out more about it, talking about it—the more likely that consumer is to favor your brand when it comes time to purchase.

Time spent, in this case, can be defined as interest.

If engagement is measured as time spent and, if time spent can be defined as interest, then interest is a valuable asset for a brand.  Which makes engagement a valuable asset for a brand.

The problem isn’t engagement in itself.  It’s in how we define it.  Everyone seems to have their own definition.  To some, engagement is a “like.”  Which, as we all know is basically worthless.

But if we change the definition of engagement from its current subjective state to something more objective and measurable – like time spent – then we can start to discuss its merits with more validity.

Until we do, I'm afraid we’ll all just be engaging in nonsense.

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