digital data

Engagement used to mean and still does mean a promise to marry.  But in today’s digital world, engagement has also taken on a new meaning.  To marketers, it means any type of online conversation with customers.

As such, the definition of engagement in the digital world is much broader.  Engagement embraces everything from social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more, to blogs. It can include comments a company invites on its website and even some contests its runs. Great memorable customer service is the root of it all.

But there is a commonality between the two.  The mutual goal between these two contrasting examples is the end game – a lasting marriage.

Digital Engagement

Instead of a diamond ring, engagement in the digital world involves digital tools and procedures   Employing them wisely to identify, interact, and have a positive impact with target audiences around an organization’s product, service or issue is the prime goal.

Why Is Digital Important?

Digital reputation management firm Status Labs reported that 90% of consumers haven’t yet decided on their choice of purchase before beginning their search.  Google bolstered that prediction by stating that more than half the users of smartphones rely on their phones to find new products or services.

Shopify Plus, an eCommerce platform distributor, this spring supplied the clincher.  The company forecasted that eCommerce sales worldwide will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.

And like a healthy human relationship, digital engagement, too, relies on more than simply being discovered by a potential client.  That’s just the start.

Engaging that potential customer and fostering a potential relationship are like a healthy courtship.  Companies that recognize and treat a potential transaction in such a way will come out much further ahead.

Have A Design Plan

Engaging prospective customers can take on many different forms.  Choosing one or more design plans depends upon how much a company really knows and understands its market.

A highly structured digital engagement design is most effective when prospects are seeking training or education about a particular service or product.  This step-by-step approach normally satisfies that type of interest.

A free-range approach, on the other hand, offers many of the same features but lets prospects decide when they wish to be engaged.  The hybrid plan capitalizes on the strengths of both designs.

Tailoring is as it sounds.  It customizes and matches customer behavior or interests with real-time feedback.

JITAI or Just in Time Adaptive Intervention captures data from wearable devices to prescribe certain actions or behaviors.  These are common in health and fitness applications.

There are numerous other design plans and marketers need to decide which fits best for their target audience(s).  One, for example, even offers incentives. Gamification is yet another option.

Final Step

As in all other marketing efforts, measurement is important.  Marketers must measure the results of their engagement and be prepared to change or adjust their design or plan on their marital pathway with prospective customers.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.