Social media is not going away and a good number of B-to-B marketers haven’t figured this out yet.
Engagement marketing is developing a two-way conversation with a customer or prospect.
Engagement happens when people look forward to hearing from you and find your communications meaningful and helpful.
Engagement marketing creates a common purpose between a manufacturer and its customers. It’s not a “Push” or “Pull” strategy, rather a collaborative one.
Someone is currently engaging your customer. Is it you or your competition?
Econsultancy found that fewer than 50% of companies actually have a defined customer engagement strategy.
I read an interesting white paper recently from Silverpop titled, B-to-B engagement , that outlines 10 tactics that benefit you from the engagement process. Here are the highlights:
- Web2.0. Allows customers to easily communicate with other users as well as the company.
- Spread the load over multiple channels. You need more than a strong pay-for-click strategy. You need prospects to stay for awhile and one of the best ways is to offer them an e-newsletter.
- Monitor the marketplace. You’d better because your customers are. Read blogs relevant to your industry. Find out what the industry is buzzing about and then comment on it. Use your blog research to capture posts about you and your competitors.
- Work the Web. You need to set yourself apart which means in most cases reworking your site to be customer centric instead of marketing centric. An engaged site talks to individuals.
- Leverage your sales team. I don’t know of a successful marketing program that didn’t include the sales force. They are in the trenches every day and know what’s on customers minds. Ask them as they will be the least expensive and most reliable source of market information.
- Incorporate customer conversations. Issues they bring up will resonate with prospects. Customer testimonials are a good way to start conversations with prospects.
- Uniform messaging. This is marketing 101. When you do an e-mail or banner ad program and send the potential to a micro site, make sure the messaging stays constant.
- Build a community. Customers and potentials alike need somewhere where they can discuss issues that are common to both. Foster this by offering them a place to do it, like a forum on your web site. If they’re talking, wouldn’t you think it best to have access to what they’re saying?
- Encourage input. Continually seek info from both customers and prospects. Send surveys, polls, make calls, talk to them at trade shows or conventions and ask for their feedback.
- Drive relationships through data. A richly nuanced database of both customers’ and prospects’ interactions are fuel that drives engagement marketing.
Conclusion: The more engaged a company is with its marketplace, the better the chances of generating sales. The new demand – generations and management technologies provide unique opportunities to touch customers and prospects.