Engagement rather than enragement

Ever noticed how many digital marketing types talk about ‘engagement’ but put forward solutions that sound more like SPAM? You can look at the social media profile of the ‘expert’ and see a vast sea of the same message going out repeatedly.

In one case I looked at a Twitter account of one of these (no longer in business) and saw literally hundreds of the same message begging different ‘celebrities’ publicly for endorsement. Wow. I wonder if they felt special? That’s an extreme example used to make the point, but it does show the need to stop and think about the reputational impact of what we do.

Often these mistakes come from starting with a sound principle but then trying to skip to the bit where large volumes of sales come out the other end.

It comes from a belief that ‘consumers’ can be controlled, if only you have the right techniques to do so. Numbers can be guaranteed, if you use the techniques cleverly enough. But if that was the case, companies would no longer actually need to be any good! It would just be who could buy in the best marketing.

As a marketer, I hope that is never the case.

The kind of thing that could fall into the ‘spammy’ category includes tracking customers and then abruptly advertising to them. Or carefully nurturing a bunch of prospects and then suddenly jumping in for a close, either online or by phone. Engaging at an event and then just whacking them on a list.

‘Look how engaging I am … BUY NOW!’

There is an important balance to be struck between use of helpful technology like automation on one side and good old fashioned customer focus on the other.

Here are some rules to avoid ‘frittering’ away your money on SPAM.

Timing is key. Consumers and business buyers are busy. Forcing them to stop what they are doing and read, watch or listen to a sales pitch is presumptuous. Oh, and annoying!

Whilst this has never been a great idea, the number of companies all trying similar techniques nowadays makes it even less of a good idea.

No, really. Don’t just pretend. Actually be a real person. With feelings and everything.

A bit like the interruptive point above, I can be initially put off by a phone call but if the person on the other end of the call is behaving like a human, the situation can be rescued.

Genuine conversation can go a long way. In my view this is often done badly on social media. The desire for self-promotion can overcome considerations of what is interesting to others or what is appropriate for the medium.

There are lots of things that will get you noticed. But that doesn’t mean you should do them. It’s always more important to be noticed for the right reasons rather than just being noticed.

Sounds like a statement of the obvious this, but when you are really ‘passionate’ (awful word) about something, it’s easy for your enthusiasm to run away with you. In the kind of business where this is encouraged, care should be taken. It’s easy to be influenced by the standards of others around you. You have to make sure that any claims you make about your product are justified. Any promises you make need to be deliverable. In business, we will often be making promises that others will be responsible for fulfilling. Be careful what you stake your personal reputation on.

We all have an agenda. Achieving it requires the buy-in of others, one way or another. We might as well understand what the audience wants and see where the common ground lies.

Asking questions can go a long way.

How to avoid enraging your target audience. We think there is a lot to be said for Putting Strategy First.

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