Consumers are exposed to countless brand messages every day. They see an endless variety of product information and opportunities, from ads, promotions, friends, and influencers on social media to signage in brick-and-mortar stores and website pop-ups. This is consumer engagement.
Or is it? It’s easy to throw an ad or a video online and say you have a consumer engagement strategy. But there’s a difference between consumer engagement and effective consumer engagement — and believe it or not, it’s your supply chain that makes the difference.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Today we’re looking at why consumer engagement has become a vital part of marketing strategies. Part II will get into why your supply chain is the key to effective consumer engagement. Let’s get started.
What is consumer engagement?
Consumer engagement is part of a larger marketing strategy with interlocking elements that support and complement one another. It’s often mentioned in the same breath as customer experience (a.k.a. CX or CEX) and user experience (UX). It is definitely part of brand protection, which we’ll be talking about in another blog series.
The goal of consumer engagement is to establish and maintain a connection with your customers. It is a sustained interaction between brand and customer. It is fueled by content such as videos, rewards programs, and games/contests, and on-demand product information, such as traceability data that proves that your product is what you say it is.
Top benefits of effective consumer engagement
Consumers are not the only ones who reap rewards from consumer engagement. You — your company, your brand, your bottom line — stand to gain a lot. Here are just a few examples:
You’ll promote stronger customer relationships
Your consumer engagement strategy should make your customers want to continue buying your product. Engaging customers across touchpoints and channels will increase the likelihood of forming stronger relationships with them. When you move beyond pitching only your products and begin adding value with activities and incentives, your consumers will be more inclined to turn to you when they plan to make a purchase. This allows you to develop a community of engaged loyalists who are willing to choose your brand, even if your products are more expensive than your competitors’.
You’ll get more (and better) customer feedback and insight
No matter the channel — an app, a social media platform, an email, a text message — consumers are more and more willing to share what they think about the things they buy and the experiences they have. With this valuable data about your customers, you can improve your products and product experiences and continue honing your consumer engagement strategy.
You’ll leverage personalized, proactive communication
Today, it’s all about personalization. You want to make your brand relevant to each person’s daily life. For example, if you have a product you know a consumer might find valuable, you can reach out proactively and help them understand its usefulness. You can promote a contest, a promotion, a rewards program — anything. When you communicate personally in this way, you create new value for your product while letting people know you’re interested in making their lives and product experiences richer and fuller. Artificial intelligence is likely to be the cornerstone of this type of fast, individualized consumer engagement.
You’ll build customer trust and loyalty
You don’t want your relationship with your customers to end after they purchase your product. You want them to be loyal to your brand. You want to position your brand as part of their daily lives. You want them to trust you. And you want them to tell others about you. By regularly engaging with customers — via their preferred communication channel or channels — you can demonstrate the benefits of your products. An effective consumer engagement strategy will also help you identify your customers’ concerns and determine what they care about. For example, do they demand to know where their foods come from? Are they concerned about sustainability?
This is where brand protection enters the picture. Consumer engagement is absolutely part of an effective brand protection strategy. Come back to our blog next week to read more about that!
Consumer expectations are changing faster than ever before. Just talking about your brand and hoping that people notice it is not enough — you need to start interacting and incentivizing. This is the basis of all consumer engagement.
We covered some fundamentals today. In Part II, we get into the cool stuff: Why your supply chain is the key to effective consumer engagement. It’s all about traceability, serialization, digitization, and data. So take a look at that and contact us with your questions or to schedule a short demo of our Traceability System. You can also read more about how we can help you take your consumer engagement activities to the next level.