Customer Engagement

Before and After Engagement
It pops up everywhere, in client meetings and requests (probably because it is the new marketing word in social and they are told they need some), in tech providers white papers, posts, etc.

Over the years, I have done my fair share of writing about it. See for example: before and after engagement, as well as exploring the kind of stories that drive engagement.

Typically, the missing part of the conversation is how we get there. This is not the same as flooding the social streams with content and promotions kind of how we get there. It's the commitment part as in working on the product and service, and then the appropriate interaction to get there.

That is usually missing in action. Yet, it is a most critical component. Along with the discovery part of the equation, which is a logical preamble to trying, favoring, and returning.

In Valentine's Day terms: you find someone, have a good experience getting to know them, fall in love, then get engaged. And put some heart into the whole process.

The human part is the hardest to master — beyond the obvious of fixing what is broken (make it easy for hand raisers to help you, too) it takes time and involvement to get where your customers can use some help from you and your brand.

Why focus on customer journey

While for the purposes of breaking down the data and acting on it marketers are still talking about funnels#, people think and act more in terms of phases of need in a continuous journey through their lives.

For example, I am not feeling well, ran some search online and found conflicting or scary information — figuring out which one I should heed is my first order of things. I don't want to do the wrong thing. In a health scenario, it is the human in the driver's seat. Let me ask an expert, my doctor, or a family member / friend who they know who can help me.

How about a car trouble scenario? Weather-related issue? What do you do when your pipes burst? What comes after the very first thing you do?

All carefully planned activities fall off the field of vision (never mind awareness) when they are presented at the wrong time. Have you ever run a search and come up with pat answers you could have given, or had to wade through lots of unhelpful copy "filler"?

While you were monitoring this, you may have been forgetting the need-based reality of what triggers a search and subsequent decisions, the criteria people use to make a selection.

You organize differently when you take them into consideration. Your content and the experience you provide change based on how you map to those needs. What happens once people are on your site, store, the company of your staff is also a moment of opportunity.

When you look at the journey only in terms of optimizing to a click#, that blink may blind you from considering how you can make it repeatable and sustainable over time.

It is hard for the brain to toggle from counting numbers to seeing people, yet toggling you must. Counting is a result of seeing (getting to know), understanding (motivations), relating to (intent), and helping make it easier.

Starting from the end 

Saying your goal is engagement needs definition. Getting there needs commitment and discipline.

It can be — actually it must be — enjoyable for all. Reducing the job to be done on the marketing side to just counting beans diminishes the opportunity for the impact of creating experiences worth having.

World and humanitarian assignment photographer David duChemim said it best#:

isn’t it possible we’ve passed the point of diminishing returns and our hunger for gear is outpacing our hunger for beauty, compelling stories, great light, and amazing moments?

We stick around for the beauty, compelling stories we can share, illuminating moments, and the good company of others.


Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard Shows Brands they Don't Have to Buy into the Usual Growth Path Story; it's possible. 


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

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