Courtship Digital Marketing: Making Moves to Engage

Night club dance floor.

The right place to make a move?

You’re ready to make the move to the next level with that special someone; it’s time to get serious about the courtship…but when and where to make the overture? Maybe on a crowded dance floor? Perhaps during a business trip? Just as you would carefully consider all your options for that personal conversation, so to should you for making overtures to your customers.

Think about the following three digital areas: paid media, your website and social media. Then ask yourself this question: Where are consumers most likely to engage with your brand? Now, ask yourself the question again but don’t think about engagement as just noticing your brand or product; rather, think about engagement in the terms we touched on above – as the moment when a consumer decides whether or not to enter into a real courtship with your brand. Did your answer change?

Your courtship might be with a new lead that has never used your brand before; it could be with an existing customer with whom you have an opportunity to build loyalty or grow basket size; or it might be with a former customer that you could win back. In all cases you need to connect with them in the environment most conducive to them engaging with you. You’re asking for their time, money and mind-share – they have very limited supply of all three – so it’s in your best interest to pick the right place to make the overture.

Let’s consider these one-by-one: Paid Media, Website, Social Media.

Paid Media
Many of you may have at first picked this as the most likely place for a consumer to engage, but I’m guessing you changed your thought on it when thinking about the deeper goal of courtship.

For the most part paid media is about reach and awareness. These are necessary tools since you really wont be very successful courting customers if they have no idea who you are. But in terms of a highly effective medium for true engagement this is not the ideal space.

While there are some instances where the use of rich media or in-ad video may gain a level of engagement, for the most part this is the crowded dance floor scenario – to loud, too crowded. And with click-through rates in the basement at .09%, don’t look here for engagement.

This is a more conducive environment than the paid media landscape for sure. Many advantages are afforded to you on your site. You have control of your site. You have creative freedom on your site. There’s no competition on your site. But what about the consumer, what do they think about your site?

Forrester ecosystem

How Forrester sees the digital world.

Well, according to Forrester consumers have more trust in corporate websites then in “any other marketing channel.” For Forrester that’s enough to make the call that this is the place to focus on engagement. In fact, Forrester puts corporate websites at the center of their digital ecosystem model. While the trust that consumers place in your corporate site does mean it’s a valuable resource for corporate and product information, its does not follow that it’s also the most effective place to engage. This also does not mean that that a corporate Facebook page is something less trustworthy than a corporate site.

It’s also worth noting that a corporate website is a good place to build custom, rich experiences – e.g. education, entertainment, video, etc. These experiences are great gateways to deeper brand engagement. However, is the website the best place to focus on driving engagement with your customer on these items?

Social Media

Website versus Facebook traffic

Facebook fans dwarf site traffic.

While a Facebook fan does not equate directly to a proactive site visitor, it’s clear that from an overall numbers perspective social is disproportionatly more engaging then corporate websites. Coca-Cola has almost 23 million Facebook fans but just 270 thousand monthly website visitors. If you were the CMO at Coke, where would you rather spend money trying to engage?

Social media is also, well, social. It’s the digital space where people share, post, comment, tag, etc., etc. So, while you may have more control on your website and you can even integrate social connectivity with Twitter and Facebook into your site…you’re just not going to have the same volume of consumers or propensity for viral activity on your site as you will on social platforms.

A THINK view of the digital ecosystem

A macro view of the digital ecosystem

For me, its clear that social is the ultimate environment for making those deeper overtures to consumers. We like to look at the digital ecosystem with the customer in the center. Using this system model we can allocate resources, build content, learn and adjust as we go and ultimately maximize our efforts to have a deeper relationship with consumers.

THINK specializes in helping brands understand their customers and then finding ways to break through the cluttered marketplace to make meaningful connections with them. We’re skilled in the creation of compelling experiences with sustainable models that drive ongoing ROI for businesses. Please feel free to reach out to us; we’d love to hear from you.