Engagement Marketing

Engagement marketing is the use of strategic, best marketing strategy, resourceful content to engage people, and create meaningful interactions over time.

What is engagement marketing?

Engagement marketing is the use of strategic, resourceful content to engage people and create meaningful interactions over time. With today’s connected and overwhelmed consumer base, people are seeing about 3,000 messages a day—out of which a person will remember an average of four. This obviously presents a problem for marketers. Clearly, people don’t like to be sold to, so how are we supposed to reach buyers? For starters, we must keep in mind that just because people don’t like marketing doesn’t mean they aren’t making purchases. So, we must reach potential buyers in a different way. That’s where engagement marketing comes in.

When you implement engagement marketing, you create meaningful interactions with people rather than flashing ads in front of them. Using data based on who they are and their behavior, marketers can reach people in personal and meaningful ways with the added benefit of moving customers along the sales funnel more quickly by creating programs that are targeted and strategic. Engagement marketing is a cross-channel approach utilizing email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and marketing automation to create an inbound marketing program with solid engagement. 

Buyers today are armed with a wealth of information at their fingertips—they don’t need ads to discover products, they can find them by themselves. In fact, it is estimated that as much as 90% of buyers are familiar with a brand before they ever interact with it, so marketers must get ahead of the curve. In our view, your most valuable asset isn’t your product—it’s your customers. The most successful companies succeed because they excel during each stage of the customer lifecycle. This means acquiring new buyers, growing their lifetime value, and converting buyers into advocates. And today, it's on marketers to become stewards of the customer journey and to build bonds with customers wherever they are—whether that means engaging on social media, presenting a unified experience across devices, or personalizing content and communications. A successful engagement marketing program can be extremely effective in spreading brand awareness for a much lower cost than traditional advertising. For example, a well curated and targeted content marketing strategy can put your business in the powerful position of being a thought leader, building trust and brand preference as you help buyers educate themselves on future purchases.

“We’re entering a new phase of marketing right now. The new discipline is emerging from the early experiments and pilot investments. And it’s way more strategic and central than anybody thought.” 

– Doug Kessler, Creative Director & and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners

Common problems that engagement marketing can solve

Engagement marketing takes into consideration all stages and types of the buyer journey, and a successful program can build lasting bonds with your customers.

  • Problem: I need to build better brand awareness. Brands in novelty and B2B industries feel they have to at least start with disruptive marketing strategies to get the buyer’s attention and generate an interest or hunger for their product. Engagement marketing can generate attention and earn trust by answering the questions that they do have. Many real-estate professionals, for example, engage prospects by sharing resources and content based on their geographic area. Focusing on self-education can provide visibility to your business.

  • Problem: My current marketing tactics aren’t generating any interest. No matter what your product is, if you can align it, along with your services, toward pain points and topics that your target customers care about, you will see an uptick in interest. Demonstrate your passion for your product, service, and/or target audience through whatever channels fit best, and you will discover creative ways to be interesting. 

  • Problem: I need to create better preference for my brand. Once you’ve established awareness, you need to establish preference. Successful content marketing creates preference through thought leadership by making you a trusted source of information and education. You can also create preference through relationships, which are strengthened whenever your content entertains or helps your buyers. 

  • Problem: I need to reach more buyers and customers, but at lower costs. According to Forrester Research, today’s customers distrust and resent marketing that interrupts or intercepts them. Engaging content marketing is part of a natural conversation with current and potential customers because it is relevant to their interests and behaviors and builds a continuous story over time. Unlike traditional marketing, content pays dividends for a very long time and provides lasting value for customers. That said, content marketing is a long game, so the more effort you put forth, the better results you’ll see over time.

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Components of engagement marketing

Implementation of an effective engagement marketing program requires you to throw most of what you know about traditional marketing out the window, so you can connect with customers on a deep, meaningful level. 

  • Engaging people as individuals. Whether you’re talking to a CIO about software or a new mom about breakfast bars, you’ll want to be well versed on your buyer’s individual preferences, history, relationship with your company, stage in the buying journey, and so on. While persona-based marketing defines and speaks to your typical buyers, one-to-one marketing speaks to individuals on their own terms.

  • Engaging people based on what they do. Rather than assuming that since a buyer fits a certain profile, they will be interested in a certain product, we can now target individuals based on how they behave. You can then use behavior on one channel—say, an interaction on your company’s Facebook page—to inform marketing on another channel—such as the message that appears when that person visits your website. 

  • Engaging people continuously over time. We now have the opportunity to listen and respond to every customer at every stage of the buying journey, keeping them engaged, and helping to drive purchase decisions. Using intelligent nurture tracks, marketing messages should flow in a logical fashion, creating engaging, personalized conversations. It’s not about individual messages, or even individual campaigns—every interaction asks for another interaction, and is part of a longer chain of events. 

  • Engaging people toward an outcome. Once you’ve acquired a customer, your new goal is to create a long-term, reciprocal relationship of value for both you and your customer. Whenever you communicate with your buyers, keep the customer journey in mind. Engagement marketing isn’t about relationship building for its own sake, it’s about relationship building toward a goal. 

  • Engaging people everywhere they are. Today’s customer is everywhere, so it’s vital that you create a consistent experience for them. To do this, you must acknowledge the nuances of individual channels, yet still present a unified message. However, to make the shift from siloed communications, you need a program specifically designed to drive engagement on your website, on tablets and smartphones, via email, through social networks, at in-person events, and beyond.

Learn more about what engagement marketing can offer in our ebook, The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing.

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Return on investment (ROI) of a successful engagement marketing program

Quite simply, when you engage with customers, build trust, and create brand preference, your revenue will show the results. 

  • Engagement marketing leads to trust. Eighty-five percent of consumers trust solutions that take the time to walk them through various paths toward decisions, rather than just providing an answer outright. 

  • Engagement marketing leads to clicks. Triggered email messages have 71% higher open rates and 102% higher click rates than non-triggered emails (Every Cloud). 

  • Engagement marketing leads to measurable success. Eighty-seven percent of marketers report a measurable lift from their personalization efforts (Evergage).

Learn more about how to get engagement marketing right in our on-demand webinar.

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Planning, implementing, and optimizing your engagement marketing program

Engagement marketing is an omnichannel approach that requires planning, implementation, optimization, and upkeep. Rolling out an engagement marketing program can be a lot of work, but you’ll get out of it what you put in.

  • Step 1: Map and develop your buyer personas and journeys. Before you start producing new campaigns or content, determine what kind of information your current and future buyers need. Your buyer personas will help you define your audience—their challenges, questions, needs, and the kind of content they like to consume—while their buying stages tell you what each piece of content should accomplish.

  • Step 2: Develop your brand voice. It’s important to present a consistent experience across channels, which means you need to define your brand’s voice. Whether you’re creating content for your blog, your website, or on social, the style you write in will become the voice of your brand. But while you may choose to adopt a more playful voice on Twitter and a more professional voice in a white paper, consistency is key.

  • Step 3: Brainstorm and flesh out your context mix. Planning and creating new strategies and tactics isn’t just about mapping and metrics, it’s also about creating inspired content. Think about the type of content that serves your objectives best. Content marketing comes in many forms, and the form you choose depends on many factors: your audience’s preferences, your industry’s standards, and, of course, your bandwidth and budget.

  • Step 4: Set an editorial calendar and launch. An editorial calendar is not only where you keep track of, coordinate, and share your upcoming content, it is a strategic tool that helps your team execute integrated programs that include your content. Keeping an editorial calendar ensures that you’re releasing your content at the best possible moment, and that your whole team is aligned around the release dates. 

  • Step 5: Optimize and scale. Your promotion strategy will depend on your audience and your needs, but the best approach to promotion is a wide-reaching one. Don’t start to scale and add new channels until you have a good measurement strategy in place. To do this, you’ll need to define your content goals, decide how you will measure results, and align your key stakeholders. We recommend covering your bases by measuring early-stage metrics, and then tying them back to pipeline and revenue.


Learn more about how to get engagement marketing working for you in our Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing.

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