You want my ‘engagement’? It’ll cost you…
Posted by: TNP Ltd
Date added: Tue 25 Oct 2011
I have political leanings, teams I support, hobbies. I read, watch TV, listen to radio, and am on a social network. I work, sleep, eat, play, and socialize, and…the rest. For 24 hours each and every day I am doing something, engaging with something.
You want my engagement? - What’s in it for me?
It is a truism that highly engaged customers or donors are more profitable. Like most truisms, it isn’t always true. Different markets have different rules.
Some markets, for example, are ‘itch’ markets; where we only buy when we have a specific need. Many of these have very strong brands which drive profit – think Ronseal. I trust Ronseal, and will buy this brand if I have a need for one of its products. But I’m not interested in it; I don’t want any engagement.
But maybe high value customers or donors are more engaged; Pareto et al. Perhaps: but not in all sectors. I’m a high value utility customer – but only because I haven’t bothered to switch suppliers in years.
I suspect many people who assert that engagement correlates with value haven’t had the opportunity to analyse data which measures LTV (Life Time Value) with any particular measurements of engagement, whether from market research, social networking commentary or indirect recruitment or MGM programmes. Some charities can’t yet run their volunteer database against their donor database. And for most charities, there are significant legacies from people ‘unknown’ to the organisation.
Today, many customers and donors actively choose not to be engaged with certain sectors or brands and yet provide valuable income or profit. The evidence ranges from the growth of Which?/formal and informal assessment sites to the rise of comparison and intermediary sites. In the charity sector sponsored events – from Race for Life to Extreme Ironing – can generate significant income with little or no engagement by either the participants or donor.
Some new giving sites actively support the idea that rather than engage with a charity, you can (should) ‘chop and change’ between different charity projects – and opt out of giving any charity your contact details. Personally, I continue to give a mid-value monthly gift to a charity to which I have never given any contact details in the 14 years of my activity. I don’t want to engage with them; I just want them to keep up the good fight.
These arguments do not mitigate the value of engagement; they argue for a more considered and focused approach, an understanding that engagement is not the brand be all and end all, and a realisation that being truly customer centric recognises that non engagement is also a respectable choice.
Charities have wanted my engagement for a long time. They want me to care about their cause as much as they do. To make me feel engaged, they’ve filled my post and email with information, case histories, and exhortations. Political parties have done the same. Commercial brands used to try buy loyalty with incentives programmes; but now they want me to ‘follow them’ for more than just the special offers.
And it is pretty clear from the latest reports that many companies believe that driving engagement through online activity is fast becoming critical to success. Part of the reason may be defensive: we have to do it because it’s the norm and people expect it; because our competitors are doing it; to have real time opportunity to catch and respond to negative buzz.
And there are of course huge positive drivers: effective social engagement on line can provide unique and blisteringly powerful insight - from a sincere form of ‘reality check to full blown co creation – as well as short term incremental income
You want my engagement. Why should I stop ‘engaging’ with one or more of the things I currently do – time is a zero growth market – to spend time, interest, emotion, brain cells, with you?
If you just have something you want to tell me, forget it. Unless I idolize you, it won’t work.
What’s in it for me?
Engagement demands a reward. Engagement programmes need a proposition based on a relevant and compelling consumer benefit, be it rational, emotional, spiritual, social, aesthetic, entertainment or commercial.
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