The first TV station in the U.S. began broadcasting on July 2, 1928 – that day spawned a new era in storytelling. 90+ years later the key driver for not only TV but streaming and all online content is still storytelling – which is now dubbed the more intellectual term, audience engagement.
The ability to keep your audiences (customers) attention on a product/service during an advertisement or other event. Audience engagement must be present for there to be conversion.
Getting customers to interact and share in the experience you create for them as a business/brand. Value creation is the focus not revenue generation. A well conceived end-to-end experience.
What Used To Be
Audience and Customer Engagement used to be called Communications (which has now evolved into the most important aspect of overall marketing and brand management – the engagement). This, in turn, led to the question of how to spend money on advertising to get the best engagement.
As with nearly all business questions, the answer starts with a line from a Hollywood script, “Follow the Money”. Advertising spend starts with content – the better (more engaging) the content the higher the ad spend. Not long ago, brand managers would commit a full season’s worth of spending in advance without a clear understanding of how a new show would perform. Fast-forward, and it’s not difficult to see the disruptive nature of the digital domain, which has given rise to ‘real-time’ advertising. Now, a treasure trove of audience data provides better targeting, tracking, and analysis at a fraction of the cost of offline advertising.
The days of the three martini, ‘Mad Men’ ad luncheon are long-gone. When ad-free Netflix emerged as a direct-to-consumer platform in tandem with the subscription model, a new era in content delivery was born.
The D2C model looks like a win-win-win-win. Content creators, Advertisers, Consumers, and Distributors are all winners. It has spawned a more personalized experience that engages the audience and, of course, personalized advertising!
- Content creators : need to make great and enticing content
- Advertisers : want/need real-time access to customers
- Consumers : want easy access to a wide variety of content at a reasonable price
- Content distributors : must see to it that all of the above are brought together in an efficient manner.
- First and foremost, the experience . Obsess over your customers’ needs and meet them.
- Humanize your Brand. Make every potential customer feel you understand their needs and can relate to your brand. Add audio and video content to your platform and use social marketing.
- Add humor to your social media content.
- Customer personalization. From auto-generated happy birthday emails to product recommendations based on browsing history, make the customer feel welcomed and needed.
- Create value content. Provide instructional content. Written, audio and visual ‘How To’ content.
- Listen to consumers. Are they responding? Are they providing constructive advice?
Engagement (be it Audience or Customer) must be communicated with the right message, to the right people, and at the right time and place. This will lead them to a desired outcome. The best engagement is conversational.
- Get to the point. Your message must be clear – instantly. An action-oriented message that explains what you want the prospect to do.
- Be personable. Use photos of real people using your product. Messaging should be friendly and respectful.
- Relevance. Your message should be specific and customer appropriate. Have a calendar of events and advertise upcoming features.
- Be aware of cross-cultural issues. Various holidays and/or religious celebrations .
- Be consistent. Stay ‘on brand’ with a consistent voice and tone to your communications and content.
Ad spend is a key area of management focus. Customer engagement (personalized) is now within very business’s grasp and must be used to extract value out of each ad dollar.