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Why Engagement-Led Marketing Is The Future For Consumer Businesses

Brands need to include the audience in their marketing and not throw marketing techniques on to them

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

‘The more you engage with the customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing’ – John Russell (President, Harley Davidson)

The era of customization has passed. Brands now are switching to hyper personalized dialogue with the consumers. This kind of dialogue sets up the consumer journey wherever the consumer wants to lead it. With the growth in technology in marketing brands today can connect robustly with consumers across different communication channels in various ways. From promotion discounts to order confirmations to remarketing to customer reviews etc, brands interact with consumers constantly to improve customer experience.

This dialogue helps brands understand the consumer better. This way the consumer becomes the head of marketing in any company, working in any industry. 

Because of these reasons and more, engagement led marketing is becoming an important part of every marketer’s arsenal.

It brings your consumer to sit at the table, to become a part of the brand story.

The modern consumer is a totally different entity now. With the hyperconnected world and a multiplied screen time, the consumer/prospective consumer is not the same like they used to be 10 years ago.

The modern consumer,

Craves content. With so much content available online, consumers need easy to browse through, useful content that adds value to their lives. That is a large list of parameters for content to qualify, but then again the quantity of content competing for consumer attention is also huge.

Likes to have a dialogue. Millennials and GenZ are highly educated consumers who do their research on products and brands well in advance for buying anything. You think you can throw around some technical terms to prove that your product is better than your competitor’s? Think again. Consumers are not just well educated but well connected as well. If they don’t know about something they set out to do their secondary form of research via reviews, unboxing videos and what not.

They like to keep their point forward and do not like to be forced into a brand conversation.

Brands need to make content that lets the consumers approach the brand themselves. The content brands make needs to be worth a reaction. Getting a reaction from a person on an email out of the 100 emails he swipes past each day is a mammoth task.

Demands Transparency. The new age consumer is hyper-connected to friends, family and even brands. This is not the age for big faceless corporations running the world. This is the age of consumers and brands forming impeccable journeys of growth.

Brands managers need to present their brand as an open book and answer this question on a regular basis, ‘Describe your brand as if it were a person’.

Brands with a purpose are sought after. Again, imagining a brand as a person, wouldn’t you want the brand you buy from, to have certain values it believes in? Millennials are highly value driven and want the brands they buy from to align with their values.

A research done by Edelman in 2019 states 64% of people don’t buy from a brand due to its position on a social or political issue.

No one wants to buy anything from a big corporation anymore. They want to buy from an entity that stands for something and is run by humans like them. Humans who have a similar mindset like theirs.

The transparency is essential because most consumers have a brief idea if not a detailed one, as to what is going on in the background for the brand. The multiple touchpoints make sure of that.

Indian brand campaigns that defined the term ‘engagement’ in the best way possible

Saffola Beat the Crave WhatsApp campaign:

Saffola did this campaign to promote its new slimming nutri shake. The campaign concept was that we all have unhealthy food cravings at times. At that time if you have someone to distract your mind from those cravings until they pass, it would help you stay healthy.

Saffola sent users entertaining audio clips or motivational messages to distract them from that craving.

Image source: Social samosa

Once the user adds his number on the microsite, the Saffola #BeatTheCrave account sent the first message and the user receives it as a voice note. Then onwards whenever the user feels a craving he can text #BeatTheCrave account and the diet buddy will reply with a voice note or a motivational message.

The #BeatTheCrave WhatsApp campaign increased Saffola’s Nutri-Shake product sales by 483% within the first month according to WATConsult.

Zomato, adding quirk to our inbox:

Zomato has been revolutionizing engagement led marketing, be it on social media or on mail.

Biryani was the highest selling dish on Zomato during lockdown with 44 lacs plus orders. Zomato sent a witty curriculum vitae of Biryani on mail to fill the role of ‘chief cravings officer in our hearts’. 

This was contextually relevant as unemployment was at its highest and so were stress levels due to covid outbreak. There were a lot of job seekers in the market.

Zomato hit the right spot contextually and also helped bring a smile to all these weary faced professionals who otherwise were going through a tough time of job and salary cuts.

Here is how it looks like,

Image source: My personal mailbox

Zomato has been using insights and humour to drive its email communication. It is a brand you would not want to unsubscribe.

BookMyShow hooks up with dream girl:

BoomMyShow’s campaign for Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest film Dream Girl, which released in theatres on September 13th, hit the sweet spot through their creative and catchy push notifications.

BookMyShow used their mobile push notifications in an ingenious way. They made their push notification look like a missed call from dream girl with an IVR number. The CTR on the notification was 9X the benchmark CTR received by other BMS push notifications.

Image source: BookMyShow website

BookMyShow received quite a lot of user generated content in form of responses across social media for this brilliant push notification idea.

Further, an SMS was sent on the release date asking the audience to book tickets for the film Dream Girl with the context of meeting Dream Girl in theatres. (SMS screenshot below):

Image source: BookMyShow website

The campaign received a tonne of witty responses from the audience across social media along with a lot of adulation from the audience.

This is what happens when brands do something the audience has not expected them to do. They get the best kind of media, ie earned media.

These were just 3 examples of engagement led marketing from the recent past. There are a lot of brands like Tinder, Durex, Netflix, Amazon who deserve a mention whenever engagement led marketing is talked about.

Humanizing the brands via banters

Brand banters have become a great way to engage with the audience and with other brands as well. Twitter might not have a very high engagement rate but such banters make it an attractive place to spend time for brands and customers alike.

Brand banters are of two types:

  • Planned banters: Where a few brands come together and plan to do a banter on Twitter which is scripted by their respective marketing teams/agencies.
  • Spontaneous banters: Where a brand addresses another brand or a customer directly without any pre-decided scripting done.

From a point of view of brand safety, planned banters are better as there is lesser risk of any legal issues or hurting sentiments of any brand/person. But from a point of view of creativity and to increase the fun quotient among the audience as well, spontaneous banters are a better choice.

Which route a brand takes totally depends on their policy on brand safety and how open they are to taking risks.

Indigo Airlines spreading the #StayingParkedStayingSafe message

During the early days of the pandemic lockdown in April, the brands from the Indian aviation space came together in a Twitter banter started off by Indigo Airlines. Other aviation players joined in one by one along with the Delhi Airport as well.

The banter was primarily about how staying parked is staying safe. This was an innovative but a brilliant way to spread the stay at home message among the audience with a touch of humour to stay relevant as a brand.

Here’s how the banter looked:

This banter was most probably a planned one, but everyone agreed to the point that staying home and staying safe is the way to go in this time of crisis.

The brand banters and content that the audience can relate to, is something everyone is looking for these days. No one wants to be sold to. They want to be talked to and understood.

Brands need to include the audience in their marketing and not throw marketing techniques on to them.

Engagement-led marketing is the way to go for brands, even more so, as the world gets more hyper-connected by the second and the content quantity and quality both improves across all online channels.

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Bhavay Wadhwa
Written By

Bhavay Wadhwa is a Social media and Content marketing enthusiast currently working with Dentsu Aegis Network helping brands tell their stories. When away from digital marketing, he loves playing guitar and vocals. Follow him on LinkedIn

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