The Evolving Audience Engagement Landscape
By Adam Post July 10, 2017
Audience engagement strategy is not what it used to be. A global marketplace, mobile technology, and an increased desire for experiences has shifted the way consumers want to engage. Additionally, consumers receive hundreds of messages every day, which has shifted the power balance away from brands and into the hands of buyers and consumers themselves, as they direct their attention towards the messages that are most valuable and interesting to them. More than ever, audience engagement is a moving target that requires proactive, dynamic action from brands rather than reliance on traditional, static messaging.
Simply put, brands must transform their engagement strategies or risk losing their audiences.
Experience Over Messaging
Today, consumers have a world of choices when it comes to buying goods and services. No longer limited to brick-and-mortar, consumers can order a TV from Amazon, pick up clothing from Etsy, and order groceries for delivery using their iPhone. The key to engaging today’s choice-rich consumers is to reach them at a 1:1 level, offering them an engagement experience across multiple channels rather than simply telling them what to buy.
Even what brands have traditionally thought of as an “experience” or a “journey” is different in today’s evolving engagement landscape. Where users or consumers were once guided by a brand, today, they influence the brand. Consumers seek options, information, connectivity, and value from brands.
Think of the once-simple act of ordering a pizza for delivery. You used to pick up a phone, order, wait for a driver and eat your meal. Now, you engage over an app, in which you customize your pie, buy sides, pay for dinner, and even tip your driver. The app then tells you where your pizza is in the process, who took your order, who’s cooking it, and the name of your delivery driver. You can still order by phone, but you can also chat, text, or ask a virtual assistant, like Siri or Alexa, to order it for you.
Audiences no longer want to simply call their local pizza spot and blindly wait for their delivery person to arrive. They want to control the ordering process: Ordering a pizza is now an experience rather than a reaction to a message. Brands that offer a better experience through interaction and collaboration earn greater audience engagement.
Transforming engagement strategies to adapt to consumer-driven journeys is key for a brand to maintain relevance to its audience. Brands that fail to offer an enhanced experience risk being left behind as their audiences journey forward without them.
Options Over One-Size-Fits-All
Another major shift in the engagement ecosystem is the audience-driven demand for more channels. A pop-up ad or an email message is simply no longer enough. Today’s messages need to be personalized and consistent enough to make an audience feel as though a brand “knows” who they are, what they need, and when they need it. This requires 1:1 messaging through multiple platforms and across any channel a consumer may choose to engage.
The demand for options is not only for messaging purposes. Technology has disrupted the ways in which audiences demand service, information, and even fulfillment. A purchase transaction is no longer just one retailer versus another. Consumers require reviews, service by chat, and multiple fulfillment choices, from store pickup, to delivery, to drone drop.
Brands need to be out in front of their audience, anticipating where their journeys will lead them. Brands still have some control over what an audience’s journey should look like, but with the increasing numbers of pathways, it’s becoming more and more difficult to guess which one an audience will take. A brand needs to be prepared to engage across all possible channels or risk audience attrition.
Prepare to Evolve
In order to connect with today’s savvier, more-collaborative, choice-hungry audiences, your brand must be equipped with dynamic engagement capabilities that can predict, as well as react to, the whims of an evolving audience. Brands who continue to rely on traditional engagement strategies must evolve to remain relevant.
If your brand is ready to evolve, contact Magnet 360 and let us show you what a digital transformation can mean for your audience engagement capabilities.