Engagement marketing

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Engagement marketing, sometimes called "experiential marketing," "event marketing," "on-ground marketing," "live marketing," or "participation marketing," is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages consumers to participate in the evolution of a brand. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs, developing a relationship with the brand.

Consumer Engagement is when a brand and a consumer connect. According to Brad Nierenberg, experiential marketing is the live, one-on-one interactions that allow consumers to create connections with brands. [1] Consumers will continue to seek and demand one-on-one, shareable interaction with a brand. [2]


Engagement measures the extent to which a consumer has a meaningful brand experience when exposed to commercial advertising, sponsorship, television contact, or other experience. In March 2006 the Advertising Research Foundation defined Engagement as "turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context".[3] The ARF has also defined the function whereby engagement impacts a brand: File:Engagement.gif

Engagement is complex because a variety of exposure and relationship factors affect engagement, making simplified rankings misleading. Typically, engagement with a medium often differs from engagement with advertising, according to an analysis conducted by the Magazine Publishers of America.[4]

Related to this notion is the term program engagement, which is the extent to which consumers recall specific content after exposure to a program and advertising. Starting in 2006 U.S. broadcast networks began guaranteeing specific levels of program engagement to large corporate advertisers.[5]

Multi-dimensional communication

Keith Ferrazzi wrote in 2009 that we were moving out of the Information Age and into what he termed the Relationship Age. "Emotion, empathy, and cooperation are critical to success," he wrote, "at a time when technology and human interaction are intersecting in new ways. Trust and conversation are crucial in this new economy." [6][7]

Ultimately, engagement marketing attempts to connect more strongly consumers with brands by "engaging" them in a dialogue and two-way, cooperative interaction. Robert Gourley, the creative director of the participation, summed up the idea this way; "People don't talk to brands, they talk to people." [8]

This conversation between consumers and the products and services they consume is an attempt to take historical one-dimensional communication to a new level.

For decades, consumers would simply watch a commercial or look at a print ad that advertisers produced. One-way communication isn't considered engagement. In 2006, researchers from the market research company Gallup identified two-dimensional (two-way) communication where consumers participate, share, and interact with a brand as a creator of the engagement crucial to business and personal success.[9]

Two-dimensional (2D) communication and engagement is where "both giver and receiver are listening to each other, interacting, learning and growing from the process."[10]

Three-dimensional engagement, coined "3DE" in the book "The Relationship Age,"[11][page needed] has "not only length and width, but depth, where both giver and receiver connect to a higher power and are changed in the experience. Not just a conversation, but connection to a purpose that transforms all in the process." [12][13]

Engagement marketing as philosophy

Greg Ippolito, former creative director of the engagement marketing agency Annodyne, wrote that the key point of differentiation between engagement marketing and other forms is that the former "is anchored by a philosophy, rather than a focus on specific marketing tools." [14] That philosophy is that audiences should be engaged in the sales process when they want, and by which channels they prefer.

He argues that traditional top-down marketing results, largely, in the production and communication of white noise. Whereas engagement marketing assumes a different approach:

Think of a salesperson who walks up to you in a store. You tell him thanks, you’re okay, you’re just looking. But he hovers and looms, finds ways to insert himself into your activity, and is a general annoyance. That’s what typical marketing feels like: intrusive and disruptive. Engagement Marketing is the opposite. It’s a salesperson who hangs back and engages you if/when you need help. Who can sense what you want to do, and help you arrive at that decision. Who will contact you directly with exclusive sales information, if — and only if — you request it.
Engagement Marketing, done well, means connecting with audiences who want to hear from you, in relevant, meaningful, interesting ways. If you can pull that off, everything changes.[14]

After launching IMA in 2013, Ippolito shifted his focus to momentum marketing — described as "the next evolution of engagement marketing"[15] — which shares the same customer-centric philosophy, but places a greater emphasis on leveraging data to reach target audiences online via their most well-traveled channels:

[M]odern consumers are hard to pin down; they're constantly in motion — traversing different spaces, utilizing different media, and as always, experiencing a range of different thoughts and feelings throughout any given day ... [The key is to] leverage the existing momentum of target consumers. By doing so, we can organically guide them where we want them to go — with minimum waste and maximum efficiency.[16]

Brand experience

The brand and the "brand experience" are directly taken to consumers through interactive channels of retail, digital and live events. Rather than wait for the consumer to find it, the brand takes itself directly to the consumer with campaigns that resonate on a personal level.

This is closely related to the definition of transparent marketing. Transparent Marketing is a strategy used to personalize the content marketed to a customer by engaging them in Web 2.0 social media technologies such as blogs, live chat and product ratings. Through these web based technologies, companies are able to provide true transparency to their company and products, good or bad. In addition, they are able to build trusting and lasting relationships with their customers.

In an interview with Henry Jenkins (DeFlorz Professor of Humanities and Founder and Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT), Alan Moore said...

Engagement Marketing is a very broad term, and purposefully so. At its heart, is the insight that human beings are highly social animals, and have an innate need to communicate and interact. Therefore, any engagement marketing initiative must allow for two-way flows of information and communication. We believe, people embrace what they create.

And why is this important? Because in advanced economies the values of society and the individual change. At the heart of this is the key issue around identity and belonging. We have always had community. Pre-industrialization, we were tied to our communities by geography, tradition, the state and birthright. External forces shaped our identity. However, in a post-modern world we can have many selves, as we undertake a quest for self identity.

This is described as Psychological Self-Determination the ability to exert control over the most important aspects of one's life, especially personal identity, which has become the source of meaning and purpose in a life no longer dictated by geography or tradition.[17]

The Community Generation, shun traditional organizations in favor of unmediated relationship to the things they care about. The Community Generation, seek and expect direct participation and influence. They possess the skills to lead, confer and discuss. These people are not watching television and have grown up in a world of search and two-way flows of communication.

Going further Engagement Marketing is premised upon: transparency - interactivity - immediacy - facilitation - engagement - co-creation - collaboration - experience and trust, these words define the migration from mass media to social media.

The explosion of: Myspace, YouTube, Second Life and other MMORPG's, Citizen Journalism, Wicki's and Swicki's, TV formats like Pop Idol, or Jamies School Dinners, Blogs, social search, The Guinness Visitor Centre in Dublin or the Eden project in Cornwall UK, mobile games like Superstable or Twins, or, new business platforms like Spreadshirt.com all demonstrate a new socio-economic model, where engagement sits at the epicentre.[18]

From Alan Moore's second interview with Henry Jenkins:[19]

Last Friday, I introduced my readers to Alan Moore — not the comic book creator but the brand guru — a cutting edge thinker about the ways that grassroots communities are reshaping the branding process. Moore, with Tomi T Ahonen, wrote a book called Communities Dominate Brands. The book spells out their vision for where media is headed — towards what Moore described last time as a "connected society"— and what it means for the branding process. Here, Moore gets deeper into some of the issues which will be of particular interest to regular readers of this blog — the economic value of fans to advertisers and media producers, the issue of compensating for user-generated content, the case of Pop Idol as a global media franchise, and the concept of transmedia planning.

Early examples of successful engagement marketing campaigns

PROMO magazine has credited Gary M. Reynolds, founder of GMR Marketing of New Berlin, Wisconsin, with being the pioneer in the practice of engagement marketing. It has cited Reynolds' formation of the Miller Band Network in 1979 as the seminal engagement marketing moment.[20] In Japan, Tohato launched two new snacks brands, "Tyrant Habanero Burning Hell Hot" and "Satan Jorquia Bazooka Deadly Hot" in 2007 in an award-winning campaign which broke new ground in engagement marketing by combining multiplayer online gaming with advertising, on a mobile phone. Customers were encouraged to join nightly battles in a virtual game, on behalf of either snack brand, to determine the winner of the "World's Worst War". The games ran at 4 AM. The campaign was designed by Japanese ad agency Hakuhodo and won the Yellow Pencil award at the annual D&AD advertising awards ceremony where mobile ads were recognized for the first time in May 2008.

Another example of engagement marketing is seen in the marketing strategy of Jones Soda. At the company's website, regular customers are allowed to send in photos that will then be printed on bottles of the soda. These photos can be put on a small order of custom-made soda, or, if the photos are interesting enough, they can be put into production and used as labels for a whole production run.[21] This strategy is effective at getting customers to co-create the product, and engaging customers with the brand.

Another good example of engagement marketing is seen in the unique marketing strategy of Jaihind Collection Pune for their paraplegic fashion Show.[22] This strategy is effective at getting customers to co-create the product, and engaging customers with the brand.

Common offline engagement marketing tools

  • Mobile marketing tours: often, brands will utilize custom-branded RV's, Buses, and Motor Coaches to draw attention to their offering, serving as mobile billboards as well as mobile centers to create brand experiences on-site in retail parking lots or at larger events.
  • Marketing through amenities: companies promote their brands through interactive marketing via amenities such as charging stations.
  • IOT Device connected to social platforms that display the numbers of fans and personalised messages to the off line customers.

Common online engagement marketing tools

  • Blogs: For engagement marketing purposes, companies can share content on their own blogs and participate as a commenter or content provider on relevant external blogs. Hosting a campaign that gives prizes to the readers of external blogs for their participation in some kind of contest is an example of an engagement marketing campaign aimed at external blogs.
  • Social networking sites: Social networking sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) are ideal for engagement marketing because they provide a way for people to interact with brands and create a two-way dialogue between customers and companies. Most companies maintain a presence on several of these sites.
  • Webcasts: Differing from internal webcast meetings with a small, specific invitation list, engagement marketing online events are aimed at a much larger and public audience. They are typically available live or on-demand, which allows viewers to view content on their own schedule. Similar to conferences, audience members can ask the speakers questions and participate in polls during live webcasts.
  • Email campaigns: One of the earliest online engagement marketing tools, email marketing requires target audiences to opt-in to directly receive a marketer’s emails. Companies can also encourage individuals to share their messages virally, via the forwarding of emails to colleagues, friends and family.
  • Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing sites offer engagement marketing opportunities through their open media contests. Crowdsourcing sites like these generate brand ambassadors as an organic byproduct of the crowdsourcing process itself by encouraging users to share their submissions on various social networking sites. By first engaging fans and consumers in the act of shaping the brand identity itself, there is increased brand awareness and development of brand relationships well before launching any official media campaign.[23]

See also


  1. Best Bosses April, 2006
  2. What’s Next in Branding Is Ready to Go. Are You? February 19, 2007
  3. Advertising Research Foundation Press Release on Program Engagement, March 21, 2006
  4. "Marketers Mulling ARF Engagement Definition"
  5. Steinberg, Brian. "NBC Bets Its Viewers Pay Attention." The Wall Street Journal, online edition.
  6. "In tough times, keep your friends close - Business Book Review" bizlex.com October 15, 2009
  7. Five rules for success in the relationship age mediabizbloggers.com Jack Myers December 21, 2010
  8. "7 Tips for Effective Marketing with Twitter". Mojave Interactive.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Who's Driving Innovation at Your Company?" Gallup.com September 14, 2006
  10. "The Relationship Age" Mari Smith and leading social media experts from around the world (2010) p222 ISBN 0-9829083-1-8
  11. Katrina Kavvalos (2010). The Relationship Age. Celebrity Press. ISBN 978-0982908310.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Social Media jtewing.com November 18, 2010
  13. Katrina Kavvalos (2010). The Relationship Age. Celebrity Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-0982908310.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Engagement Marketing 101 (Redux)", Marketing Daily, April 18, 2012
  15. "IMA: Philosophy", IMA, Retrieved August 25, 2015
  16. "Momentum Marketing", Marketing Daily, August 8, 2013
  17. "selfdeterminationtheory.org — An Approach to human motivation & personality". selfdeterminationtheory.org.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Engagement Marketing: An Interview with Alan Moore (Part One)". henryjenkins.org.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Engagement Marketing: An Interview With Alan Moore (Part Two)". henryjenkins.org.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. http://promomagazine.com/agencies/marketing_pace_setters/
  21. "Businessweek". Bloomberg.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Jaihind Paraplegic Fashion Show organised for the brave soldiers rendered physically challenged while protecting the nation". The Times of India.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Crowdsourcing: An Engagement Marketing Opportunity crowdsourcing.org Evan Buist April 2, 2014

Further reading

  • Ahonen, T. and Moore, Alan. "Communities Dominate Brands: Business and Marketing Challenges for the 21st Century", Futuretext, 2005. ISBN 0-9544327-3-8
  • Tönnies, Fredinand. "Community and Society: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft", Dover Publications (December 3, 2002). ISBN 978-0-486-42497-2

External links