Monday, October 21, 2019
Voices

What is Customer Engagement Marketing?

Erin Ollila
April 03, 2019

3 minute read

The omnichannel approach to sales is redefining how marketers approach their audience. Now, instead of focusing on how one message appears on targeted platforms, marketing teams are scrambling to create multiple messages for a singular campaign to deploy over various channels — all with the hopes of getting the attention of the right customers. But, what if brands didn’t have to rely so heavily on a mass message, and instead tried personalizing their approach to individual consumers?

Enter customer engagement marketing (CEM).

What is CEM?

Customer engagement marketing happens when a company uses personalized messaging to move their audience through a sales cycle — changing a lead into a customer and nurturing current customers to become more brand loyal.

In an interview for this article, Paul Miser, CEO & Co-Founder, Chinatown Bureau, a digital strategy consulting agency, suggests that this approach helps brands fulfill customer expectations, too. He says, “In today’s business environment, a company needs to move beyond simply communicating their brand promise and actually start to fulfill that promise for their consumers at key marketing, shopping, and purchasing touchpoints. CEM manifests itself as a brand’s deliberate decision to create unique interactions for their consumers throughout the entire journey as they are hearing about, learning about, considering, purchasing, or owning the brand’s products or services.”

So, how does a business begin to create a CEM strategy? In an interview for this article, Solomon Thimothy, CEO of DMA | Digital Marketing Agency says, “From social media interactions to direct marketing emails, the daily interactions between your business and your customers make up your customer engagement strategy. With CEM, you want to encourage your customers to interact with your business across all of its channels, which provides a two-way line of communication as well as the opportunity to listen to your customers and implement positive customer service. With a strong customer engagement strategy, consumers will ideally be your biggest brand advocates.”

Customer engagement marketing in real life

Are you unsure what a CEM touch point would look like? Here’s an example Frankie Russo, founder and CEO of Potenza, a marketing company, shared in an interview for this article. “Imagine that you open your email and find a personalized message from Daniel, who owns an online housewares store you’ve purchased from in the past. Daniel emailed to let you know his company has a new line of home decor coming out this week and thought you would be interested in seeing some of the new products. That’s CEM.”

And that’s just one type of touchpoint in which a business may choose to connect with customers. There are many more ways to personalize the brand-to-consumer connection, meaning this marketing approach will work well for many industries.

Russo says, “Just about every retail space uses CEM — clothing, housewares, automotive, furniture, appliances. CEM is laser-focused marketing that connects you with people who already have bought from you or who you know are actively shopping for what you offer. It is not the old school ‘throw everything at ’em and see what sticks’ marketing of days gone by. ”

Thimothy agrees, “Virtually every industry can use CEM. Whether your business is B2C or B2B, it’s always crucial to build a positive relationship and connection with your customers. Engaged customers have higher brand loyalty, which ultimately helps the business’s bottom line, regardless of the industry.”

Engaging customers improves CX

With personalized touchpoints focused on relationship building, it’s easy to see how CEM directly affects customer experience (CX). No longer are solitary events shaping how businesses approach their audience. Instead, the engagement allows customers to feel included and become advocates for the brand because of the care that goes into customer engagement marketing. Miser explains further, “The true power of CEM is that it focuses more on the ‘always on’ long-term relationship and value of an individual consumer versus the churn mindset found in campaign and acquisition strategies. This focus on the consumer transitions decision making toward the holistic experience, massively improving the consumer experience strategies a company has enabled.”

Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. After a 12+ year career in human resources, she's jumped headfirst into digital strategy. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media.
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