Monday, February 9, 2009

Where to Start? Attention or Engagement

With frustration implementing digital solutions mounting, a good question to ask is where to begin. We certainly have enough buzz around many solutions. What we don't have is a consistent way to measure.

So what's more important, attention or engagement? On one hand, the ability exists to reach a great number of individuals. With reach comes an opportunity for persuasion. On the other hand, engagement offers individuals a high degree of value. While more limited in scope, engagement often creates lasting memories.

I believe engagement is the key. Concentration on engagement allows you to speak better with the customers that are currently taking an interest. They get a high degree of relevance and you get positive word of mouth. Broad reach will come. Proper engagement allows individuals to create their own benefits. They will share these benefits with others. In other words, you don't have to sell to a broad base. Your devoted customers will. But only if they are currently engaged with what you offer.

That being said, most digital campaigns should start with awareness. The way today's marketers justify expenditure and chart success revolves around these numbers. How many people is it reaching? Who is being converted? How many total conversions do we have. With the end game still being about quantity, awareness provides a fit.

We all talk a great deal about engagement. We understand why it is the more logical choice for digital marketing. Yet, there is very little to justify the opportunity in today's market. Using an awareness campaign as a stepping stone for smarter (engagement) efforts down the line can lead to both understanding and success. And success is not what is currently standing in the way of a new form of marketing. Understanding is.

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