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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 12, 2011 • Issue 11:12:01

Reach out and engage someone

Maybe the term "marketing" is outmoded. The word has traditionally suggested how businesses communicate to consumers rather than with them. In our new, social media-saturated environment, one-way communication no longer suffices. Reaching customers today is all about engagement. The old paradigm is represented by television advertisements, telemarketing calls, direct mail and mass emails - all of which still have a place but are less vital to customer acquisition than previously.

In contrast, the social media world is immersive and interactive through such vehicles as real-time instant messaging, social media posts and online role-playing games. And interaction is the engine that drives interest and profits. For people to notice your products and services, you must engage them through entertainment and education. Packaging is important, as striking images, color combinations and logos attract the eye. But content is also critical: people are always looking for tips, insights and solutions that will enhance their lives.

Interactive opportunities abound

The Internet and mobile communication technology have given rise to innumerable engagement opportunities be they multimedia tradeshow presentations where attendees are asked to interact via text message polls, or webinars in which attendees are encouraged to participate via live Q&As and product giveaways. Here are a few other avenues to explore:

  • Create an online forum where customers can interact with one another.
  • Generate a corporate blog or routinely post on someone else's market-relevant blog.
  • Sponsor or underwrite "flash" events at public spaces (or online) that help to publicize causes or charities.
  • Advertise on third-party websites using quick response codes and hyperlinks to discount deals.
  • Produce a five-minute video that utilizes animation as a way to interest customers in a call to action.
  • Develop a social media game or downloadable mobile application that is both amusing and educational.

Remember, in all interactions, consumer relevance is key. The window of opportunity to "hook" consumers is brief. Respecting their time by focusing on their needs and delivering pertinent content will go a long way toward getting that most desired outcome: loyal customers for years to come. end of article

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