Engagement vs. Usefulness (marketing)

Engagement vs. Usefulness (marketing)

When a brand can somehow gain engagement with an audience, the conversation can be about much more than the product or service.  And it should be.  This is the opportunity to focus on the bigger picture that inspire others, that bond with others in a meaningful and emotional way.

I saw this random comment on Twittersphere yesterday: “Too many companies in social media focus on ‘engagement’ (marketing). The focus should be on being useful (customer service)”.

I respectfully disagree.

Usefulness is what marketers hammer into our heads for a long time.  Brands go out of their way to tell us about their feature lists and how useful they are.  Usefulness focuses on the product/the service.  It’s limited.  It’s in a box.  It works to a certain extend.  It just didn’t break boundary.

When social media came to life, came opportunities for engagement.  And here we are, debating about the past, denying the inevitable truth of what’s now and here to stay?

This is my take on engagement.  When a brand can somehow gain engagement with an audience, the conversation can be about much more than the product or service.  And it should be.  This is the opportunity to focus on the bigger picture that inspire others, that bond with others in a meaningful and emotional way.

vs.

Bring engagement, relevancy and usefulness will come.   If someone cares about a brand, or the people behind that brand, they will somehow make that brand their business.   Even when they don’t need and are not buying the products, but they will make others do.

Without engagement, you have tons of other competitors that can offer the same list of relevant and useful functionality.  How are you going to differentiate yourself?  Your customers are human.  Even for B2B businesses.  We human are emotional creature, whether we like to acknowledge it or not.  And human are attached to human elements, like people relationship, like dreams and aspiration, like believing in fair and justice…  Product features, no matter how useful they are, won’t be able to touch these deep layers.  So bring engagement, that’s the best competitive advantage you will have.

I am pretty sure that I am going to get grilled for this. :)   Let’s hear it.  What’s your take?

And now, the difficult question: how to create and maintain engagement?  Anyone knows and care to share their point of view? Thanks.

Stay wonderful!

PS. Photo on the left of Gary Vaynerchuk with standing ovation at Big Omaha. Image on the right of an useful feature list of some product/service.

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  • http://www.mwills.com.au Michael Wills

    Engagement shouldnt be about marketing, it should be about being genuinely helpful – which is being useful. If the genuine, personable side of your brand/company comes through then you could almost consider it a form of passive marketing, capable of harnessing the endorsement of current and would-be ‘followers’.