The Engagement Marketing Disconnect Between Consumers and Brands Rages On
"After surveying 250 marketing executives and over 2,000 consumers, it’s clear that what marketers consider to be high-value engagement is not always thought of in the same way by consumers."
The above line is from a recent report put out by Forbes Insights and Turn called “The New Rules of engagement: Measuring the Power of Social Currency" and unfortunately continues a trend - a trend I myself have written about as far back as last December.
Last December I wrote of The Major Disconnect Between Brands and Consumers When It Comes to Social Media. About a month later I followed that up with Even More Proof of the Major Disconnect Between Brands and Consumers When It Comes to Social Media. Each article touched on a different survey/study which showed a huge divide between why marketers think a consumer likes/follows a brand on social media vs. why a consumer actually does so.
Well according to the aforementioned Forbes Insights study the disconnect is alive and well and may even be widening.
From the Key Findings of the report:
- Marketers view consumers’ proactivity via social media as more engaging then consumers do. The inflation of “engagement” in this case has been caused by the ease of social media use and equating online followers with successful marketing. Measurement of social media engagement is an area where CMOs often don’t know what they don’t know.
- Fundamental disconnects in how marketers and consumers understand and value engagement tactics may cost marketers great opportunities. The biggest schisms are found in approach to redemption rates, discount codes and loyalty programs. Additionally, marketers’ attempts at personalization and customization engage few consumers. This finding may stem from consumers’ high expectations of what true customization and personalization stands for.
- Consumers identify strongly with brands, particularly younger consumers, who view their relationship with brands as a reflection of self. And they approach and interact with them in a variety of ways, from social media to traditional advertising. They don’t necessarily view this as engagement, however. Rather, their view of how they interact with and relate to brands is much more holistic.
Just take a look at the chart below and spot all the disconnects between what marketers value compared to what consumers value.
Perhaps the most glaring example of a disconnect from the above chart lies in the fact that 49% of marketers rate forwards or shares of ads or other content online as a strong influence on their engagement measures, but just 15% of consumers say they feel engaged or invested in a brand when they share an ad.
So the next time all you marketers out there break into a happy dance because 100 people shared your ad you may want to temper your enthusiasm just a tad as it is not indicative of a consumer who is necessarily engaged with your brand per se.
And you also may want to not take out your dancing shoes just because you grew your Twitter followers by X%.
From the report:
"The two groups (consumers and marketers) differ fundamentally in how they define the state of engagement with a brand; what companies consider engaging is not considered anywhere near so by consumers. But this also cuts both ways: some activities that consumers consider highly engaging are seen as less important by marketers. This may be costing companies great opportunities to engage consumers."
The first two results alone from the chart above say it all and if not all, they say a lot. Consumers are creatures of habit, they are human beings which means they want something in return for their engaging with your brand.
From the aforementioned The Major Disconnect Between Brands and Consumers When It Comes to Social Media:
This Is Not Just About Social Media Engagement
The need to engage with consumers extends well beyond the scope of social media. People want the personal touch, they want to know brands understand them and offer the ability to create a brand experience that matches their individual tastes.
Yet that is apparently not happening as you will see another example of the major disconnect between consumers and brands.
From the report:
"72% of marketing executives say that they have personally reached out to customers, but just 9% of consumers say that they feel engaged or invested in a brand because of such gestures. The personal connection has been a cornerstone of marketing strategy."
And since I am such a huge fan of infusing humor into, well just about everything in my life but especially advertising and marketing, I had to share this one final finding from the report which speaks directly to the power of humor to connect and engage.
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions.
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via
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