Using Engagement to Track Consumer Sentiment and Trends
This guest article is written by e-Miles President Mark Drusch.
For companies operating in an environment where trends last for weeks and mobile applications come and go, it's increasingly difficult to learn what customers on the ground are thinking about products. One method to capture this sentiment is through a review of customer engagement.
A crucial step in effectively using consumer engagement is to first utilize the right advertising channel. Older models of advertising that contend you need to spend 100 percent of a budget and only 50 percent of it will be effective should no longer be acceptable. Advertisers need to demand better of their channels and agencies to deliver higher ROIs. It's a very reasonable request given the technology tools available today and the ability to quickly obtain real insights back from the consumer.
Advertisers need to demand sophisticated demographic data that goes beyond the basics of gender/age/income into personalized data such as vacation and leisure time preferences, type of car owned, and the number of children in the household. You need lifestyle questions so you can build correlations between demographic data points and a propensity to respond well to your products and any follow-up engagement initiatives. It's a vital consideration to avoid wasting that "50 percent."
Engaging with the customer and learning their likes and dislikes allows a brand to understand them in a holistic manner. For an example, through market research and careful analysis, the marketing team at The Hartford insurance company determined that individuals with pets at home were also better overall insurance risks than individuals without pets. The team used this information to target their best insurance deals to this lower-risk pool of pet owners. It's a simple but powerful example of a major brand engaging customers in order to obtain knowledge, and then using the data to alter future marketing efforts.
The worth of measuring engagement comes from how effectively you craft the questions about the consumer's experience. Questions, whether they are included in a brief survey or other means, need to be concrete, pertinent and probing. The goal is not only to capture thoughts about satisfaction and loyalty, but other details which can be analyzed for trending patterns. Questions need to walk the fine line of acquiring personal information without feeling invasive. Information gathering also needs to be timely, preferably occurring immediately after a purchase or service experience so you capture true impressions from the consumer instead of fuzzy recollections.
Consistently reaching out for customer sentiment through engagement measurement allows companies to alter their marketing and brand strategy in real time. This will help ensure longer-term brand engagement from the customer and a propensity for social sharing about the product or service. Consumer interests can change in a flash, and companies follow customer sentiment can maintain relevancy, keeping the revenue stream open. Real feedback to pertinent and personal questions provides a deeper understanding of what the customer desires from your product or service. The trick is to then make the necessary changes to satisfy those desires.
Mr. Drusch is the President of e-Miles, a targeted advertising platform that is a subsidiary of e-Rewards.