What does customer engagement have to do with branding?

I attended “The ‘Holy Grail’ of Customer Engagement” on February 16, 2012. Here is the AZIMA event description:

In the Age of the Individual, all marketing is becoming “direct” marketing and “serving” has become the new “selling.” To acquire and retain customers in today’s highly competitive marketplace, the ability to deliver relevant information and timely offers personalized to the customer’s needs, interests and behavior has become the difference between being a customer retention contender or pretender.

In this session, Joel Book of ExactTarget will show how innovative companies are using digital marketing – anchored by Email, Social and Mobile, and Websites — as the backbone of a cross-channel life cycle marketing strategy to acquire, engage, grow and retain customers.

I completely agree with Joel on the following points:

1. Serving is the new selling.

2. Make opt-in’s as painless as possible.

3. Mindset, attitude and listening are keys to engagement.

4. How things used to work and how things are today:

  • 20 years ago, there was 1 advertising spot on 3 networks to reach 80% of consumers.
  • Today, we have 200+ channels, everything moves at high speed and it’s a 24/7/365 conversation.

5. Branding is out of our hands and in the hands of customers…

But, as entrepreneurs, it is our job to figure out the core brand and be able to tell a consistent, cohesive, and compelling brand story, so it can be shared correctly to inspire those that need to hear our unique message.

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