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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Brief History of Consumer Engagement: Part 4

A four-part series chronicling the origins of today’s permission marketing landscape

Click here to see part 1, part 2, & part 3. 

Any serious conversation about consumer engagement in the digital age must begin with the acknowledgement that the one-way, interruption-based model of the past is gone forever. Technological advances have opened doors that cannot be shut, regardless of a company’s strategy, thought process or level of preparedness.

Simply put, it means that interaction is inevitable but engagement is optional. Consumers are talking to businesses (and to each other about businesses) without the need for anyone’s permission or invitation. They have unique preferences and are attempting to make the businesses they interact with aware of them. The only question for modern marketers is whether or not they have the ability to listen to consumers, join the conversation, learn from the ideas and feedback they hear and in doing so, earn loyalty and engagement.

The key to driving engagement in the modern era is letting the consumers themselves share ownership of the conversation based on their interests and preferences. It’s the natural continuation of the narrative that began when consumers were first liberated from the limitations of geography and basic availability of nearby vendors. Later, empowered by technology that globalized markets and broke down the barriers to direct communication, consumers demanded a voice in an engagement-based model that rewards responsiveness and personalization.

In order to compete, brands must consolidate the collection, management and reporting of consumer preferences from across the enterprise into a central system. This system should integrate with marketing databases and CRM systems in order to provide organizations with their customers' and prospects' legal contact status and marketing and account servicing preferences. Empowered by preference data, companies can improve campaign results, increase sales revenue and improve customer loyalty while satisfying privacy requirements at the same time.

Make no mistake – the conversation is taking place regardless. The only question is how businesses will react. Some are already embracing the new engagement paradigm and setting a new standard for customer service. It begins with preference management – the latest chapter in the story of engagement and the necessary foundation for listening to and learning from consumers. 

Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

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