Customer Engagement is the most valuable and at the same time scarce commodity of a marketer. Today, marketers use various channels and tactics to reach out to their desired customers. And yet, it becomes difficult to maintain a relationship valuable to us as well as the customers.
Phil Grudzinski, CEO of the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, believes that Customer Engagement rests on the four objectives: Interaction, Involvement, Influence, and Intimacy. As a business owner, achieving these four ‘I’s can reinforce long-term engagement and loyalty.
As a Marketer, achieving the 4 I’s becomes highly important. While there are many ways to do this, let us discuss the two scenarios in question, Marketing Campaigns and Client Gifting.
Customer Engagement: A Direct Comparison
When it comes to Marketing, one would imagine the biggest challenge would be to bring in new customers. However, a bigger challenge that lies ahead of this is to hold on to the existing customers.
Let us see a few ways that Customer Engagement strategies can be strengthened with Client Gifting in better ways than simple Marketing Campaigns:
When it comes to Customer Retention, it becomes important to acknowledge the amount of Customer Interaction that has been. While it increases your call-back value, it can often become your chance to have word-of-mouth endorsements.
A marketing campaign is targeted at a segment or a target group of customers. These are linear campaigns, where there is one message for everyone.
A marketing campaign aimed to achieve customer interaction would have to be more individual specific. Instead of the ‘one message for all’ approach, the ‘right message to each individual’ approach may work better in this case.
There are ways to achieve success in Interactive Marketing. One of the most convenient ways is customer feedback. A dedicated campaign can be conducted wherein all the potential and existing customers can be reached out for their feedback on their brand experience. However, this may quickly turn into a one-way conversation as the customer will never really see value in such an interaction.
Another way is to understand customer behaviors, actions, and preferences. This heavily involves social media channels, search engine marketing, and may further evolve to having chatbots and interactive websites. These are methods that may require you to put in additional monetary and/or human resources on the field to ensure success. And it may still result in some blank leads with no headway.
Client Gifting, on the other hand, is a customer interaction strategy that is guaranteed to give you the desired results. These gifts need not be extravagant or expensive in any way. A small gift or even a hand-written note can make way for a great foundation for your brand-customer relationship.
You can start by sending tokens of good-will at the start of your interaction and then later on festivals and special occasions. You are sure to leave a lasting impact and a reason for them to call you back.
A customer with whom the interaction has just been right will move to the stage of customer involvement.
This is when the customer has taken considerable interest in your brand and is now looking to make a purchase. At this point, you can help yourself by giving your customer all the details they need to make the purchase.
At this point, the marketing campaign targeted at motivating the customers to make the purchase could be conducted. Price discounts or coupons can help the customer make a decision faster.
To achieve the best results with discounted prices and coupons, you will be required to have a considerable margin. However, pricing your products on the higher side may also result in customer repulsion, and hence, lower customer interaction.
On the other hand, by sending gifts to your client or customer, you have already built a strong brand-customer engagement. Based on this, you can build a rapport with your customer and meaningful interaction is sure to influence their decision.
The next stage of customer engagement is customer influence. Your customer has made the purchase and it is the engagement hereon that will influence your brand image.
A part of the marketing campaign or marketing strategy at this point could be customer referrals. You can have special perks or benefits for clients who become a part of a referral program. The customer gets some benefits and the referred lead gets a discount or a benefit.
There is not much of a difference between a referral program and Client Gifting strategy. However, the willingness to actively influence friends and peers is higher in the latter because of the personalized engagement at the beginning of the interaction.
A great example of Customer Influence that resonates with both Marketing campaigns and Client Gifting ideologies is the Google Pay Referral Program. A detailed study of the same can be seen here.
So far, we have observed that the benefits of achieving a successful customer interaction with Client Gifting can be reaped till the stage of Client Influence as well. With marketing campaigns, however, a significant investment is made at every stage of the customer engagement journey.
Let us now take a look at the last and the everlasting leg of this journey.
This stage of customer engagement is also the stage that needs to be carried forward until an endless time to ensure successful returns.
A great Marketing Campaign or Strategy at this point is to write customer stories. The marketing team can curate the whole journey of a lead becoming a customer into a customer story that can become a selling point for you as well as an engagement point for your brand-customer relationship. You can also hold events, webinars, trade shows that are centered around the need of the customers. With these events, it becomes easy to communicate to the customer how much you value them.
With Client Gifting, however, this brand-customer relationship is nailed in place. By this stage, the marketing and sales team is likely to have regular and frequent interactions with the customer. At this stage, as a marketer, you can start sending gifts on occasions like company anniversaries. The customer will have left their feedback on Google, social media, or other platforms, turning into a loyal brand advocate. This is what Arcus Lending achieved with Eva.
With Eva, you can get your clients to fill up a small form that will also ask about their birthday, allergies, number of pets, and other preferences. The tool will note down the preferences of your client, and accordingly, on a set schedule, gifts will be sent to your customer on birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions.
To sum it up, while client gifting may seem like an expensive approach to market your product or services, in hindsight it provides far better results than conventional marketing campaigns.
You can start building strong customer engagement policies today by simply signing up for the 14-day trial of Evabot. For more information, leave a comment below, and we will get in touch with you.