At this time of year our thoughts often drift to Super Bowl Champions and Super Bowl commercials. Is all of this hype viewed as positive or negative by the consumer? We are living in a time where consumers are beginning to become oblivious to hype, and all that it stands for. Mostly because we are just buzz worded and hyped out. Most just lose their umph!

Similarly, the word “engagement” has lost its value and meaning. We (marketers and general biz folks) use it all the time to map out our paths to reach consumers – often in strategies to get consumers attention. A webpage is loaded with consumer engagement opportunities, Twitter = consumer engagement opportunities, Facebook = consumer engagement opportunities. The bench you are sitting on waiting for your bus = that’s right, consumer engagement opportunity.

With the sheer messaging and “engagement” fatigue that consumers now experience due to our digital lifestyle, we are missing a critical step to consumer engagement. Business modelers, see something like this:

  • Step 1: Business modeling – Finance and Operations
  • Step 2: Customer engagement (or Marketing)
  • Step 3: Sales execution
  • Step 4: Customer support, loyalty, repeat business and the business lives happily ever after

Most companies struggle with validating, justifying and funding their engagement efforts as the return is there, but at miniscule levels, therefore the company has to pour on more and more engagement strategies to get your attention – thus the modern day Super Bowl ad – the ultimate “engagement” vehicle. Or is it?

What I have learned after 20+ years in the business of sales and marketing, is that “trust” sells – trusted advisors sell, trusted referrals sell, sometimes funny sells, but mostly it’s trust. But we often confuse engagement with a trusted selling moment. That moment when a consumer just opens up to our every whim and allows us to pour in slogans, logos, catch phrases, and jingles until they are full to the brim with “us,” our products, and our services.  So we measure twice, cut once over and over again as it pertains to engagement and marketing conversion rates and we accept it as a business fact. 

We (Red e App) began to ask ourselves, what if we could change the conversion rates of our marketing and engagement efforts, which lead to some tough questions – what’s in it for the consumer, what are they afraid of, what keeps them up at night?  What is engagement?

What I am about to say may get me kicked out of the Secret Society of Engagement Professionals – engagement isn’t about selling – at all.  Engagement is all about trust, it’s about attention. It is the lobby of selling that welcomes people in, makes them feel comfortable – where trust is established. Once trust is established the door to selling is open.

Trust is established when guards are let down, when corporate objectives, goals, sales numbers and acquiring information at any cost are put on the back burner. Trust is a peaceful lobby, engagement, one where consumers are met on their terms – not ours (ours = business).  How is trust achieved?  Have you ever been in a store and approached (engaged) by a sales person to see if they can help you and you say, “no, no, I am just looking around, or browsing.” I’ll let you know when I need you. It is at that moment that you succeed or fail at engagement – not selling, but engagement. 

At Red e App, we believe strongly in the lobby of engagement, of providing information to consumers on their terms – service messaging, real time notifications – not spam mind you. Value driven, service messaging when and how the customer wants it.

How does this translate to the “looking or browsing” example? Well, often as people are looking or browsing they still want their privacy and they still want the relationship on their terms. If we are able to meet them on their terms while providing them control and privacy, and get instant information to them how and when they want it, we have arrived. We have gained their trust and provided them a pressure-free environment in which to sample our food, to touch the fabric, see the array of colors, and check inventory (figuratively) without breathing down their neck for email addresses or mobile phone numbers to “capture” them like we (predators) so often think of our prey (customers).

It is a defining moment when a business can provide a shopping consumer better information via a Red e ID where the consumer or potential customer can turn on and off the engagement. But it takes a lot of trust on the business side. Trust that they will come when they are Red e. I know, I know, it’s a different posture to take, one of back on your heels versus up on your toes poised to pounce.

Trust = conversion, conversion = sales, trust = more sales, trust = repeat business, trust = loyalty.

Build trust, get Red e, see you in the lobby!

Jonathan Erwin
Founder