"Engagification is complete bullshit." That's how Shaun Branagan (BWM) described the leading topic of this years Elite Media Digital Marketing and Media Summit. He had a point. Like most industry buzz words most delegates weren't sure what it meant but over the course of the day it became clearer. Engagification it seems, is a descriptor for marketing that draws people in and demands participation and interaction. But that's not really anything new. Isn't that just good marketing? So why the emphasis? The answer: Because of technology. As marketers, technology has given us the tools and opportunities to be better and at the same time it's made it paramount that we are better. Today, if you can't create brand experiences people want to engage with, then you can guarantee you'll be ignored.
So how is "engagification" achieved?
On this point there was solidarity amongst the speakers:
1. Know your audience
2. Be useful to them
This isn't new. But this is marketing at its core and it's too often forgotten.
The point was reinforced throughout the day with speakers showcasing different dimensions of usefulness such as utility, information and entertainment through their case studies. Brannagan explained how U.S. ski resorts had created the Epic Mix app to ‘gamify' your day on the slopes. Simon Small (Visual Jazz) demonstrated how Huggies have created a compelling online community for Mothers through "truly understanding your customer and building content that gives them utility." Alex Burke (TigerSpike) talked about how the Woolworths App owes it's success to solving customers "pain points" and of course we also learnt via the Bing / Jay Z Decoder case study and NAB Break Up Case study that being useful isn't limited to being practical – information and entertainment are also valued.
Another recurring theme throughout the day was that the winning "engagement" formula doesn't exist. Instead, it's about trial and evolution of strategy and luckily in the digital world you can afford to make mistakes. On this note Small offered a summary: "start small, trial and learn".
So whilst the word ‘engagification' might be unclear, Elitemedia's conference offered some compelling insights on how marketing can engage customers. Mea Cole (Droga 5) reminded us that people will always do what they want to do when and where they want to do it. And that's the key. At Naked we believe great marketing occurs at the overlap between what people want to do and what we as marketers want them to do.
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