Marketers See Brand Engagement Differently Than Consumers

Marketers may be out of touch with how consumers feel about their engagement with brands, according to November 2012 survey results from Turn, conducted by Forbes Insights. Forbes surveyed 250 marketers and 2000 consumers about the perception of brand engagement from both sides. For example, 49% of marketers consider forwards or shares of ads or other content online as a strong influence on their engagement measures, whereas just 15% of consumers say they feel engaged or invested in a brand when they share an ad.

Data from ‘The New Rules of engagement: Measuring the Power of Social Currency‘ reveals that there are numerous similar instances of disconnect between what marketers measure and what consumers feel is important. One that stands out relates to brand recommendations. 45% of marketers say that consumers’ proactive efforts to recommend a brand is a strong measure of engagement for them. But, just 24% of consumers report feeling invested in a brand when they convince others to use it.

The only measure in which both groups agree concerns opt-in messaging (subscribing to email alerts, newsletters, or other loyalty programs), which marketers think is the most influential engagement measure. At the same time, signing up for special deals or email updates ranked as the top way that consumers feel engaged with brands.

Marketers and consumers diverge on the value of 1-to1 engagement as well. While 72% of marketing executives claim to have personally reached out to customers, just 9% of consumers report feeling engaged or invested in a brand by receiving a personal note from someone connected to the brand.  The data suggests that consumers’ definitions of engagement differ from those of marketers, or that marketers overestimate the importance of those activities.

Consumers, Marketers Agree On Website Visits, Clicks
Marketers and consumers are most in tune over website visits, and clicks on ads and videos. 78% of marketers use website visits as an engagement measure, and 83% of consumers reporting having visited a company or brand website. 62% of marketers measure engagement by ad or video clicks on a website, which 60% of consumers report having done.

Paul Alfieri, vice president of marketing at Turn, sees the emerging technology of data management platforms as the solution to close the gap between marketers and consumers:

This new ability enables marketers, for the first time, to confidently make decisions across multiple channels.  Using data, marketers can truly know what kind of audiences they are engaging with and what motivates these potential buyers to act. What if marketers could validate their intuition through a real-time view of customer attributes? Getting the big picture from a single dashboard helps increase the absorption of your message and ultimately the effectiveness of your campaigns and programs.

The researchers speculate that consumers have become desensitized to engagement methods. For example, more than half of marketers placed value upon Facebook likes and other social media behaviors as engagement measures, while just 2 in 5 consumers report having liked a company’s Facebook page or followed the company on Twitter.

The solution lies in harnessing the power of big data, is the overall conclusion from the report. After all, knowledge is power:

Proper measurement will lead to understanding and, as a result, more effective monetizing of engagement.

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