It’s at the core of every brand’s marketing campaign. It’s the ideal goal of every commercial, every website and every digital ad. Return on investment has always been the end-all-be-all for marketers, but things have changed. The relationship between brand and consumer has evolved. Sales will always be king, but the sale itself has become a shortsighted way of looking at marketing.
Advertising Age says that ROI is dead. They say that through digital channels, we have powerful tools to create highly personalized and emotive relationships between a brand and a consumer. With a redefined brand and consumer relationship, companies have to look at the bigger picture, and take into account the engagement and experience that someone has with their brand.
Experience can be defined as how a consumer feels about your brand. And engagement involves actions the consumer takes like visiting a website, posting an online review or referring the brand to a friend. For example, someone might not be able to use your product, but she had a positive experience with the brand in some way, so she referred you to her friend who might become a lifelong customer. It’s within these experiences that ROI can take on many different meanings.
Starbucks does a great job of understanding the importance of experience and engagement and how it relates to their customers. They use technology to drive engagement when customers accumulate rewards with their mobile app or loyalty card and cash them in for a free drink. They also let customers use a Starbuck’s code to download a song for free, which increases the overall experience, even though it’s not always ending with a food or drink purchase.
Ad Age adds that experience and engagement is also very prevalent in the hotel and hospitality industry. When customers had high, positive responses to a hotel brand’s experiential attributes, such as quality of bed and pillows, ease of check-in and friendly responsive staff, the lift to that brand and business equity exceeded 100%, regardless of the price of the room.
If brands can connect with a customer on an emotional level, that connection can often go beyond the rationality of a price point. A great experience and consistent engagement can trump ROI because, in the bigger picture, it will lead to more lifelong customers, more referrals and more positive reviews. And that’s more than a simple purchase could ever do on its own.
Are you looking to increase engagement with your customers? Give us a call.