Monday, 21 June 2010

How involving is your marketing?

“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll understand.”
Marketing is often thought of as the way of getting a message out to a particular audience; a way of broadcasting our message in the hope that someone hears and finds it interesting enough to buy. Television, radio or cinema advertising is an example – advertisers expect their audience to sit, listen and absorb their message. They hope and expect that next time consumers need their product or service they will remember the advertisement and buy.

Data handling has now made it possible to interact with potential purchases to a great degree than has ever been possible before. Database marketing, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all good examples of involving people in a company’s brand, product or service.

A simpler, but no less effective device is the survey or questionnaire as a way of involving customers or prospects. Instead of guessing what people want, you ask about likes and dislikes. Some companies even listen to the answers.

At its simplest level, involvement marketing is getting customers to DO something, rather than passively listen to a marketing message. Involvement includes signing up for a loyalty card, answering a survey, joining a group on Facebook or LinkedIn, attending a webinar or requesting a sample. All these things indicate that the person not only knows about your company, but they care enough about what you are saying or selling to join in the conversation.

Involvement marketing is all about creating a mutually agreed communication link – where both parties understand the ground rules, and both parties benefit. It sounds simple, but it takes thought and technology to get right. But it’s more cost-effective than broadcasting, and therefore ultimately a better deal for everyone.

What do you think? Get involved and leave a comment with your examples of the best and worst of involvement marketing.


  1. Jenny Kowalczuk22 June 2010 at 12:19

    Thanks Caroline, I know you are very bright but didn't know you were a mind reader! We've been thinking about linkedin at the bmj and the potential of this channel to involve our customers (a new market, not drs). It posses some issues of course, but in essence I think we all need to move towards what we might call post modern marketing (ie all equal), or even existential marketing (ie god is dead and we're on our own here). So yes, collaborative approaches to product development, communications and marketing - we're all in this mess together, and we'll work it out together I guess!



  2. Caroline

    Good post and fully agree. I am reminded of the example of Starbucks which went through a phase where it lost its way and its origins as a freindly coffee shop. The business used the internet to ask for feedback and opened it to everyone. I am about to launch a customer engagement exercise to get feedback in a way we have never tried before. Maybe high risk to ask what your customer wants but in truth there is no option as not to is short sighted.

    In a business to business environment your customer is as all customers an intelligent buyer and you need to engage and work with them to add value for both parties.

    This has been described by some as co-creation however to me it is about listening first and discussing.I would prefer to be engaged with a client than not.

    kind regards


  3. Involvement Marketing

    This blog provokes me to write about the difference between customer satisfaction and customer value.

    Customer Satisfaction Surveys tell us how well we do against certain criteria. But who created the criteria? Did we decide what to measure or did the customer? I've seen postal surveys with return rates of less than 1%. What does this tell us? That in all probability the criteria selected was not important enough for customers to care about.

    Methinks of an upmarket hotel chain who asked how satisfied customers were with the speed of its reception service and how long did they have to queue? They missed the simple point that customers didn't want to queue at all.

    Customer Value tells us what's important to customers. We need three perspectives:
    1. What do customers expect in terms of value?
    2. How well we deliver value in the eyes of the customer?
    3. How do we stack up against competition?

    The common denominator to all three questions, overall customer value, is a function of Product Quality (what customers get), Service Quality (how customers get it), Cost, Hassle of doing business with us, Brand Value and Relationship value. Each of these factors can be broken down again into sub factors (e.g. Service Quality entails reliability and empathy among other sub factors)

    The most successful postal survey I've been invloved in (by a sports shoe manufacturer of all their independent retailers across the UK) yielded a 35% return rate - wow!

    The secret? Every question asked in the postal survey used customer statements generated from pre-survey focus groups and interviews. The types of questions asked were very open ended and encouraged candour.

    The data collected in the pre-survey revealed precisley what was important to customers in the language used by customers (not the supplier). So by the time the overall population of customers were surveyed, the supplier knew they were asking about those things that were most important in the minds of the customer.

    So afore you start your involvement marketing decide
    1. what kind data you want
    2. How you get it
    2. How much you need to collect in order to convince you to make a potentially big decision.

    Good learning!

  4. Caroline

    Paul makes an excellent point.

    If answering the questions will make a difference to me I might be more inclined to respond, does it do something for me? Last Nov we completed a respected company survey marketed by a sunday paper. Our response rate out of 110 people circa 30%! I've now launched an internal survey designed by us for us and the response rate in May was 74%, same people but what a difference! Next time I hope to get 90% plus!

    best wishes


  5. Thank you Robert. And oh, I apologise for not being able to count to 3 :)