Visualize this. You are sitting in your home watching television, only you are not only watching the television but the television is also watching you! Crazy right? And maybe even a little bit creepy. Customer engagement has become so important that according to an article on AdAge.com, a television with a camera on it is on the way! If that doesn’t say customer engagement, I don’t know what does!
The idea behind this television is to improve the viewing experience of the customer. The television tracks the customer and what they are watching, thus providing the customer with more recommendations of what they like. As a little disclaimer, Mr. Huggers, General Manager at Intel Media did say,
“People will be able to close the shutter on the camera if they so choose
But he believes many users will actually choose to expose themselves
to visual tracking to enhance their viewing experience.”
Would having a camera on a television really enhance your “viewing experience or would it help to target ads? Either way you look at it, it is a step toward even more consumer and customer engagement. I shall call it: Customization!
In two different ways this television makes me think about Big Brother and the Macintosh commercial. It makes me think that there is a way things have always been and now suddenly we are “throwing a hammer (like in the commercial)” at the old ways of marketing. But at the same time the commercial makes me wonder if the television is our first step toward the idea of no privacy. You decide.
Sounds like a bit of a different approach then Don Schultz right? Back in the 1950’s it was all about the Four P’s and the importance of making sure that we focused on those when coming up with a marketing strategy. Thinking of the customer first would have been absurd. It was all about the Price, Placement, Promotion, and the Product itself. But it’s as Bob Dylan said, “Times they are a-changin,” only this now they have already changed!
The Big Shift
We have all fallen victim of customer engagement “tactics” as I will call them. Whether it is the “recommendations” on shopping sites, sidebars on Facebook with ads that are based off of your interests, suggested followers on Twitter, and even the casual survey that pops up when you go to a site.
The contact points, as Kenneth Clow (Author of Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications) calls them, have changed and they are no longer what we believed them to be before. Contact points before referred to any place that the consumer saw an advertisement or was dealing directly with the brand itself. But this has changed and it changed when we started using The Internet.
Me? What Do I think? Well Since You Asked!
I know that specifically to me, customer engagement matters. It is a way for the brand to entertain me. It gets me involved and keeps me wanting more. One person I know who would agree with me about customer engagement being vital is Willems. Have you ever heard the saying, “The Customer is always right?” Well I am sure you have and it was Willem who said in his article that the “customer is the king” and they have more power now than ever. That saying is a perfect example. The revenue comes from the sales and we all know where those come from so ladies and gentlemen we might as well welcome the newest product on the market, YOU. It is all about you now and how they [companies] can keep you wanting more.
Don’t Turn Around He’s Watching
Let’s go back to Willem’s article. In it, he also talks about the creation of what is called the Blueconomy. What is this you might ask and what purpose does it serve? You know all of that information that companies are gathering about us and our trends and what we look at? The Blueconomy helps the brand managers combine all of the information and share it to receive a better understanding of the customers. Gathering information about people and then sharing it? How far is too far?
Think back to the television with the camera. Is that an invasion of privacy or is that just customer engagement as internal as it gets? Think about tracking devices on your phone, tablets, etc. What about Facebook and the locations application that you can turn on or off? All of these new world innovations are creating a marketing environment where reaching the customer has become both necessary and less difficult then before. Do you like it? Or does it creep you out? There is one way I think about this process. A professor once said, “I turn chaos into structure” and I feel as though marketers are trying to add some structure to our habits and reducing some of the noise that we try and avoid anyways. So if you ask me, I think people complain about things that don’t apply to them but when it comes to finding out how we can make it apply to them it suddenly becomes inconvenient and invasive.
So let’s recap. Is customer engagement important? Yes. Is the use of the Internet becoming more and more apparent in the world of marketing? Absolutely. And lastly, what is next? Televisions with cameras on them!
What will be the new phenomenon? Who knows and until then I will keep you all updated on what’s going on in the world of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon!
This Blog Post is an assignment from an Integrated Marketing Communications class at Elon University.
Schultz, Don; Heidi Schultz (2004). “Creating Customer and Marketplace Value”. IMC: The Next Generation. New York: McGraw Hill
Willems, Hans (2011). “White Paper: Customer Driven Online Engagement”. GX Software.