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Consumer engagement is a weak spot for many brands

By: capturecode | Oct 10, 2013

Although many business owners are quick to cite the importance of catering to their customers' every whim, many people don't believe that brands are doing as good a job as they should be. A new study conducted by Edelman illustrates this failure, with only 10 percent of 11,000 respondents across eight countries saying that any given brand engages them effectively.

The Edelman study analyzed six different areas in which brands could share with consumers: dialog, experiences, values, goals, products and histories. Companies that excel at engaging consumers across all of these different areas can improve consumer sentiment toward them.

For instance, 51 percent of consumers said brands need to know about the needs and desires of the customers, but only 10 percent of respondents said companies actually do a good job of doing this, resulting in a 41 percent gap. Other problem areas include personalization (43 percent of respondents asserted personalized products and communications are important, while only 11 percent of organizations do so) and offering a complete brand experience (36 percent of customers want an experience extending past the use of a product, but only 11 percent of enterprises offer these experiences).

Consumers tend to be more engaged by companies that take the extra step to cater to them. Consumers were more likely to use or preview a product and actually purchase it when entrepreneurs engage them. People are also more willing to tell their friends, family members and co-workers about these brands.

Clearly, brands have numerous reasons to rethink how they are currently trying to serve their customers and consider what they can do to improve in the future. Not only will they improve their relationship with loyal patrons, but they'll also be able to reap the rewards of more sales and word-of-mouth marketing.

Fitting mobile devices into consumer engagement
One way brands can enhance their consumer engagement efforts is by developing an interactive, valuable mobile application. Apps allow brands to connect with consumers even when they aren't shopping in-store or directly interacting with a brand. If an app is done right, it will have consumers coming back repeatedly to check on their reward points, purchase products or simply read promotional content published by a brand. This enables companies to extend the customer experience beyond the product or service, which many people noted as a problem point.

By studying these mobile consumer engagement interactions, brands can collect more data about their patrons. This enables entrepreneurs to learn more about the interests and needs of their target audiences and allows them to personalize promotions and other services to prospects individually. Considering that understanding customers' needs and personalizing products and communications for them were two other weak points, mobile apps can be a remedy to this solution.

Consumers are spending more time on their smartphones and tablets, so by crafting a brand experience tailored for these devices, enterprises can go a long way to improve their relevance to their target audience.

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