In keeping with our earlier posts, let’s dwell upon another key facet of customer engagement, the element of influence. Influence can be either direct or indirect. Direct influence is one-to-one recommendation to family and friends. While indirect influence is more of a ripple effect and forms an abstract component of the value proposition. Razorfish customer engagement report, 2011 makes a couple of interesting points:
- Seventy one percent consumers said, reviews from family and friends have at least a fair amount of influence on their decision to purchase a product from a given brand.
- Nine in ten consumers consider online recommendations from people they know; while seven in ten consider opinions of strangers.
Oprah Winfrey – one of the most influential Americans, named Kai’s Body Butter and Body Buffer among her “Favorite things” in 2007. Now, Oprah’s interest and spending on these products might be same as the average consumer; however, her influence on the general public is enormous. That makes Oprah a Kai customer with the highest LTV(lifetime value).
A more classic case illustrating influence would be Virgin America, a charismatic airline by an equally charismatic founder, Richard Branson.
Razorfish,in association with Loyalty Lab, carried out a study on Virgin America, which took into account 5,600 surveys, 15 one-to-one interviews and social media data of 100,000 Internet users, along with the LTV and engagement data of existing Virgin America customers.
The study resulted in high quality actionable inputs, helping in:
- Identifying engagement types – Socially Savvy, Traditionally Engaged, Up-and-comers and Conventionalists – in the customer base depending on lifetime value, potential influence, preferred channels of engagement and expectations from them
- Assigning a Consumer Influence Score, which is a combination of a customer’s long-term value and the ability to influence others through social media
- Optimizing channels – Suppose more of Virgin’s high-value customers are pro-active on Facebook, then it is important not to ignore that channel and allocate adequate time and resources to engage them
- Engagement strategy development – Taking into account all the touch points, a comprehensive engagement strategy evolves as a combination of various channels and engagement types
So what all this essentially means is that the better a consumer is engaged, the higher is his/her potential to influence prospective customers. The truth is, not every customer is craving for a relationship with your brand. It is the company’s job to give the consumer a compelling reason to try and be connected.