Engagement or Simplicity

An old mentor of mine once told me, “Don’t fall in love with something, unless the data tells you too”. So when the big boys (aka IBM) put out data that contradicts current thinking within a popular and growing Digital Marketing environment, I take notice.

In a recent article in Forbes.com, Patrick Spenner – http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickspenner/2012/07/02/marketers-have-it-wrong-forget-engagement-consumers-want-simplicity -uncovered some interesting disparities between business and consumer perception of engagement and brand loyalty, when it comes to branding and purchase decisions in social media. The IBM Institute for Business Value Recently found 60-65% of business leaders believed the consumers followed their brand on social media sites, because they wanted to be part of the community. However, only 25-30% of consumers polled agreed.  The main reason consumers followed a brand? To get discounts. Not a good formula for impacting a company’s bottom line.

Marketing professionals are pushing out too much information, causing consumers to over think their buying decision. What’s the solution? Well, Forbes interviewed over 200 marketing professionals in consumer products and related industries. The solution they found was to simplify the decision making process, or Decision Simplicity – simplify the decision making process, so that consumers think less about the decision. Marketers do this by applying three steps along the process:

Trust the information they receive – providing recommendations by consumer advisors, rating and reviews.

Learn effectively without distraction – Simplifying the research process by offering clear and streamlined- brand specific product information targeted to each decision stage.

Weigh options confidently – making product buying guides and differentiated brand information, transparent and easily available.

Now there is a lot more data in the article, which I encourage you to read, but suffice it to say that simplifying the decision making process for consumers is four times stronger than the favored “marketing strategy of engagement.”  The exchange of web information is accelerating; marketing messages need to be more “to the point”.

As digital marketing professionals, we owe it to our customers and consumers to cut through the clutter and “engage simplicity.”