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The misunderstanding of “engagement marketing”

Since the advent of social media, there’s a lot of talk about engagement marketing. I like the term “engagement marketing”, as it describes the interaction with customers on an adult to adult level as well as the realisation that the customer is part of the brand. But – besides the fact that marketing was always about customer centricity – remember the move from the 4Ps (Promotion, Place, Price, Product) to the 4Cs (Communication, Convenience, Cost, Customer Solution) – a lot of companies misunderstand the meaning of engagement marketing.

Many companies are currently going into social media with the aim to engage with the customer. So they broadcast their content, follow seemingly randomly and strike conversations. That’s not what was meant with engagement marketing, I’d call this annoyance marketing. It just isn’t customer centric.

Engagement marketing starts with the customer and his desire to engage with the brand. So the engagement starts when the customer seeks the engagement and the engagement stops when the customer has had enough or had his/her problem solved.

The difference that social media has brought (besides the fact that you can now directly deal with customers of different cultures, which presents another completely new set of complexity) is that a brand can engage even when they haven’t been directly approached but when they are talked about.

For example, when I send a tweet about my unhappiness  with the service of let’s say BT, Audi or my letting agent, or if I engage in a conversation about it, the brand in question can pick it up and get in touch with me. Now the social media savy ones, such as BT, do that.

Social Media therefore enables proactive customer service and that is the real benefit for a brand.  In a way the moaning tweet is nothing else as a silent cry for help and with the expectation that somebody comes to me instead of me having to go to a website where I most likely only find some FAQ and an email form, instead I can share it with thousands instead of just the automated system (are you listening, Amazon?)

Now this proactive customer service can also go a step further. For example, I hear somebody talking about an issue (could be a problem but also a wish – just something that requires a solution) my brand can solve – for example, I am talking about the quality of coffee at my workplace and a coffee shop nearby picks it up and send me an invite to taste their coffee. As a result a conversation can turn into a commercial arrangement between brand and individual. Be aware though, this is a slow burn and has to be done with a lot of care.

The main point to remember: the engagement level is defined by the individual (customer), not by the brand. If not, it can be a bit like somebody stepping into your private sphere and being to in your face and not realising how it annoys you, or like the drunk guy who goes on and on about the same thing, not realising that you are bored and want to move on. Think and behave like a normal human being, not like a brand, a desperate sales person, or a stalker. Don’t hog the conversation, let the customer define it. And with all the flack BT gets, I have to say, they hold the right distance.

How does a website work and function?

When surfing the web you look at and use many different websites but have you ever wondered how they work. Websites use many different technologies and web development techniques that all work in unison to create the designed layout, the text content and the mechanics.

Many website owners or web editors have never thought about the code and development techniques that make it work. When you see and navigate around a website you see the designed interface and web layout a designer has created but behind the scenes there is different web programming code that makes it run. There are many different programming languages that can make a website work and most of them talk with each other to create a website that performs well and looks great.

Different web design companies favor different programing languages. There are different coding and programming languages used for the front-end of the website ( the bit that you see ), than the back-end ( the bit that makes it work ) . Generally web design companies specialise in one or two programming languages but very rarely them all.

The languages used for the front-end are pretty generic across the web design industry and you have probably heard of a few of them. The major ones are HTML, CSS and Javascript. Just about every website has been designed using these front-end programming languages. The front-end code determines the structure, design, layout and navigation of the website. This code would normally refer to images placed in a folder and position them to make the website look like is all fits together. A basic website can be built using only these tools. To add more functionality and complicated features you will need some back-end programming to make it work.

The back-end programming languages are very different to their front-end counterparts, but generally they need to work together to make the design and function come together as one. The main back-end languages used are PHP, ASP, JSP, Coldfusion and .Net. These languages are used for what is called a dynamic website. Dynamic websites are normally connected to a database which stores information for the website and can be updated using a content management system (CMS). It can store all the text, the images, statistics, members and anything else. The database can display and cross reference any data stored – which makes it a powerful tool in building larger websites.

There are quite a few pre-built content management systems that can be downloaded for free or some more elaborate systems that can be bought for a once off fee or on a subscription basis. Some web designers choose to utilise these content management systems and specilise in re-designing and customising the software. Other web designers choose to build their own content management systems using their preferred web programming language. These custom built systems can be specifically tailored to the websites features where as their pre-built counterparts generally have certain guidelines to stick to.

There are many factors that contribute to a website working and functioning well. The code behind the web design needs to seamlessly fit with the back-end programming and CMS. Many websites work differently but perform that same functions. Think of all the different websites being like different car brands – All cars have a shell, paint work and get you to where you’re going but under the hood there are different technologies and parts that make them run. Some are fast, powerful and luxurious others are economical, comfortable and practical.

At Rustyice Solutions, our engineers have the technical expertise to select the best elements of this bewildering mix of components to ensure that you get a site that is fit for purpose and lives up to every expectation.