Customer engagement is a hot topic these days because engagement and interaction are the foundation of relationships and long-term partnership with customers. Marketing technology is a critical part of this equation.
To explore this topic, I invited two experts to the CXOTalk stage for an in-depth conversation. Esteban Kolsky is an independent analyst focused on customer experience and Lauren Vargas is the Chief Marketing Technologist at insurance giant Aetna.
For this discussion, Esteban served as my co-host of CXOTalk episode number 153. As an analyst, Esteban offers a market overview while Lauren's operational experience includes both the technology and business aspects of marketing.
Here is a very short summary of the conversation, which I hope you enjoy. Listen particularly to Esteban's comment that, "Engagement is the outcome of a job well." In other words, offer sufficient value and the community will participate. There's a lot of wisdom in that perspective.
Esteban Kolsky: Marketers always use data for better or for worse. What's the difference in the last few years?
Lauren Vargas: I think having people like myself who are coming in from a community role, are thinking and working with legal compliance, architecture, IT, you know, information security in order to think about how do we craft the marketing technology experience, not just within our roles but within the lifecycle of the customer.
So you're thinking about everything from a holistic customer view with CRM, to marketing automation, content management systems, looking at preference engines and you're trying to combine them and trying to fit you know where all the puzzle pieces fit that are specific for your experience.
I don't think you can take the marketing technology stack of any other company and just apply it to yours. You really have to understand and be aware of how the people are associating with you or not associating with you and getting in there and engaging and being part of their experience versus your own.
Esteban Kolsky: Do you think that engagement is the outcome of doing your job right?
Lauren Vargas: You have to engage multiple times. You know, a onetime interaction does not constitute engagement.
Michael Krigsman: How does engagement differ from relationship, from a marketing technology standpoint. Because when you talk about a relationship it's all about the interaction over a period of time.
Lauren Vargas: I think engagement is a set of interactions and that value or that number of interactions that you deem having some type of going through the steps of interacting with your company on a regular basis would be a relationship. It has to be a two-way conversation. It can't be the megaphone approach, but I think that goes back to connecting all of your data and then having the right set of KPI's or thinking completely differently about the KPI's that we select, and the diagnostics that we look at in order to clarify success. And I think that that is speaking from how I have looked at metrics over the years, and how it's influenced the job that I've done.
Esteban Kolsky: Okay, so let's talk about the second part of engagement, about value being the metric basically and the way we measure engagement.
Lauren Vargas: I think it's understanding you know going back to the experiences. Understanding exactly what is of importance to them, and then how it ties with your business goals. Does it tie with your business goals? Are they working to find common interaction points?
Esteban Kolsky: What do you mean by common interaction points?
Lauren Vargas: Well where there is a need or a want to have an interaction with your company. Both what you want and what the prospect or the customer wants.
So we have to look at where our prospect or customers are. Not necessarily where they fit in this linear interaction of customer journey that we perceive. I look at what we have built on our website or social communities or other and just that the digital ecosystem overall as existing of these little hives or clusters of people having experiences, and I think you have to you kind of build your interaction points, and build your opportunities around where they are already clustered, and that goes back to pinpointing the experiences and their life-cycle and understanding the technologies that are going to support that relationship.
Whether it is getting more people to engage, it's co-creating that value that you speak of, that constant engagement, but I think we have to find people of where they are at and find the experiences of where they are already - those neighborhoods, those both online and off-line interactions that they are already having and start to build around that, so those communities already exist, we just have to like tap into that, but we have to be a trusted participant first.