February 7, 2008

Engagement marketing

More and more, consumer branding is about engagement. On the Internet, you’re most likely to see references to the social media aspects. But it goes further than blogs, chat, and diggery. For example, a huge fraction of the sports business now is apparel sales – replica jerseys and the like. This may be “tribal” in Seth Godin‘s lexicon, but it’s not particularly online-social.

US politics is heavily about engagement too. The traditional centers of engagement – unions, churches, and so on – have now been joined by the Internet as well. The Washington Post has a great article today about old-style engagement in the Clinton campaign.Micah Sifry makes the case that this time it’s different, and in the process describes the crucial role of internet-based engagement to this year’s presidential campaign.

And of course the same thing’s happening in software. Open source is greatly about engagement, up to the point of co-development. (I don’t want to admit how long I’d gone without programming until I hacked around a bit in WordPress.) And as Sun’s recent purchase of MySQL illustrates, open source is a very big deal.

It goes even further than that in software. The base of the open source pyramid is people who download something for free and experience it at their convenience before buying, but don’t try to extend it themselves. And, as I noted today in a write-up of Coveo, that extends well beyond open source. (A couple of other closed-source examples are Attivio and Coral8.)

What does this imply about messaging strategy? Two generalities jump quickly to mind.

  1. Increasingly, you need to target people who are ripe to learn about you, not just ones who are ripe to buy.
  2. Whatever claims you make to them had better be true enough so as to hold up through long engagement.


4 Responses to “Engagement marketing”

  1. Marketing Articles on April 14th, 2008 3:13 am

    This is also known as participation marketing and this approach encourages the consumers to actively involved in the evolution of the brand.
    Hey, can you tell me what’s that bit you’ve hacked in WP?


  2. Curt Monash on April 21st, 2008 11:25 pm


    We’re doing a professional revamp soon, but if you look at the theme on this blog, or the different theme used on my other blogs (e.g., http://www.texttechnologies.com), neither is in exactly the form it was first downloaded in.

    That didn’t take much beyond deleting and/or commenting out some PHP — but technically, that’s programming. 🙂


  3. Engagement Marketing Dept. on July 27th, 2009 10:37 pm

    I agree with your last point: “Whatever claims you make to them had better be true enough so as to hold up through long engagement.”

    That should be true for all marketing I would hope. As the web grows, the importance of truth in marketing is more demanded and required. User information and reviews are too easy to find.

    I also agree and see why engagement marketing is often referenced with social media. Engagement is a two way street; it can refer to a dialog, a relationship entered in by two people. Social media marketing IS engagement marketing in a way.

  4. Core beliefs | Strategic Messaging on March 19th, 2012 12:37 am

    […] I put it like that, it sounds straight out of Seth Godin. But Haidt says it in a different — and to me more compelling — way (emphasis mine): […]

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