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    Engagement – Marketing is a conversation (4Es)

    Conversations between people are accelerating. To a very large extent, discussions have moved online to platforms such as Facebook, twitter and YouTube. Many brands are eager to join the conversation but quickly realise that old marketing rules no longer apply. Traditional marketing and advertising just isn’t as effective anymore. To be successful today brands need to engage consumers.

    Nowadays, a customer can pass messages from one source to many, through a myriad of social networking opportunities. These can then be passed to the masses through viral marketing activities. Therefore, brands need to start to think of ROI not solely as in ‘return on investment’, but as ‘return on involvement‘ or ‘interaction’. This will enable them to embrace engagement in their marketing strategies.

    Engagement thought bubble

    Brands must dare to say good-bye to the monologue, pushing out messages, and welcome the dialogue, through engaging their customers.

    To do this successfully, brands need to bring something of value to the dialogue - something people can appreciate and connect with. In this way your customers will become advocates of your brand and share it with others in their network. This is now more important than ever. As many as 90% of us trust recommendations from people that we know, and 7 out of 10 trust consumer opinions posted online (Nielsen).

    Above you can watch clips from Tipp-Ex, Old Spice and Pepsi. These are three brands that understand the power of interaction and how to engage customers in their marketing campaigns. The Pepsi Refresh Project will be presented in a case study later on in this series about the four Es of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity.

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    The philosophy of the Four Es – Why brands need to embrace this model in their marketing

    To compete successfully on the market, brands must add the four Es to their marketing strategies - emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity. We have highlighted this model before, but only in connection to music, until now. With an immense interest from our readers to learn more about the four Es marketing model, we have explored it deeper. This is the first post in a series that takes a look at this marketing model outside the context of music.

    21st Century Marketspace

    Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a business class knows about the ‘Four Ps of Marketing’, developed by Professor E. Jerome McCarthy in the 60s, further spread by Philip Kotler. This model suggests that successful marketing campaigns must have the right mix of product, price, placement and promotion to position a product on the market. The four Ps was however developed for the marketplace as it looked in the 60s, and not for today’s cluttered marketspace (yes, the market is a space, and not a place anymore). Don’t get us wrong though. The four Ps is still a very useful model, but it does have a few inherent flaws in a world where it is increasingly harder for companies to differentiate themselves based on specific product features alone (that are easily copied over night).

    Nowadays, when the brand is the most important asset for a company, not the product, brands have to engage individuals in a deeper, more humane and multidimensional way. As a complement to the four Ps, brands must add the four Es of emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity, to compete successfully on the market.

    4Es

    Music is perhaps the communication tool that most powerfully embraces all of the four Es. Music is emotions put into communication, it builds memorable experiences that engage people into two-way conversations, it may easily service brands as a distinguisher from competitors, thus helping brands to position themselves in the consciousness of their customers, owning an exclusive position in their minds. But the four Es does not end at music, this marketing model goes much further…

    In the following series, we’ll go over each E in more depth, showing just how emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity work - helping turn ordinary customers into loyal fans of your brand. We’ll also present case studies illustrating how the four Es can be put into practice.

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    Lady Gaga covered in meat - the beginning of the end of recognition

    We guess none of you missed Lady Gaga receiving her MTV Video Of The Year award in a dress made of raw meat. Last time Heartbeats brought up the lady on this blog, we wrote about lessons brands could learn from Gaga’s successful incorporation of the four Es (of emotions, engagement, experiences and exclusivity) in her personal brand building. However, since then her search for attention has accelerated, and her increasingly freaked out methods must be perceived as symptoms of marketing gone sick. It is recognition for the sake of recognition, in an era where more than ever, people seek brands with relevance that add meaning to their lives.

    lady-gaga-meat-dress

    In the past 50 years not many brands have had to go as far as dressing up in meat to get the recognition needed to sell products; TV advertising used to do the job pretty well. Attention was easily bought, and consumer behavior was fairly simple to predict. But the digital revolution of the last 15 years of has changed this rapidly. All of the world’s information is just one click away, and we are facing a saturated market, where brands compete with anyone anywhere to get people’s attention.

    We can see at least two ways companies have tried to meet these challenges (sometimes combining the two). Firstly, we have companies that seem to believe in the model that if they just increase their marketing budgets and media investments, sooner or later consumers will be persuaded to buy into their products. Though what these brands have left out of the calculation is that today recognition means nothing without relevance…

    Secondly, we have companies who are fully aware of the importance of being relevant. They have understood that everyone is connected (and thereby competes with one other), so they have moved the focus (and thereby marketing efforts) away from merely ‘buying recognition’ to deserving it. They have added value and a higher purpose to their overall communication and marketing strategies. Instead of pushing out information about product benefits, they tell memorable stories, leaving the idea about persuading their customers behind, in its place helping them create more meaning in their lives. Simply put, they have chosen relevance before recognition.

    At Heartbeats, we have seen our own clients facing this problem of recognition vs. relevance. Often they have a product that is well recognised on the market, but not considered relevant or the preferred brand of the target group. People don’t buy into the story of the brand or just don’t feel strongly enough for the brand. This has resulted in our communication department developing entertainment, music and culture strategies with higher purposes, transcending traditional marketing through the four Es adding true brand relevance and touching the hearts of our client’s customers.

    Lost Sthlm - Axe Soundsystem from Emil Rydberg on Vimeo.

    Let’s hope that the desperation Lady Gaga seems to have in keeping attention isn’t spreading to brands that want to stay relevant in the marketplace. Seriously, can anyone tell us what could possibly come next after covering yourself in raw meat? All ideas are welcome…

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    #2 ENGAGEMENT (4Es of music branding)

    boring_tv2People are sick of advertising. A recent conducted survey by the SIFO Institute showed that 75% of people actively avoid advertising, whether it’s on TV, Internet or radio. New technology has set the customer in charge of the remote control.

    In order to reach out to customers today you have to deserve their attention. To deserve their attention you need to engage them. If you engage them they will pass on your message, creating word-of-mouth which has always been marketing’s strongest tool (ranked as having seven times
    as much impact as traditional advertising).

    People love music. A survey from Millward Brown showed that music is the media that people would least like to live without (before Internet and TV). Another survey conducted by EMR (Entertainment Media Research) showed also that music is the main reason why people spend so much time on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. Music engages people in dialogue and conversation, whether it’s online or in ‘real life’.

    The reason why a market leader such as Coca-Cola puts music at the heart of its marketing mix is that they understand that music engages people, that marketing today is conversation, and that when music is free it is one of the most important social media to start-up and nourish conversations around the brand and its products. In this way they can create not only consumers but friends, and in the long run, true fans of the brand.

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