Just the right amount of consumer engagement


By Christy Lu

In June, Medill’s graduate IMC students traveled to New York City to meet with various CPG brands, agencies and technology companies. When the IMC students visited Colgate Palmolive’s IMC team they asked Colgate a question: “What is the right amount to ask consumers to do? Will we ask too much that leads to their reluctance?”

The era of information explosion has driven every marketer to experiment with this topic in interactive marketing practices. Colgate brought Irish Spring’s “Right Amount of Man” Facebook app campaign to their attention. Through gamification and sharable features, the campaign generated significant user engagement and impressions. However, Colgate Palmolive acknowledged that marketers are still in the process of discovering the proper amount of interactive features. This created a challenge that marketers still face today.

These same IMC students from Medill recently went through leadership workshops and training for the program’s 2015 Summer Immersion Quarter. One of the workshop’s speakers believes that the CMO should be renamed to the CSO – Chief Simplification Officer. Harvard Business Review published an article in 2012 suggesting that marketers keep marketing messages as simple as possible to avoid overwhelming consumers. Marketers must remember that they are there to guide consumers making purchase decisions through a simple and effective process. Regardless of consumers’ constantly evolving preferences, these marketers must recognize that consumers will always desire one thing – simplicity and efficiency.

Simplification doesn’t necessarily mean that brands need to eliminate interaction with consumers. It only increases the challenge marketers face when engaging consumers and maintaining loyalty. Gamification features in mobiles apps have become important methods for increasing consumer engagement. However, this process depends significantly on the adaptability of content. According to Appcase, gamified applications align with various human desires – reward, status, achievement, self-expression and competition. The Irish Spring case study highlights how status and comparison between users and their friends drives campaign success.

Good apps can increase brand engagement, but the pitfalls of an unsuccessful app are real. Spiegel Research Center’s research proves that there is a segment of customers who when they disengage from a branded app, disengage from the brand completely. Thus, as we think back to the fascinating question one of the Medill students asked, we believe marketers must maintain a balance between engaging and overwhelming consumers.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and insights with us at @SpiegelResearch on Twitter.

Related Spiegel research:

Multi-platform engagement: How does multi-channel engagement affect purchase behavior?

Social media contests: Do consumers who engage in social media contests buy more?

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