Customer & Employee Engagement: breaking old habits
Another marketing event invitation. Another night away from my family to make small talk, laugh at unfunny jokes and drink crappy wine.
As much as they hate to admit it, this is what many invitees think when one of those glittery emails hits their inbox.
Events have all too often become the answer when businesses think of customer and employee engagement.
There's no doubt that events have their value. They bring people together and encourage interaction. However, getting to that point requires commitment and effort from your target audience - a scarce commodity for the modern day, time poor corporate high-flyer.
A third of Americans work 45 hours or more per week, and 9.7 million work more than 60 hours. Personal time is precious and the appeal of corporate events to drive engagement is diminishing.
So how can businesses provide an opportunity for their customers and staff to engage with them at a time and place that suits?
Contests are emerging as one of the key solutions to solve this problem. They have the power to engage the target audience without requiring significant time and energy from the participants.
Here are just some of the reasons why contests are continuing to grow in popularity.
Gets people talking
When people join a contest it drives conversation and when that contest is branded with your business' livery, it's your company that gets mentioned in the conversation.
Online sport picks contests are an example of this effect. They are proven to stimulate banter and conversation, whether its boasting about a perfect round one week or a long leap up the contest ladder the next. The contest becomes the center-piece of the discussion and it's your brand that gets weaved into the conversation.
The impact of consumer to consumer marketing can't be under-estimated.
A study conducted by McKinsey found that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions, generating more than two times the paid sales of advertising.
Ongoing engagement opportunities
One of the biggest advantages of hosting an online contest is that it allows you to continually engage with participants.
Contests give you the unique benefit of having a captive audience, where the contestants are motivated by the prospect of winning and the rivalry that builds throughout the journey.
This environment provides invaluable opportunities to engage your audience and learn from their interactions and behaviors.
For example, contests at Engage Arena have an average duration of 24 weeks which relates to the length of the NFL, NBA or one of the many other sports that can be used.
Your audience is reminded to return to the enter their weekly picks and check the results via alerts. Each visit puts your brand in their minds and allows you to utilize interactive engagement tools so you can learn from, educate and promote to the contestants.
Emotional interaction with your brand
Aligning the theme of your contest with the interests of your customers and employees is a good first step. The more interested your audience is in the topic the more motivated they will be to interact with your brand.
The contest theme is key to connecting with your audience at an emotional level and maintaining their interests outside of the 9-5 grind.
Sport has proven to be one of the strongest themes to choose for your contest. It captures a significant portion of your audience's interest, with 90% of Americans watching sport at some time during the year. It also stimulates emotion which drives further engagement in your contest. Examples include branded online Sport Picks Contests at Engage Arena.
The competitive juices flowing
If there’s a sure-fire way to spark interaction and engagement among your customers or staff, it’s competition.
The office is a breeding ground for ambition and impetus, and contests provide a perfect platform for people to prove themselves and put their name up in lights.
Contests deliver significant benefits to the workplace, bringing to life even the most timid characters among your clients and staff. Individuals are often insecure and have self-doubt and a competition can be an effective ingredient to drive creative achievement, innovation and engagement. (Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing).
Next time someone answers with an "Event" get them to think "Contest". It's likely to be much lighter on the budget and it you get it right, a much more engaging experience.