Rob Hall
Jun 9, 2015

How deep is your (customer engagement) love?

Consumers have lots of choices for how to spend their time, so engagement is getting harder to achieve, and only reaches a narrow subset of people anyway. Rob Hall of Lowe Open and Lowe Profero offers tips for reaching a mass audience while also allowing for content-rich engagement.

Rob Hall
Rob Hall

Ever since customer-created content became a digital marketer’s wet dream, agencies have been fighting a difficult battle over the level of customer engagement in online campaigns.

The problem in a nutshell is the allure of ‘deep’ customer engagement. There is nothing that puts a sparkle in a client’s eye like people creating their own video, spending 20 minutes on your campaign app, or uploading a glorious product-inspired selfie.

But getting this level of engagement is increasingly difficult. People have too many choices, not enough time and don’t care enough about your campaign to put in the effort.

Deep engagement drives strong brand affinity with a limited core group of participants. But in doing this, you are often sacrificing a wider audience and the awareness and influence that comes with simpler, more bite-sized engagement.

For most of our clients, the business challenge is not just about building a small, loyal following. Instead what most of the brands are looking for from digital is to sell more to a mass target audience.

As the recent Campaign Asia-Pacific CMO opinion survey revealed, only 7 per cent of clients are confident of making a strong business case for digital. We want to reach more, influence more, and ultimately sell more through our digital campaigns.

So how can we satisfy the marketing needs of digital helping us reach this bigger audience—while still getting content-rich engagement?

There are at least two ways to do this.

1. Mix it Up

You should be creating campaigns that allow a large number of people to snack on your campaign, dip in and out, and get what they’re after. This means making it simple to enter, to participate, and move on. That’s what 95 per cent of your audience wants to do.

If you’re smart, you can still allow the fan boys and girls to feast as well. Reward them to keep going, or give them points to accumulate and come back. Make it interesting enough, and rewarding enough, and those dedicated fans will go the extra mile.

The current Cornetto Taylor Swift campaign running across Asia allows people to do exactly that. You can get a code and play once, and have a chance to win. Or you can keep coming back, collect more points and get more chances to win even better prizes. Snacking and feasting can work together.

2. Phase and Amplify

Creating deep customer content can be a great way, as an initial phase, to drive broader engagement amongst a bigger audience.

Doritos has for a long time run its Crash the Super Bowl contest, an annual online consumer video competition. Consumers are invited to create their own Doritos ads and each year, and die-hard fans and budding movie makers create some weird and wonderful commercials shown online.

The brand then promotes these videos as part of the campaign to a mass audience, and the most popular fan video viewed/voted by consumers is then aired during the Super Bowl.

Amplifying deep content in order to get simpler participation from a much bigger audience can be particularly effective. The result for Doritos is that the Crash the Super Bowl contest has become the largest online video contest in the world.

Ultimately, we all want to create campaigns that are immersive, that our customers love and want to enagage deeply in. And sometimes we strike digital nirvana by creating campaigns that do both.

But if we’re honest, these are getting harder to achieve.

So instead of the hit and hope approach, let’s plan on making our digital work reach as wide an audience as possible. And get our clients believing again that digital engagement can be more than just creating a warm buzz, but can drive cold hard business metrics as well.

Rob Hall is general manager of Lowe OPEN and Lowe Profero, Thailand



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