3 Levels Of Engagement

I was on another episode of the Gen Y Marketing Podcast and Nat, who incidentally has a great little blog, suggested there should bee some sort of framework on the levels of engagement when it came to social media. I couldn’t find anything so here are my thoughts.

Unless you’re specifically targeting a certain group of evangelists, every campaign should have three levels; Low, Medium and High…

These are usually the consumers you simply broadcast to. Little interaction with the brand takes place and at this level consumers are not all that passionate or loyal toward your brand.

On the episode we discussed the recent Dunlop Volley campaign. At this level of engagement, it is the consumer who just see the ads. Another example is the television series Lost, and again on this level the consumer would just be watching the show.

Here things step up a bit and the consumer seeks further interaction with your brand. They become more engaged and to do so they might head to the Dunlop Volley website and look around or purchase a season of Lost on DVD and watch the Special Features. Some evangelism starts to develop on this level.

These are your most loyal and most passionate brand evangelists and they want more interaction with the brand than anyone else. These consumers want to create their own UGC for Dunlop Volleys. These were the ones leading the pack on Lost’s massive ARG. As a marketer, these consumers are worth the most do you.

With that said, sometimes it might be appropriate to target your campaigns at only one or two levels of engagement. McDonald’s went for a mass approach with their Name It Burger campaign. This was done on the Low level where you simply had to enter a name and you were done. Pepsi asked consumers to design their own can. You were restricted to a basic design application on the website but this allowed for a lower barrier of entry and would be considered on the Medium level. Doritos ran the High level You Make It, We’ll Play It campaign where consumers were encouraged to film, edit and submit a video online.

The question becomes do you run a campaign that allows for all three levels or specifically focuses on one? But as with most marketing questions, it depends on your brand, product, campaign and objective.

  • Kate @ The Zeitgeists
    Posted at October 29, 2008 1:50am, 29 October Reply

    Hi Zac,

    Nice post 😉

    My thoughts are that your High level category are not worth the most to a brand. Sure, they are important for a brand but should not be the target of a strategy. My reasons being that these are already converted to the brand or are the ‘brand loyals’. These consumers will chose your brand over another brand without any convincing and regularly over time. They will be highly involved or engaged with a brand with little prompting.

    The Medium level category on the other hand offer a brand a segment which a brand could try and convert into a brand loyal and extract getter profits from. The ‘Medium level’ would most likely consist of a larger audience as well.

    If I were a brand – I’d forget the Low level altogether – mass strategies come with low involvement and are hardly engaging to most people.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at October 29, 2008 8:53pm, 29 October Reply

    My argument was going to be cut 10% of what you’re currently spending on the Low level and spend it on the High level, the ROI will be much greater.

    But you addressed that! It depends on many things, but yes you do make a good point!

  • Daniel
    Posted at October 29, 2008 9:50pm, 29 October Reply

    Hi Guys

    Kate, not sure I agree with you. There is a difference between those that a very brand loyal and evangelists.

    Evangelists will promote your brand to the low and medium groups and try and convert them. I read an interesting comment about evangelists the other day and it went something like “they are the ones who will defend you on a blog when others attack you.”

    I think there is some value in putting some thought into how you can engage and encourage the High group, and give them the tools, to convert others.

    There is also the old adage that it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer (low level) than to keep one (I think ti is 5, I can never remember). What damage to the evangelists/high group do you do if you are seen to be putting all your energy into the low group?

    I think Zac is close with his thoughts on 3 different approaches. It is a nice thought, having the time and budget to create three different approaches, but for most of us it is about finding the closest thing that fits best.

  • Kate @ The Zeitgeists
    Posted at October 29, 2008 10:56pm, 29 October Reply

    Good discussion!

    Yeah I did not make mention that the brand loyals were the influences or evangelists because I felt that it was assumed. 😉

    I agree with what you have said regarding positive WOM etc. but the point is, these people are so darn loyal to the brand that you have them already so why focus the majority (or a large part) of your spend on retaining them? This ain’t no HR or recruitment; if they resonate highly with the brand and they feel a high level of involvement with it relating truthfully to their self-concept, over time they will stay loyal.

    I don’t think you read my post properly as I said don’t bother with the low level at all so yes the brand loyals would not get put offside by ‘putting all your energy into the low group’. Most of the time, it’s when you start attracting the laggards (or low group) that the brand loyals are put off. A great example is Burberry when they alienated their core audience by attracting chavs (UK version of bogans).

    But as Zac mentioned, there are so many factors. Number one being the product category – how loyal can one be to a commodity style grocery such as bog paper for instance and how much engagement is really necessary when it comes to social media?

    Finally, and to reiterate with increasing audience fragmentisation, why bother trying to cater to everyone by undertaking a campaign with three levels? Focus on who you can convert (medium level) and by keeping on-brand for your loyal segment.

    Anyway Zac, congrats on your blog birthday!

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