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Successful customer engagement is the new standard for marketing success. We are all trying to achieve it and maintain it – from marketing departments, to agencies, to consultants, and even down to individual campaign delivery. But many people (and entire organisations for that matter) still don’t understand how to properly engage their customers, and even fewer still have realised that customer engagement is now emerging as a primary business strategy (Tweet this).

Customers are now empowered. Chances are they know much more about your products, services and special offers than you may know about them.  According to the CEB, the world’s leading member-based advisory company, prospective business-to-business buyers have completed 57 per cent of their due diligence before they even speak to one of your sales reps. Forrester states as much as 60 per cent with as many as 78 per cent of buyers starting their research with a Google search (Tweet this). Likewise, a recent IDC study found that B2B technology buyers receive an average of six calls and 14 emails a day from vendors. They’re so inundated with data and sales pitches, so it’s little wonder that just 10.5 per cent of phone calls and a mere nine per cent of emails from new vendors actually get a response.

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With marketing expected to consistently deliver engaging customer experiences, (no pressure) you must be able to level the playing field of knowledge by gaining unprecedented insights about them if you’re going to succeed.

But first, let’s address some common mistakes around engagement.


  • First, more content is not the answer. You cannot improve a relationship with your customers (or engage them) by simply throwing more content at them. According to Neurology Magazine, on average consumers are bombarded with more than 3,000 marketing messages a day. It’s human nature to filter out the things that don’t interest you. That’s why relevance is critical.

  • The second mistake is being too generic. If you don’t personalise your offerings – e.g. make them feel ‘known’ through a contextualised experience delivered through their preferred channel – then you’re just throwing messages (and budget) at the wall and waiting to see what sticks.
  • Third, speed is paramount. You must be able to analyse your marketing data in real time or your competitors will close the window of opportunity for you while you’re wading through the customer data looking for clues.

“Most marketers would admit that the number one underused asset in their organisation is data.”

That’s why customer engagement starts with a modern technology foundation. Unifying customer data in all of its forms in a single place means you can then gain the meaningful unified customer view. And once you have this foundation in place, the right analytics can then empower you to not only deliver a consistent customer experience with every interaction across all channels to develop a trusted relationship, you can also take immediate action triggered by specific prospect behaviours.

Predictive analytics on any device can enable you to engage the right set of influencers to win customers, easily identify new business and effectively secure leads with the right messages delivered in the right time. You can even respond to specific opportunities based on a deep understanding of social media sentiments around brands, products and promotions.

The rules of customer engagement have changed. The customer is now in charge of the relationship and it is up to smart companies, and smart marketers like you, to find new, relevant and timely ways to engage them (Tweet this). Marketing has moved way beyond traditional CRM and into the realm of richer customer engagement – regardless of department, location or channel. Have you?

(If the answer to that question is “no” or “not sure” take a look at the white paper below for a great place to start!)

Sian Smith – Head of Marketing at SAP EMEA

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