I hope that the people reading this blog are not like Wal*Mart. I’m not saying that Wal*Mart does not have some fabulous business systems, or super-smart negotiators, but in the world of marketing, it seems like they are just playing “catch-up.” Today’s Marketing Daily article from MediaPost talks about how Wal*Mart.com is (finally) looking at consumer engagement as something they might want to focus on.
Laurie Sullivan’s Marketing Daily article reports that, “The retailer recognizes that 75% of Wal-Mart’s customers go online, but not all shop at Walmart.com,” according to Cathy Halligan, Walmart.com CMO. “Our engagement online is too low, compared with growth rates seen in social network sites,” she told Marketing Daily at last week’s Forrester Research Marketing Forum 2008 in Los Angeles. “We’re growing at two times the industry growth rate, but when you look at what else is growing, such as non-transactional sites, we’re not growing as fast we would like.”
The push toward “engagement”–an industry buzzword describing everything from media buys to customer interaction with brands–has become the latest marketing craze. The trend gives retailers the means to monitor more closely what consumers say about the brands they sell, so employees can quickly respond. For Walmart.com, it switches success metrics solely from transactions to engagement, as more information about consumer preferences comes through blogs, wikis, social network sites and videos.
You can read the whole article here:
Hopefully, you are sitting there thinking, “Of course consumer engagement is important.” Hopefully, you already have efforts on-line to learn from your customers, find new ways to talk with them and get them talking with each other.
If you are like Wal*Mart and happen to be a little late to the party, then I say, “Jump in. The water’s fine.” Don’t just stick your toe into this “new-fangled thang” called interactivity. It’s less expensive than a thirty second commercial in prime-time, but it will take more commitment to do it right. However, nurturing communities can reap huge rewards building your brand, increasing your sales, maintaining top-of-mind awareness. Welcome to marketing in the twenty-first century.