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What is Engagement Marketing?

According to Wikipedia, Engagement Marketing campaigns elicit consumer participation in the evolution of a brand, and stimulate users to be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs. By encouraging the consumer to act and comment on your blog, submit a product review to your site, chat with your online sales team or join your web-based community, you stimulate the consumer's desire to participate in your marketing programs.

Once your consumers are participating in your marketing programs, they begin to feel more connected to your company and often remain loyally involved with your brand. A great example of engagement marketing can be seen in the popular Fox TV show American Idol. By asking audience members and at-home viewers to vote each week for their favorite contestants, the show has created an engaged audience that feels connected to the contestants and keeps tuning in to find out if "their" contestants are going to win.

Online social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn also illustrate successful engagement marketing initiatives. In order to be a part of these networks, users must take the initiative to sign-up, create detailed profiles, and connect with friends, co-workers or other like-minded individuals. Once a user is part of these communities, they have opportunities to write blogs, upload photos, join niche-communities, share recommendations, and keep building their networks. And while social networking communities differ from traditional marketing ventures (in that users tend to join for networking or entertainment purposes as opposed to joining for educational reasons like they do with sites such as the Web Buyer's Guide), they still receive and respond to marketing messages while engaged with the sites.

In order to attract and retain customers, IT marketers need to reach out and offer more ways for their users to actively participate in their marketing efforts. While not all IT marketing efforts need to include Engagement Marketing strategies to be successful, there is a need to create more options that allow users to meaningfully connect with your brand, and engage with your message while they educate themselves about your products and services.

Check out what IBM is doing to engage their users on their "Executive Interaction Channel" that is part of the widely publicized IBM Innovation campaign.

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