Customer engagement (CE) is a concept in marketing which is used to refer to the types of connections consumers make with other consumers, companies, and specific brands. Achieving a high level of customer engagement is viewed as desirable because it tends to enhance brand loyalty. Companies with a following of highly engaged customers have a dedicated fan base of people who not only buy their products, but also encourage others to do the same, thus creating a ripple effect.
Customers can engage with companies and each other in a variety of media. Historically, customer engagement was often very one sided, with companies marketing to consumers, but not experiencing much communication from their clientele. With the advent of the Internet, this dynamic changed radically and companies had to rethink the way they approached customer relationships.
Activities which could be considered facets of customer engagement include visiting a company website and sharing it with others, creating content about a company or product such as writing a blog entry about a product, engaging in social networks of people with shared interests, writing or calling companies, and viewing print and television advertising for a given company or brand. Highly engaged customers may do all of these things, while less engaged customers may have a less solid relationship with the company.
Advertising often promotes a higher level of customer engagement by providing incentives to be a more engaged customer. For example, people may be told to visit a company website for coupons, or a company may sponsor a contest for bloggers, podcasters, or vloggers, with the winner receiving products or remuneration. The act of creating content for the contest engages the customer and makes the customer more likely to feel connected with the company in the future.
Companies have different ways of approaching customer engagement and the development of relationships with and between consumers in regards to their products. Some of these approaches are industry-dependent, with certain industries lending themselves more to high engagement than others. The philosophy of a company can also be an important aspect, as companies want to retain the reputations they have built while attracting customers and deepening their relationships with their customers.
Some consulting firms specialize in customer engagement. These companies can assist companies with the process of building a more engaged customer base while also expanding their market and remaining true to their core values. Fees charged by such companies vary, depending on the services offered and the size of the campaign.