Customer Engagement Trumps Tweets and Likes

Customer Engagement Trumps Tweets and Likes

I read an interesting piece of research on user-generated content by, among others, Bobby J. Calder — one of my favorite marketing professors at The Kellogg School of Management. The article, entitled People are tweeting about your products. Will it boost sales?, was insightful and well researched.

Calder, a standout in the Kellogg marketing department, specializes in consumer insights and consumer behavior. He and his co-authors Edward Malthouse, Su Jung Kim and Mark Vandenbosch attempted to understand how user generated content in social media impacts purchase behavior. They believe that personal connections with a brand ard more important than a “tweet” or a “like”.

They studied a Canadian loyalty program known as the Air Miles Reward Program (AMRP), which offers reward points for purchases at a variety of retailers. AMRP launched a social media contest several years ago where participants could win extra reward points. Members were queried about how they would spend the extra points if they won. Nearly 8,000 customers posted on an AMRP social media site.

Calder and his co-authors gathered data on purchase history and points accumulated among participants. They looked at consumer segments who had similar transaction histories but differed in the amount of information they shared about how they would spend the extra points. Those who shared the most information were more likely to make future purchases. More interesting, the change in activity lasted up to 6 weeks after the contest had ended — much longer than the effect of most advertising lasts.

Our publicity-based marketing team has long focused on consumer engagement as a lever to developing brand zealots who advocate for our clients’ brands. We use event marketing, social media contests and cause marketing to engage consumers. Our goal is to go beyond their interest in the brand to forming an experiential “kick the tires” connection with the brand, which relates to the things closest to their hearts, minds and values.

Back-end research on our programs’ efficacy over the past two decades shows the following:

  • Dramatic increases in unaided brand awareness, brand consideration and preference
  • More requests for follow-up sales contacts — up to four times more requests for a sales call than with control groups
  • Greater willingness of consumers to provide third-party endorsements — typically 35-40 percent vs. 5-7 percent for control groups

If you’re interested in learning more, below are some links to other interesting articles on this topic.




For more information, please contact Mike Reiber

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