Valentine’s Day Reflections On Engagement (Part 1)

Carbon print of Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1869, pr...

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Valentine’s Day is coming in less than a week; but, this is not a post about your love life.  It is about relationships — the one you have with your audience, the consumer.

I just downloaded and began to read a fascinating 8-part research study conducted by Indianapolis based digital marketing firm ExactTarget.  Their study finds that an incredible 95% of Americans use email on a daily basis; and, more surprisingly, 93% of Americans subscribe to at least one email newsletter (permission marketing).  Additionally, 73% of Americans have created a Facebook profile, 65% active daily, and, 42% of those users say they have become a fan (“Like”) at least one product or brand page.

Let me repeat those numbers so they can sink in … 93% of Americans subscribe to at least one email newsletter and 42% of Facebook users “Like” at least one brand page.  Since we’re so close to Valentine’s Day, I’ll put those numbers into perspective:  more Americans choose to receive permission based marketing than choose to get married (approximately 55% of Americans over the age of 18 are married).

That’s good news for those of us charged with reaching consumers through digital media platforms.  Unfortunately, there’s also a caveat … just like there is with marriage statistics.  America’s divorce rate is currently around 40% of first-time marriages and 73% of third marriages, which is very similar to the rate American consumers “divorce” their brand partners.  Each year, about 54% of email marketing recipients choose to unsubscribe and 44% of Facebook “fans” choose to “Unlike” at least one brand or product.

“It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”Lord Tennyson, 1850 (That’s him to the right, by the way, just so you understand why there’s a picture of a creepy-looking 19th Century guy on my blog)

Although I write about a broad range of media-related topics on this blog, two common themes have emerged:

  1. How do we grow the reach of our digital platforms and leverage that audience to increase ratings, revenue … (whatever your objective)
  2. (For Radio) How do we optimize content to grow audience share without sacrificing personality under PPM measured ratings?

Well, the advice for both is pretty much the same as what you might tell an unmarried couple struggling with the next phase in their romance:

You’ve got to get engaged!

It’s about engaging the audience through all content delivery methods available.  Go ahead and read the ExactTarget study.  I’ll quote some of their data findings in future blog posts … at least two or three more will explore my thoughts on audience engagement while “love is in the air” during the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.

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