Engage to Win: A Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy

Engage to Win: A Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy

by Steve Lucas


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Engagement is the key to success for today’s businesses.

The world we live in is radically different today from what it was even just five years ago. It is hyperdigital and becoming more so every day. Ironically, we use connected to describe this new world, yet we are asked to interact increasingly through apps and browsers instead of via face-to-face contact with customers and clients. Even with all the incredible advances, it’s worth pondering whether organizations actually feel more connected to the people and the companies they do business with.

In Engage to Win, author Steve Lucas introduces a new model for marketing to address this new hyper-digital world—one founded on engagement. He introduces the idea that embracing and driving engagement throughout organizations and using it with customers, prospects, employees, and partners is what will set companies apart. This digital era demands that marketers understand the science of marketing in order to scale and succeed. But if we embrace mathematics alone, while abandoning feeling, meaning, and authenticity, we will fail to deliver on the desires of our clients: to feel listened to and understood.

​So how do we win the heart and mind of the buyer in this new world? Develop a real strategy around engagement by practicing these simple steps: listen, learn, and engage. Listening creates insights, insights drive engagement, and engagement drives revenue. Truly engaging with customers will allow businesses to see, in real-time, when customers' wants and needs are changing, so businesses will be able to adapt, survive, and ultimately thrive!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626344983
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 09/18/2018
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Steve Lucas is chief executive officer at Marketo. He has a wealth of enterprise software experience, having held senior leadership positions at Microsoft, Crystal Decisions, Business Objects, Salesforce, and, most recently, SAP. Steve began his career in field marketing and quickly expanded his responsibilities into a general manager role. He is a former member of the board of directors of Sendgrid, TiVo, and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Colorado.

Read an Excerpt


Engage to Win

* * *

What you'll learn in this chapter:

• Why no one wants to be "marketed to" anymore.

• Why we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the Engagement Economy.

• Why customers no longer just compare you to your competitors. (They also judge you against the best companies everywhere.)

• You need a new mantra: Listen, learn, engage.

* * *

You know this, but not everyone does: No one wants to be marketed to. No one. For proof, all we need do is look in the mirror.

Let's do a little more introspection. Do you enjoy those ads that follow you around the Internet, based on nothing more than something you searched for on Google once? How about the solicitations that clutter up a potentially interesting webpage or the ads that have nothing to do with your personal preferences and that — to make things worse — cover up content you'd like to read? Do you look forward to spam cluttering up your inbox? How about the constant, relentless messages from a retailer you once purchased something from months (or years) ago?

Is this the kind of marketing anyone wants? You don't. I don't. And neither do our prospects and customers. As humans — not marketers — who wakes up in the morning and thinks, I want to be marketed to today!?

* * *

Here's a simple, but pivotal question: Do you want to be marketed to or engaged with? (Hint: Your customers will make the same choice you did every time.)

* * *

However, if I asked, "Do you want to be engaged with?" you're probably going to say, "Yeah, I do. I do want to be engaged. I want someone to listen to me. I want to feel that my opinion matters. I like feeling wanted. I want to be understood and see the fact that I am valued reflected not only in the way I am treated but in the products and services I buy from you."

This is not just me talking. There's plenty of data to back me up. Wunderman, a leading digital agency that is part of WPP, one of the largest global communications companies, completed a survey of consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom, investigating the buying behaviors of businesses (i.e., B2B marketing). Here's their big takeaway: "Brands must demonstrate at every step in the customer journey that they understand what consumers need and want. Some 79% of business buyers in the US and 72% in the UK said they would only consider brands that show they understand and care about them."

That's an amazing statement! More than seven of ten people surveyed said they will only consider brands that understand and care about them. And that wasn't in the B2C or consumer market; this was B2B — which I've been told is supposed to be a less "emotional" market.

That insight was confirmed by consumer and business purchasing data. Wunderman found that 89% of US customers and 84% in the UK "are loyal to brands that share their values." If you want proof of the power of engagement, you don't have to look any further.

There are two other things that jump out from the Wunderman research. The first: 88% of people in the US and 90% in the UK "want to engage with brands that are setting new standards." That sounds very B2C-ish, but the comment actually came from B2B buyers!

The final huge takeaway? Some 87% of people in the US and 85% in the UK said they don't measure brands against those brands' peers. Rather, they compare them to companies people perceive to have strong engagement practices, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Starbucks. As Wunderman put it, "You aren't just measured against your direct competitors anymore. You're stacked up against the best, regardless of industry."

We'll return to the Wunderman data later. For now, let me summarize it with one "macro" point: To win in today's world, we must move beyond marketing and engage. Because we are all living in a new era, one I call the Engagement Economy.

Today, the customer is in charge. The buyer — and to be clear, the buyers I am talking about are B2B customers and traditional consumers — is more informed than ever about your brand from search, social, blogs, video, and hundreds of additional digital touchpoints — very few of which you control. They are forming opinions, reaching conclusions, and influencing others well before you even have a chance to make your pitch.

A key point to understand here, and perhaps share with your peers, is that the buyer journey is highly fractured today. No one today in a B2B purchasing scenario simply calls up a salesperson they have no relationship with and buys something of value. A prospective customer today will have encountered literally hundreds of micro touchpoints throughout their buying journey, and it is the job of the marketer to ensure that each one of those experiences or touchpoints is engaging and meaningful.

If in your next marketing or sales planning meeting you see a "funnel" or journey model that looks like either of the ones following, then I can already tell you that change is needed!

Why? Because no matter how modern the picture looks, it's still a funnel, which implies there is an end to engagement.

These pictures are even more misleading because they lead senior management to believe that a buyer journey is linear, when it's not. A buyer journey today is non-linear and can involve dozens of physical and virtual influences, most of which are out of your control!

* * *

When I talk about engagement, I am referring to consistent engagement with your customers, prospects, employees, and partners in a meaningful manner across any channel where a buyer may experience your brand.

* * *

That's the way it is today — and things will only become more frenetically paced going forward. So, how do we win the heart and mind of the buyer in this new world? By developing a real strategy around engagement. We are starting to see examples of this working successfully all around us.

TOMS Shoes has become incredibly successful, in large part because of what it stands for. You buy a pair, and the company donates a pair to underserved children. Simple. Everyone who wears TOMS shoes knows this. TOMS has built a movement and invited its customers to be a part of it.

Okay, fine. Marketing shoes isn't the same as marketing health insurance, and many people tend to view health insurance companies as largely the same as one another. But think about the differentiation that would occur, as well as the engagement, if your health insurance company sent you a note that said, "With your daughter turning 26 soon, she'll need her own insurance policy, and we have some options that will keep her covered and healthy." This sort of communication, as this message shows, doesn't have to be melodramatic. But a simple amount of proactivity demonstrating you understand a family's dynamics — and that you care — goes a long way.

Lyft is another great example. Perhaps trying to further differentiate itself from Uber, it alerted its riders to an upcoming feature dubbed "Round Up and Donate." "Opt in," Lyft wrote, "and we'll automatically round up your total fare to the nearest whole dollar and push the difference towards issues impacting everyone everywhere." This higher purpose is something many buyers like, especially as our marketing orients toward younger audiences.

Hopefully, the argument that we must engage people, not market to them, is starting to resonate. And we must engage them early, engage them everywhere, and do so in meaningful ways at all times.

The choice is binary. We can choose to engage, choose to demonstrate we understand the values of our buyer, and choose to let them know we want them as a customer, or we can be sentenced to a lifetime of irrelevance.

The choice is clear: Engage to win!


It may sound simple, but very few organizations practice the following mantra: Listen, learn, and engage. If that methodology isn't embedded within your organization, you are sentencing yourself to irrelevance.

Rather than outlining an incredibly complex process for engaging with your customers, I'll boil it down to those three steps I just mentioned: Listen, learn, and engage. Their simplicity is the point. In my twenty-plus years in B2B sales and marketing, I have yet to encounter a company that has mastered the act of simply listening, learning, and engaging.

Let's take the steps one at a time.

In step 1, you need to listen to your customers and prospects, every minute of every day, forever. All too often in marketing, we want to get to the punch line and immediately tell everyone how wonderful our products and services are. Instead, try listening — really listening — not to just what someone wants from a product or service, but to who they are as a person. What's important to them? What do they care about? What matters to them? Only after you know these things do you ask how they like to be engaged. Texts? Videos? Emails? Social? At what times? What content and context appeals to them most, and what doesn't? While it sounds simple, effective listening can be the hardest thing that a marketer must do.

* * *

It may sound simple, but very few organizations practice the following mantra: Listen, learn, and engage.

* * *

Then, you translate that listening into learning. That's step 2. You should be able to say, "After we talked to a lot of people, I heard potential customers say they want this; they don't like that. They like companies that do x; they hate companies that do y." Listening creates insights, and insights pave the way for engagement. Contrast that with marketing and sales planning meetings you sit in today. Most of the ones I've attended start and end with what someone wants to sell.

And then you take step 3 and engage, acting on what you've learned. Act on those insights by engaging with your buyers the way they want you to, when they want you to. Do this, and you will win the hearts and minds of those you are trying to connect with. And in the business and consumer worlds, that often translates into both short-term revenues and long-term loyalty.

Simply put, listening creates insights, insights drive engagement, and engagement drives revenue.

Again, the data bears this out. Marketo commissioned independent research to survey both B2B and B2C customers around the world, and this is what respondents said:

• Two out of every three B2B customers want to advocate for brands that demonstrate they care about the customer.

• Half of consumers think vendors and brands could do a better job of aligning their engagement activities with how consumers prefer to engage with them.

• Three out of four B2B customers think vendors or brands must have a deep understanding of their needs to engage successfully.

So, if you've done steps 1 and 2 well, you'll know that the keys to engagement are these:

• Aligning what you do to your customers' personal and business values.

• Displaying and extending a feeling of truly wanting and needing that customer. You must show them you don't think they are dispensable.

• Creating the experience customers want. Allow your customers to interact with you and your company the way they want, when they want, at every part of the buying process. You must map and then align to the journey a customer wants to take or even allow them to self-define their journey on the road to doing business with you. You never dictate it.

Notice I said every part of the journey. As many organizations have learned the hard way, you can lose a customer — or fail to gain one — if they have a bad experience with your company at any time, in any way. Even when those experiences are with your legal, finance, or product management teams. That's why engagement, which should be led by the marketer, is not only a marketing thing. It's something that Quan Nguyen, Vice President of Marketing for Lennox Residential, part of the huge heating and manufacturing company Lennox, believes as well.

"Driving engagement has a lot to do with changing the company culture to be more customer-centric. This includes our credit, warranty, and administration teams. Currently, these teams do not believe they touch customers, but what they do really does impact customer experiences."

When you do all this and do it well, your customer inevitably experiences a feeling about and passion for your product. Not only do they buy, but they also tell others. They become a brand advocate.

Brand advocates are the nirvana of marketing in the Engagement Economy. These are people you don't have to ask to promote your brand. You undoubtedly have some brand advocates today, driving some of your earned media coverage. To be clear, when we talk about brand advocates, we're talking about more than earned media — though it's important not to assume earned media and brand advocates are the same thing. Brand advocates are constituted primarily of customers, partners, and employees who willingly promote your brand on their own because of how strongly they feel connected to your offering. The most powerful organizations will be those that amass global forces of brand advocates who readily support and help see them through the ups and downs every company experiences.

That kind of backing is true engagement.


Engagement distinguishes the best companies from everyone else. Aren't there other strategies besides engagement you can follow to be successful?

No, not really.

To show why that is the case, let's go back to the Wunderman research we mentioned earlier.

Wunderman's research said we are all measured not against our competition, but against the best of the best. Let's look at one of the superior companies that Wunderman singled out — Netflix — and see how they rose to the top.

Specifically, let's examine the classic example of Blockbuster Video versus Netflix to discover why. (I know you've heard this story before, but I promise we'll look at it from a completely new angle.)

The whole reason Blockbuster died is because it made no attempt to understand and engage with its customers. None whatsoever.

* * *

Engagement distinguishes the best companies from everyone else.

* * *

Start with the way you got its product. The brand made you go to its stores. It was the biggest chain and, in theory, should have been the easiest way to rent a movie.

Once you got to the store — and going to the store was the only way to rent — the selection was limited. Blockbuster's "recommendation" engine for movies you might like was literally a sixteen-year-old behind the counter.

The checkout process was laborious. You had to queue up in long lines, because Blockbuster wanted to try to sell you microwave popcorn and Milk Duds® on the way to the register.

* * *

The reality is that whether you are buying as a consumer or you're buying for a business, engagement factors substantially into the decision. People want relationships — personalized, meaningful, and authentic relationships — with the companies that they do business with.

* * *

When it came time to return the movie, you had to drive back to the store. If you were late, the penalties were severe — a percentage of the cost of the rental — and on top of that, Blockbuster wanted you to rewind the film for it. (Yes, my Millennial friends, rewinding was a thing we had to do.) So, the only engagement Blockbuster had with you was negative. That was how it engaged: badly!

Before we get to Netflix, I think it's important for us to contemplate if there are Blockbuster trappings in our own companies. If any of the deficiencies I just laid out in Blockbuster's business model resonates vis-à-vis your existing company, it's time to change! Now, on to Netflix.

Netflix turned every single negative experience from Blockbuster on its head, and in the process of doing so, created a "closed-loop" experience, where much of the traditional marketing its competitors did was actually part of the product itself. You never had to go to the store. Even when Netflix's business model was just sending DVDs through the mail, every bit of inventory was visible with a few clicks of your mouse. The selection was virtually unlimited. It offered algorithm-based movie recommendations. Heck, Netflix even held a contest calling on the public to help it build the best content recommendation algorithm possible. The winner got $1 million (a brilliant PR move). And you could return the DVDs whenever you wanted. Not only was there no late fee, Netflix paid the postage both ways.


Excerpted from "Engage to Win"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Marketo.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION Overcoming the Laws that Govern Our Marketing Universe,
ONE Engage to Win,
TWO The Challenge We All Face,
THREE Marriage Begins with Engagement,
FOUR Why the CMO Needs to Be the CEO (the Chief Engagement Officer),
FIVE Winning in the Engagement Economy,
SIX New Revenue Growth Drivers,
SEVEN More Data = Better Engagement,
EIGHT The Engagement Life Cycle,
NINE The Marketer and the Machine,
TEN A Call to Action,

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