Announcing my engagement

Are you engaged?

Well, are you? Engaged I mean. By that I mean are you bought into the latest marketing concept or messaging that is being pushed out by agencies staffed by people with great cheek bones and close fitting back clothes.

Engagement is the new black in marketing communications. It’s about ensuring your target audience – i.e. the client’s end users (normally) are fully aware, bought in and understand the product, service or issue you’re in charge of promoting. What’s more it covers an enormous range of actions. And, whilst the initial tone of this piece is very sarcastic, the issue of engagement is important. It’s just that it sounds crass because of the jargon we use.

Take the issues around net zero carbon homes. Making a home energy efficient and not using fossil fuels is a major step toward decarbonisation and combatting climate change. But are the home owners, residents and tenants bought in to the idea? Do they get it? Yes and no. To say there is a degree of reticence around the technology that needs to be installed in a home is an understatement. Just look at the Smart Meters advertising featuring that slightly creepy Einstein. That campaign is about education, awareness and engagement to get people to say yes to smart meters, so their behaviours change, and we move towards net zero living.

It’s the same with the campaign to persuade people to use their cars less and walk or ride the bike more. It is rooted in education, awareness and engagement. Whilst it’s an obvious thing to others, many, many people require some explanation that everyone’s health and wellbeing and the future of the planet can be helped by taking more exercise and driving less.

If your target market is not engaged with you, your message, your product or your service then you have no market, no business. It goes pop, like a bubble.

So, you need to know your market. As they say in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – who are those guys? Know them. Identify them. Do what Stephen King does when writing a best seller – he writes for an ideal reader; someone he’s created to pitch his ideas at (it just happens to be his wife…). There is a thing that marketing, and business consultants do now what’s called persona profiling, or understanding people’s needs. That’s about engagement.

So, whilst I might scoff at the language, the thinking behind the jargon is sound. Are you engaged? Or are you switched off? If you got this far reading then you know the answer. Good PR, good marketing and good communications is rooted in knowing and then engaging with the audience. Best get practicing.