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Endearment vs. Engagement — An Epic Digital Battle

In the digital space, we all have learned the importance of engagement. You know, that one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that we all want to see as a result of our digital marketing efforts. The hopeful scenario plays out like this: Boy makes a video. Girl buys a post, and 9- minutes later, you want to see the likes, follows, leads, hits, and of course, a sale.

But engagement can lead us to a false sense of security, namely, because engagement can be manufactured. Endearment, on the other hand, is a much tougher aspect to manage, and it is much more nuanced than engagement. Bottomline, endearment is much more difficult to track.

While engagement has rich and robust analytics (likes, follows, and so forth), endearment is widely overlooked. Why? Endearment is subjective, elusive, and hard to prove. It’s true conjecture, yet it should be considered among the most important aspects of your digital marketing for you to manage.

One way to evaluate endearment may be to look at your engagement not with a lens of ‘What did we get, but with a lens of ‘what did we NOT get.’

You may have placed content or purchased an ad posting and received a 10% engagement percentage. Not bad, until you realize what the hell happened with the 90% of a target audience that did not engage?

What was the impression left upon the impressions you achieved? Meaning, what did the audience feel, see, learn, judge, or do when they experienced your ad? What are you telling your potential (future) consumers about you?

If you continually try to hard-close prospects and target audiences with high-engagement content and call-to-action tactics, also known as ‘low-hanging fruit,’ what then is the take away from the ‘fruit’ at the top of the funnel?

Many times our hard-hitting call-to-action ads do nothing to move prospects deeper into the funnel. We may lose that prospect to a competitor whose messaging communicates a more positive ask.

I have written at length about my marketing practice, and I have long preached a mantra that I have held true to, which says: “Make me like you. Or, at least, don’t make me dislike you.”

When advertising, anywhere—anytime, if your message only communicates ‘BUY-BUY-BUY,’ you may say goodbye to many prospects who are not in the buy-cycle, ready to buy, or could potentially influence a buy because you have turned them off with an ad tactic that does not endear them to your brand, product or service. In other words, they may dislike you.

Creating endearment means making people like your ads by using a multi-pronged creative strategy that includes a myriad of messages that may appeal to prospects in various stages of the buying funnel. That means a message to influence interest and consideration of a purchase (top of the funnel) and messages to influence the ready-to-buy (bottom of the funnel). Your messaging must be considered like ingredients required to make a loaf of bread or like pieces in a chess game. Each ingredient or each piece serves a fundamental purpose for a chance to win the game or bake the bread.

Philip Gabbard is a partner at Fat Unicorn Society, El Paso’s leading digital media company. In addition, Philip is an author, speaker, and multi-media thought-leader. For questions or comments, contact Philip at philip@philipgabbard.com.

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