Whenever my husband and I ask too many questions of our toddler over dinner: "How was your day? What did you do? Did you see Bob? Did you play in the sandbox?" He asks us to "shush down, please." While it makes me shake my head each time—where do kids get this stuff?—it also serves as a funny reminder about engaging with people and building communications strategy.
Over the last number of years, there have been countless articles, studies, and discussions about how social media—and technology in general—has changed the way that marketers communicate with customers.
We have access to the masses more than ever before. You can't get through a trade publication without being reminded about building relationships with your customers. You can't pass a traditional media spot without seeing a reference enticing the consumer to "Join the conversation!"
But here's the thing: not everybody wants to talk all the time. Sometimes they're happy to know you, but they just want you to "shush down."
A recent study by the Corporate Executive Board was featured in the Harvard Business Review (HBR). It covered myths around what customers really want from brands and its insights were telling. Certainly, there are questions about all qualitative research and, as the research continues, the details will become more clear, but two of its leading points captured my attention.
While marketers think that the best way to build engagement with customers is to constantly interact with them, the researchers found only 23% of the 7,000 of consumers interviewed were interested in having such a relationship. In fact, the primary motivation of participants' interaction with a brand online was to get special discounts or deals, not "have a conversation." The study authors point out that conversing with customers isn't a more-is-better model, and there is no demonstrated relationship between mass quantity of social interactions and purchase behaviour.