Engagement, Yard Waste and Third Rails …

For marketers, “engagement” does not mean this … unless you are selling engagement rings, then it does, sort of.

Engagement may be the squishiest, worst-defined metric in marketing. Yet it’s important. Sometimes.

Luckily, the good people at Wikipedia provided this definition:

Engagement marketing, sometimes called “experiential marketing,” “event marketing,” “on-ground marketing,” “live marketing,” or “participation  marketing,” is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand.

I was thinking about this last night when I was dragging my trash out, including two branded lawn-waste bags, each of which had a QR code for me to “learn more about” … something.

It was dark and I couldn’t actually read the writing, and my initial response was, “I don’t think I really need to know any more about these bags. I mean, they are doing an excellent job holding my yard waste and all, but I think I’m good.” (Apparently, it was to learn more about the Home Depot … I admit, I was pretty tired when this was happening, and clearly, it’s pretty obvious). But then I gave it some further thought — I’m dragging out my trash. Is this really a time for a mobile connection with the Home Depot?

Then I was reminded of two things:

  • In around 1996 or so, watching an ad for Gillette razors (you know, “the best a man can get.”) This is clearly before the time of the crazy futuristic ability to skip commercials. My first thought was, “Why the hell does Gillette need a website?” Apparently I was adorably naive about the web and marketing in 1996.
  • The company that put QR codes on billboards in subway stations. Two problems: 1. The billboards were across the tracks from the platform; and 2. There was no cell service in the station.

So, on this beautiful June Friday, the big takeaways are this:

  1. There are appropriate times and locations for inviting brand engagement, but these are not when I’m dragging yard waste to the curb, or forcing me to traverse the third rail, take a photo of a QR code and then somehow activate when I’m back above ground are not it.
  2. I really wasn’t thinking much about brand engagement in 1996.

As the weekend approaches, please enjoy these links:

“I mean, we have a Facebook and Twitter account, but our web presence is pretty muted compared to what most of these people are talking about. Folks seem to appreciate the free deodorant, though.”

Have a great weekend everyone.



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