Voices of the Engagement Economy: Stephanie Meyer, CMO, Connecture
Stephanie is responsible for PR, IR, marketing operations, and anything that has touchpoints with customers aside from sales.
In this discussion, Stephanie talks about her experiences with the Engagement Economy as a consumer, the biggest challenges CMOs face today, and how to successfully engage with employees.
What are the biggest challenges that you see for CMOs today?
There are three hurdles that CMOs need to overcome if they want to align their strategy with the Engagement Economy:
1) Some CMOs think personalized marketing is more expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive with the right tools.
2) It’s hard for some marketers to think that their customers don’t need anything more than a nice bottle of wine or a round of golf to experience successful engagement. This is definitely not personal and doesn’t help us understand what customers are motivated by.
3) In a B2B2C business, how the consumer feels is really undervalued. In the past, once the health insurance provider signed up, it just became a software transaction. Insurance is very personal because it’s expensive. So, health insurance providers really need to be more competitive and personalize how they engage with customers. Millennials, who are most likely getting health insurance through their employers, will react differently from those customers who are on Medicare and retired.
How do you feel about the Engagement Economy as a consumer?
I feel as though the relationship between buyers and sellers has become very transactional. For example, companies like Macy’s and Walgreens only focus on single instance transactions, so I’m not as loyal to them as a consumer. I’m more loyal to companies that actually engage with their customers. The way we make the most of every engagement and make the experience count is going to differentiate the winners in the Engagement Economy.
What company utilizes engagement successfully?
Amazon is a good example of a company that successfully engages with their customers. Sometimes I search for items on Amazon, but can’t bring myself to put them in my shopping cart. However, when I visit another website, the items I searched for on Amazon keep appearing in the sidebars or banners. Amazon is also concerned with how customers feel about the packaging and when it arrives. So, they make me feel as though they’re really listening to me and want to get to know me. I don’t believe in engagement for the sake of engagement. You really need to customize your engagement. For example, my twenty-one-year-old son, who lives with me, gets the same flyers from his health insurance provider as I do. Clearly, he and I belong to two different segments, yet we’re being marketed to with the same content. You really need quality engagement that includes personalized experiences.
What does employee engagement mean to you?
When engaging with employees, I believe you have to get everybody at every level to understand the company’s mission, vision, and value. So, you have to think about engaging employees holistically. For example, if PR wants to release a press release, but our website is not ready for prime time, customers who will be drawn to our website as a result of the press release will have a poor experience. You have to think about the continuity of experiences. It’s most important to reach those employees who come out of the woodwork and want to be a part of the shift your company is taking on. The way you engage with employees is critical to rallying them around this shift. You really need to get the employee base passionate about the mission, vision, and value.