One of the digi-myths being perpetuated and sadly, believed, is that because people are online they are more engaged with brands.

There are two issues here. The first, is the definition (or lack of one) of “customer engagement” – we’ll deal with that another day.

The second, which we’ll discuss now, is the fallacy that because we can measure something in real-time, such as a click-through or social post, then the customer who clicked-through or posted, must be more engaged with our brand.

Did we claim before the interweb was invented, that customers were more engaged when they called our customer service centres? After all, talking with a human being is more engaging than clicking on a link on a computer screen.

For no rhyme or reason digi-spruikers believe that just because a person’s activity can be measured online, then they are more engaged with brands. We’ve always been able to measure to a varying degrees, customer activity offline. For example, telephone calls in response to a DRTVC. Or sales in a retail store as a result of a POS promotion, mailing or press advertisement.

Yet the term “customer engagement” didn’t enter our vocabulary. So why now, just because we can track activity online, do we assume this miraculously translates to some new sort of engagement on the customer’s behalf?

The only thing that has changed is the speed at which we track activity. There is more immediacy to our tracking. But the reasons customers act on marketing messages are the same whether the messages are online, offline, or hanging on the clothes line.

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What has changed is marketer’s tracking ability, not customer attitudes towards brands or their level of engagement.

In fact, the beauty of the interweb is that people have the ability to quickly click and forget – to become disengaged in no time at all. We can ignore things online faster than most any other media. Just one click and we’re gone. Something’s ‘bugging’ me about that last sentence??

In the over-crowded noisy world of the interweb, digi-spruikers are making any claim to get themselves noticed. “Customer engagement” is one of those terms that reflects this posturing. There is very little evidence to support the claim that just because we can measure when a person uses an online media, they are more engaged with the brand in that media.

If it were true, we’d be tracking every “customer engagement opportunity” such as a face-to-face sale, or customer contact in a store, to measure the engagement level.

Then of course we’d simply demonstrate the engagement level’s exact impact on the bottom line.

Oh look, up in the sky…

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