What does engagement mean to you?

Not long ago, I was in London with 400 marketing professionals filming our client Alterian’s Engaging Times Summit. It’s all about how marketing is changing and Alterian had some leading speakers – including DM pioneer Stan Rapp and Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic.

The interesting thing has been how different marketers interpret “engagement”. At one end of the spectrum it’s taken to mean “sending the customer a relevant message, not beating them around the head about something they’re not interested in”. Then there are people like Stan Rapp and Lancaster University Professor Michael Hulme who are talking about a whole other league entirely.

To them engagement means companies delivering a truly personalised service and becoming a essential, intimate part of people’s life because of the utility and value they add at an individual level. It’s a big concept – Rapp talked about Nike diverting its marketing budget into technology that enables customers to measure the distance they run, get coaching on its site, and be part of the community of runners as one example, but he stressed this is just the beginning.

That kind of interpretation of “engagement” isn’t a mind shift. It’s a revolution.