Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement: 5 Powerful Lessons Learned From Star WarsThe new Star Wars movie just came out, and one thing is quite clear to all of us: the undoubtful power of  customer loyalty and customer engagement.

When looking at all the buzz created by Star Was brand, all that I can think of is the power of brand and customer loyalty. In this case, knowing their fan base, knowing their loyalty, and knowing how to speak directly to them is what has resulted in so much anticipation and excitement around the new movie. Well, that and the amazing movie series too (but that’s my fan side speaking now).

We, marketers and customer insights ‘Jedis’, keep looking at the marketing campaign, depicting every detail of it, hoping to learn as much as possible as well as wishing we would have been lucky, or clever, enough to be part of such campaign. Yes, there is a lot that we can learn, especially from a customer engagement aspect, and here are a few powerful lessons we can learn and apply in our community engagement efforts moving forward:

Lesson 1: Plan and precisely time your campaign.

“In my experience there is no such thing as luck.”

Every strong marketer knows the value of planning. The rare luck strike can sure help in the success of a campaign, but we know well that nothing beats a well-planned marketing campaign. It not only it gives you a general guidance of the direction you are going towards, but it allows for you to time your campaign and adjust accordingly. And the proof of the benefits of planning and timing is the Star Wars campaign. They have been building anticipation with their campaign since the first quarter of this year. How could we forget Matthew McConaughey’s reaction to the Star Wars trailer? And to time it perfectly, the movie premiere was planned to hit the theaters just around Christmas Holidays, when most people will be spending quality time with their loved ones, and looking forward to a low-key activity.

Lesson 2: Know your customers!

“The Light — It’s Always Been There. It’ll Guide You.”

On my past blogs, I have highlighted the importance of having a deep understanding of your target audience, and for letting them guide your efforts. But it is never too late to reinforce. Every smart marketer and business know that at the core of any successful company lies their customers. They know your products and services, as they are their users. The Star Wars marketing shows us exactly the value of knowing your customer base and following their needs to guide to create true customer engagement. As they had a true understanding of their fan base, they knew exactly how to speak to their fans, and how to keep them engaged before, during, and after the movie premiere.

All we need to do is apply the same principles to our marketing campaigns.

Lesson 3:  Loyalty wins! Nurture your relationship with your customers.

“Would you risk your life to help your friends destroy a Death Star?”

Hans and Chewie’s friendship have shown us a valuable lesson on loyalty that we should apply to our customer engagement efforts. When you know you have a loyal customer base, and you know what is important to them, then you nurture that relationship.

Nurturing a customer relationship requires that you truly pay attention to what, and how, your customers respond to your efforts. You can do that  by creating campaigns that will keep your loyal customers and community members interested in what you are saying, in what you are sharing with them, or what are you asking from them. Let your loyal customers know how much you value their feedback on your products, or how much you appreciate their participation in your events, their comments on your community. Take into account their comments, and reply to them in a timely manner. Responsiveness keeps the momentum going, so don’t wait until 2 weeks later to respond to a comment or question.

The same applies for keeping your market research online community members engaged. Foster and nurture your relationship with your community members in significant ways that will keep them engaged and will motivate them to keep joining your discussions and responding to your inquiries.

Your customers and community members have shown you their loyalty, now it is up to you to nurture it. The key is to make your loyal customers feel engaged, appreciated and properly rewarded.

Lesson 4: Convert loyal customers into brand advocates

“Chewie… We’re Home!”

Do we have any doubt that the biggest marketers for Star Wars were their hardcore loyal fans? We do have to give Disney full credit for their strategy, as they smartly did what we all should do: they empowered their fans to do their marketing for them, actually, with them. They created a few videos and trailers that kept being released in a timely manner, creating a lot of anticipation and excitement about it, and consequently, making all of us talk about it too. I am surely guilty of using my Facebook status to keep chorus to the fans million dollar question “Where’s Luke Skylark?”, when the first trailers came out.

That is exactly what we should apply to our marketing efforts, so we convert our loyal customers into brand advocates. We have to create just enough hype that our loyal customers will want to share their excitement with their network. To motivate this engagement cycle, even more, you create brand ambassador programs prior to starting a new campaign. Ambassador programs have an incredible value for online communities engagement and customer engagement in general. So leverage your loyal customers and empower them to speak about your brand, your community, your product, and services.

Also, remember that social media and online communities are powerful tools for customer engagement, so leverage the tools you have available. Identify your key active community members or social media followers, and connect with them. In fact, motivate them to be talking about you on these channels, and reward them for their participation.

Lesson 5: Learn, don’t follow!

“Who is the more foolish? The fool or the the fool who follows him?”

Learning your lessons is one thing. Following someone’s footsteps is another. Not that I would expect that every company would start using the Star Wars logo guidance in their branding. And if someone does, it will only look foolish! What I mean is we should stand by your beliefs and core business goals, and look at examples such as this to help us look into our own efforts to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Great and smart leaders are constantly learning and adapting, so use the knowledge wisely, apply it smartly, and solidify your ‘Jedi’ status.

 

Thank you for listening, and remember: The Force is With Your Customers… Always!

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