The term is abused in marketing circles, from the “How To” to the “What For’s”, it seems to be the word of the day and yet I think we miss the true essence. In most cases we mistake participation for engagement. Engagement just sounds better; It just rolls off the tongue more fluently than the word participation. I think that is about to change as it seems more and more people are catching on to the deeper meanings of the word.
One of my Facebook friends forwarded an article to me today that speaks to the difference; at least in my head. I pulled the following quote out of the text as it speaks right to the point;
Listening up means spending time actually talking to your customers, about not just their “wants” and “needs” but about their hopes and fears, their opportunities and threats, their greatest achievements and biggest regrets. It’s not just about sating immediate desire with lowest-common-denominators, outsourced from the lowest bidder — it’s about learning to help people achieve long-term fulfillment, in inimitable, enduring, resonant ways that rivals can’t.
Develop Character – The Rest Happens by Default
I think the excerpt implies a deeper meaning to the word. It goes beyond “wants” and “needs” as to strum the cords of our souls. Hopes, fears, dreams and achievements; big words with big meaning. As it is with the word engagement.
Now I am not suggesting that engagement does not have a place in marketing. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that when we develop the context that sets engagement free; then we will have hit the mother load. We will have unleashed the deeper meaning and application of the word. Okay, a little quixotic but nonetheless, we will have tapped something very special.
How do you do it? The Harvard types call it “Listening up,” Gary V calls it “Care,” and I call it “Loving People.” Loving them where they are and in an effort to bring greatness out of them. Easy? No. Worth it? yes.
Take away: Get deep into the study of people. Know what keeps them up at night and what keeps their dreams aflight and go about bringing that out of them. Do it by listening up, caring and loving them where they are and expecting more for them than they are capable of expecting for themselves. They will appreciate you for it; I know I appreciate those people in my life.
Have a compelling weekend! M