How to Engage with Consumers: A Cup of Jo Cheatsheet

What can brands to today to transform the way they engage with people? The following are excerpts from our Cup of Jo interview series in which we have caffeinated conversations with wickedly smart people, and who each provide their answer to this very question. You can access our full Cup of Jo playlist on YouTube. Or if you prefer podcasts, you can download every Cup of Jo episode on iTunesGoogle Play or Soundcloud.
“If you, as a marketer, really want to engage your customers, go take your analytics people out for a coffee or drink and become their best friend because the knowledge they have will help transform the business that you’re doing today.”Steve Mast, President and Chief Innovation Officer of Delvinia

“Sometimes our biggest mistake is we think our customers think about us as much as we think about them. If we can just change that, I think we could get into a really interesting time and the best one for that matter.”Dalia Asterbadi, CEO, Founder and Chief Data Scientist of

“If there were one thing, it would be change. Change in terms of when, where, and how they change. When you think of it, there are numerous examples of this kind of circumstance, whether it’s Tesla and the vision of renewable energy. Whether it’s Netflix and the issue of changing how we produce and how we distribute movies, or whether it’s Shoppers Drug Mart and the incredible focus that they’ve put on cosmetics. Change is the key.”Steve Levy, Chief Operating Officer at Ipsos Canada

“Obviously adding physical to their mix is great. One of my favorite elements of Smartmail Marketing is connectivity. Because the print industry has come so far in what they can do scientifically, from scent and sound and actually even taste. There’s edible ink if you really want to do that to get that impact across, you can do that as a marketer. You can have luminescents. Digital can be embedded into the paper. What I love about that is it’s taking those different kinds of experiences and really putting it into that tangible place. The physical can be a jumping off point to something digital. I can get a piece to take me online to create awareness of a site that I didn’t know about before, I can buy something.Then that receipt experience, what does it feel like when I get something in the mail, whether that’s a parcel that I’ve ordered, or a response piece or a thank you. A simple handwritten thank you goes so far. We’re seeing some really interesting brands take that to the next level. Nothing makes us feel more special than a handwritten thank you card from somebody that we’ve got a relationship with.”

Jennifer Campbell, General Manager, Influencer Marketing at Canada Post

“Without trying to make it sound like I’m skirting the issue, it’s exactly that. We are very much natural at engaging. Some of us are more or less shy, more or less introverted or extroverted in the right circumstances perhaps. We all crave, want engagement. Inside of my little company, you walk into our bricks and mortar store, how are you approached? You can walk up to someone and say, “Hey, can I help you?” and they’re going to say, “Just looking.” You could walk up and say, “You’re head’s on fire.” “I’m just looking.” “Get out of the building. There’s an earthquake coming.” “I’m just looking.”How do you talk to your staff, young staff who’ve maybe never worked in retail, or seasoned veterans about engagement? That person coming in the store does want engagement in the right measure at the right time. It’s the same thing in our digital world with an email marketing campaign or how we merchandise on the site…

If we have a problem, I ask my customer service team, “Fire me an email.” It’s not because you can’t do the job, but fire me the email. I want to be engaged. Send me a note, send me a Slack message. Get me in the loop with the customer. I’ll reach out to them. That’s engagement.”

Jamie Clarke, Canadian Adventurer and CEO of Live Out There

“This may surprise you because it goes back to things we’ve known a long time ago. Which is that you need to be very simple in your message, and very specific. Having worked for years on strategies that are sometimes beautiful and elaborate, then I see the creative that’s associated with it and the key message isn’t there, and people wonder why isn’t is communicating what it’s supposed to communicate? We really need to think more about how people process information, and understand that we need to actually use the words and phrases that we want to get across, and be very specific. Then we want to repeat those and connect the dots for people coming from a lot of different media and sources so that it really gels in peoples mind. Quite honestly, if you want to know who’s best at this, a lot of the politicians. I won’t name names, but some of the politicians are very, very good at saying candidate A, attribute A. It may be not true at all but they’ve created that neuro network, that association. That’s what brands should do in a positive way.”Elissa Moses, CEO of the Ipsos Centre of Excellence for Neuro and Behavioral Science Center of Excellence

“I think the number one things that brands can do today to transform the way they engage with people is to really start listening to customers in a different way. Don’t look for feedback on your products and services, don’t look for what’s going to be the next opportunity to get at these people. Really listen to how are they living their lives, how is their work day go from end to end, what are the challenges that they encounter along the way? They may have nothing to do with what you as a company can offer them but if you show that you are noticing that, that you understand that, that you have some empathy with it, I think those are where some of the first stories are really going to come from. I think it’s really going to transform the way that they talk to those people.”Shane Schick, former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing Magazine

“I think the best thing you can do is find an approach into people’s lives that they’re not expecting. Try to be less predictable, and if you’re less predictable, sometimes you make an impact on people that predictability wouldn’t give you.”Michael Landsberg, host of Canada’s longest-running sports talk show Off the Record on TSN

“Well, I think the need to feel that you have to be everywhere all the time. Most brands can’t do it. I don’t think you need an Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and everything else. Find out where your customers are and where are they talking about you and do you want to be part of that conversation. Don’t give a person a Twitter account and give them no autonomy and every answer is a stock answer. Just call this number, just call this number. You know how annoying that is? You ever gone to a store to return something and you get to the front and they’re like wrong line, it’s actually over there? That’s what you’re doing to somebody with your brand on Facebook or Twitter. I’ve had airlines rebook me and pick a new seat through Twitter DMs. I’ve had entire meals fixed and delivered to us through a Facebook message. You can do it. It’s just whether or not you want to invest the time. Is it truly a service channel? Then make it one.”Scott Stratten, President, UnMarketing

“Well, you just said the word: engage. Marketing today is relationship marketing. If you’re on their Facebook page, are they just showing you the latest crap about them or are they asking you questions? Are they giving you opportunities to be a part of their community in a meaningful way?”Erica Ehm, CEO & Creative Director, Ehm & Co.

“I think it’s remember that they are engaging with people. Human beings, right, who live in a physical world. Not ones and zero, not avatars, not a Facebook profile that is statistically driven. And human beings respond to real things. They have emotions. They want to feel appreciated, and respected, and recognized as individuals. And it is easier to do that with things that are physical, that they can hold in their hand, that they can talk to someone and see face to face than it is by any number of CRM-derived ads or social media.”David Sax, author of “The Revenge of Analog”

Be real. The problem with all this technology we have is that we can project to be a certain type of person or a certain type of brand that we really aren’t. Because we can’t see behind the screen. You’ve got to be sincere and be consistent. Brands like Patagonia and Toms and others that have a purpose and vision and they live it, with everything they do. Those are the Brands that are going to succeed, not just now but also in the long-term.”Jeanette McMurtry, Chief Marketing Officer at e4 Marketing and author of the popular Marketing for Dummies collection

“One thing would be don’t forget that we’re humans, and humans like to touch and feel. I think brands went through the last decade embracing digital and almost forgetting that their customers were in fact humans. The amazing feeling you get when you hug someone, and that’s what the brands are lacking in my view, who are rapidly embracing digital which is an important part of their marketing, their e-commerce and their customer relationship strategy. But don’t forget that customers are humans and don’t forget to touch them once in awhile.”Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post

“I think that they have to truly understand what are the emotional motivations behind the reason why people are going to consume their product. Yes, there is a very tangible need that their product will serve, to answer, but they also need to see exactly what is the emotional benefit that people are searching while they’re consuming their product? Is there a need for recognition, is there a need to be part of something? So when they would understand that, that would help them a lot in their communication.”Luc Durand, President of IPSOS Quebec

“I’d say that right now, it’s getting very noisy. Every inbox is getting full. Brands are doing a lot to try and break the clutter, but sometimes as a result of everybody doing more, it’s becoming very noisy. So I’d say, less is more. I’d say make it very precious, make it very special, and make it extremely relevant. That doesn’t mean that you need to be always engaging. It means that you need to engage with the right message at the right time.”Nicolle Scavuzzo, Vice President, Global Guest Recognition, CRM & Insight, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

“I would have to say that if a brand was really being a valued brand, they would have to treat their audience with the utmost respect. If they fail to do that, its just business as usual. And, the civility that we really need as a culture, a 21st century culture that at least where I come from, it’s completely polarized, design can be the mitigator. Brands need to adopt an attitude of generosity, civility, respect. Anything else is “just delete.”Rick Valicenti, Design Director & Owner of Thirst

Posted on February 27, 2018 in Entertainement, Interviews, Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Trends

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About the Author

Michael Chase - a true hybrid – part strategist, part data monkey, part creative director, part global growth hacker (when you're doing bic pen tracheotomies you still have to think of EBITDA) and through and through an innovator.

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