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Engaging your audience

Successful organisations are closely engaged with their audience. If you doubt that, try telling someone they can't use Facebook today. Or take away their iPhone. That's customer engagement.

Customers are the primary target most businesses want to engage with, but they are not the only important audience.

Audiences which influence success can also include the media, politicians and bureaucrats, donors, authority figures in the area, bloggers and other active netizens, stakeholders and many more, depending on your circumstances.

A clear priority for the organisation then is to identify these groups, work out how best to reach them – and implement regular contact, including direct communications and indirect references (referrals, media appearances, reviews, etc).

It's perhaps surprising then that most organisations don't have programmed contact with their target audiences. In fact, it's common to find that customer contact is sometimes regarded as a bit of  a nuisance. Commonly, organisations don't even bother to document who their customers are, when they have the information readily available.

The immediate consequences of this are higher costs for less effective promotions; the longer term cost is loss of customers and the opportunities you create for competitors.

The number of contacts an organisation has with its target audiences is a direct indicator of its likely success. The cost per contact (and of new contacts) is a direct efficiency measure.

In a very real sense, the cost of a customer contact is the total operating cost of the organisation, divided by the number of contacts. The organisation exists to service its target group, anything it spends that is not related to that goal should be questioned.

Taking a customer-contact focus, and basing it on actual numbers, is an effective way to revitalise and fine tune an organisation, especially an established enterprise that is slowing, becoming sluggish and struggling with rising costs. An examination of audience contact can lead to a complete revamping of the organisation's promotion, shifting them from "shotgun" to targeted.

If you can see value in exploring this approach, give Glide a call.