Friday, April 4, 2008

I Am Soooooo Over The Term Engagement

The term Engagement is waaaay overhyped, overused, undefined and pretty much useless until we come to agreement on what it means and how to actually use it! I know that I sound like the Grumpy Old Man on this topic, but I think I have a point!

I wish more companies would come forth with some proposed means of measuring engagement so we could come to an agreement or at least participate in a discussion. Microsoft has made some attempts to do it, but no-one picked up on it (partly because it came from Microsoft). Too many people use the term and not enough people know what it means (I hear planners spew it out in meetings and I see start-ups that work the term into their mission statement). I myself am included in the problem; I didn’t help this issue much from the get-go 3 years ago. In a previous life on the agency side, I had the term Engagement in my title (I was the Engagement Architect) and people always asked me if I was going to help them plan their wedding!

As an Architect I should have been proposing ways to define the term. One way to define the term is to think of attentiveness. This is an element that has been evident in traditional marketing for some time; though not inherently spelled out. Stronger, more impactful media that captures the attention of the consumer is valued higher than less compelling media. That takes into account screen size, captivity of the audience, and personal behavior.

What about time spent? Time spent could be included in a measure of Engagement! If you spend more time with a format than with another, you can argue that you were more engaged, so what about trying to integrate that into your measurements?

One thing I do know for certain; click through does not measure Engagement.
If we don’t come to some terms on what this means relatively soon, I propose that we let the term revert back to describe those people blissfully in love and waiting to be married.

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