Posted November 27, 2007 9:01 am by with 4 comments

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E-consultancy and cScape have just released their 2nd Annual Online Customer Engagement Report which takes an in-depth look at how companies plan to use the Web to engage their customers. The 57-page report surveyed 1000+ participants and is packed full of data that any marketer will find useful. Highlights include:

  • Online customer engagement now top priority as companies change marketing focus
  • Brands embrace widgets, social networks and video-sharing sites in bid to boost customer engagement
  • Digital industry leaders advise companies to pay attention to engagement.

There’s also expert analysis of the findings from Jim Sterne, Avinash Kaushik, and yours truly. Here’s what I had to say about the results.

“[The 2nd Annual Online Customer Engagement Report] demonstrates just how important online customer engagement is going to be over the next 12 months. With more than 90% of businesses indicating that online customer engagement is important—if not essential—to their marketing efforts, and over 77% planning to increase their focus on customer engagement, 2008 is shaping up to be the year we start truly to listen to our customers.

Having said that, companies are yet to embrace the importance of social media as platforms for improving online customer engagement. The study reveals that far too many businesses believe that customer engagement is simply a product of customer experience (38%) or is a role for customer service (46%). Only 12% of businesses consider user-generated content essential to improve customer engagement and less than 5% think the same of social networking sites such as Facebook. In fact, at least a third of those polled have no plans to use social media at all in their customer engagement initiative and only a quarter of companies feel that monitoring social networks is important.

Companies would do well to understand that customer engagement cannot be controlled within their own websites and that they should look to improve their customer interactions outside of their own web properties. With less than 50% of businesses having a complete picture of the different touch points with their customers, the majority of companies would be wise to invest time in researching further exactly where their customer interaction takes place. They may well find that blogs, social networks, and other social media make up an important part of their customer engagement for 2008.”

I’m not getting paid for my involvement, but I’ll put a hurting on someone if I don’t get a copy of the final report. 😉 That said, if customer engagement tactics–especially using social media–is something high on your list of priorities for 2008, you may want to ask Santa Claus to bring you a copy.