May 15, 2017

Depending on where you are in life, the word engagement can take on different meanings. In my 20s, engagements were everyday, fun-filled events with friends. In my 30s, engagement meant I was ready to make a lifetime commitment to another person. As a media strategist, engagement is what I strive for from a client’s audience through a paid media buy. In all cases, engagement revolves around a relationship or connection between two things. The goal of engagement is usually to strengthen that relationship.

Let’s start at the beginning and the end. What do you consider success in the relationship? Awareness? Understanding? Fun? Marriage? How to measure success is a common area of misunderstanding. If goals and key performance indicators (indicators of success) are not discussed at the beginning of a campaign/relationship then there is sure to be disappointment or at least confusion at the end. The brand manager or marketing director might have one idea and the media buyer another. It is important for all involved parties – client, account service, creative director, media strategist and analyst – to discuss the options at the beginning of the campaign. We want the media campaign goals to align with the right message at the right time to help us achieve the corporate goals.

Next, what resources do you have to build the relationship? Money? Pictures? Information? Stories? Data? There are many terms thrown around in media that mean different things to different people. Content (native, sponsored, storytelling, brand), programmatic, first-, second- and third-party data are a few of those terms. While it would be nice if we had an industry dictionary we all used, I think the most important thing is the client, media buyer and publisher agree on what it means in their campaign.

Once everyone is on the same page with the goal, objective, KPI and creative strategy, it is time to start running the campaign and reviewing the analytics to see if the right path was chosen. If you are not meeting the agreed upon KPI, it is time to discuss if the current results hold value and to maintain course, adjust to a new KPI or if the creative strategy needs to change to get back on track to the original KPI. Just like in any relationship, it takes much communication to achieve successful engagement.