This week we saw photos of the Facebook founder and his girlfriend with their new puppy—commuting to work, playing on the hardwood, skittering across the parking lot. The puppy shots put a nice exclamation point on a fact that we already knew: Facebook has won. Its founder has moved on to more genteel pursuits.
For years we had heard how communities were going to be the new way forward for marketers. And indeed, as sites began to allow ratings and comments, great strides toward engaging consumers were made. Looking back even two years, it’s almost comical how many well-intentioned people made commitments to technologies they thought would create consumer “engagement.”
Those days are long behind us. The platforms of choice have reached a level of, dare I say, maturity: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yelp, WordPress, and so on. Somewhere in the mix, people are finding a combination of commerce, sharing, and socializing that is right for them. That’s the engagement.
In the past, firms invested in features and functionality to try to help consumers have a richer experience with their brands. It turns out that what consumers want is not whatever flavor of community a company is pedaling. If the enterprise has a good Facebook presence, that’s fine. But consumers want products to work as expected. They want companies to be true to their word. Without that, no amount of community building matters.
Marshall McLuhan said, “If it works, it’s obsolete.” When it comes to engagement, technologies will come and go. When it comes to loyalty, delivering on your product’s promise is the only way to ensure a happy customer. Aw, shucks, go ahead and use my personal information to sell ads—that puppy is so darned cute.