Levi’s® and Fidelity both love engagement

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This blog post comes to you live from the 2008 Forrester Marketing Forum, held April 8-9, 2008, in Los Angeles. The purpose of the event is to take a snapshot of the state of the art in successful marketing. The theme of the 2008 event is building great brands through effective engagement — or experiences that captivate your audience.

In an afternoon session April 8, Forrester Senior Analyst Mary Beth Kemp asks, What does engagement really look like? How do you measure engagement?

Patrice Varni, vice president, eCommerce, for Levi’s®, discusses work her company did with my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish, to create the 501® Design Challenge community site. The purpose of the Design Challenge, which ran over a five-week period in 2008, was to build engagement with a female demographic aged 18-34. Levi’s® announced the launch of the challenge on an episode of “Project Runway.” On the community site, anyone could submit an original fashion design using Levi’s® products for an online community to judge throughout the course of the campaign. The first-place winner, selected in late February, will have a design produced and sold on levi.com. According to Patrice, enthusiasts provided more than 2,000 design submissions, and the community saw more than 134,000 unique visitors and 19,000 registrants, two thirds of which were women in the 18-34 age range. The site generated scores of blogs, each of which generated more brand awareness.

Sean Belka, senior vice president at Fidelity, worries about engaging a customer thoughout her lifetime — literally. His challenge is to create services relevant to consumers through their life stages, such as investing for short-term financial gain or saving for retirement. In short, he wants Fidelity customers to work with Fidelity to meet today’s financial needs while planning for tomorrow.

Fidelity uses a multi-channel educational approach, ranging from the use of interactive video on Fidelity.com, to interactions with phone representatives, in order to “own” the lifetime customer experience. Fidelity also knows when to ramp up the level of engagement at critical times in one’s life. Example: he discusses Fidelity’s Retirement Readiness Index to help customers understand whether they are on track for retirement. What happens if a consumer is not on track? Fidelity has what can best be described (my words) as an “engagement intervention,” through which Fidelity reps reach out to customers and let them know they need to adjust their savings habits to plan more carefully for retirement.

The Fidelity engagement porfolio also includes social media tactics, too, like blogs and widgets.

Mary Beth asks Sean and Patrice what marketers should measure to track engagement effectively.

Patrice suggests using behaviorial targeting tools to measure the quality of engagement and brand perception. Sean discusses the use of tools to measure how well people are planning for retirement, like its Retirement Readiness Index.

Fidelity and Levi’s® might seem like completely different companies, but they share a passion for engagment and an ability to make engagement succeed, online and offline.

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