Monday, April 09, 2007

Time to Change? 

Most PR practitioners were trained in a marketer's model summarized be the acronym, AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, and sometimes, S for Satisfaction). I've begun to wonder, as others have, whether this model should be changed to reflect engagement with individuals. An engagement model would better reflect the role of blogs and bulletin boards in the PR and marketing mix.

The challenge with an engagement model is that engagement is positive and negative. One can write good reviews of your product and service or bad ones. But the cumulative effect of opinions has direct influence on purchase decisions of others and disrupts the AIDA model. Increasingly, as a PR practitioners, we spend as much time worrying about blogs as we do about gaining exposure. For example, we have a client that suffers from continuous negative comments in blogs. The comments contribute to a general impression that its service is poor. What this situation needs is direct engagement with bloggers outside of the AIDA model in order for the AIDA model to work. Engagement is in the form of direct one-to-one outreach to critics to respond to criticisms, alleviate concerns and perhaps, gain or keep them as customers. If successful, engagement may result in positive comments at some point that balance the negative and provide a better environment.

Others have described the role of engagement online in greater detail. I'm still getting there. But it seems to me that PR and customer service should be leading the way in changing the model.


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