One of the real hot topics right now is customer engagement- and it's a nice notion that the customer wants to be as informed as possible but it's not necessarily true.
In the old days we couldn't accurately get information on customer behavior, all you knew is "did a transaction take place or not". Now that we can measure online behavior we can track this type of engagement and companies are doing everything they can to create more, more, more. Well sometimes they can get a little carried away. Sometimes in the goal of trying to put a lot of content out there: "hey customer do you like this" , "how about you take this survey", "would you mind telling me what you think about this"– it actually upsets customers.
Sometimes you just want to find out what the weather is going to be like this weekend and you don't want to be engaged and are defiantly not looking for a relationship. Give me what I want right now, make it convenient and if you do that well then maybe we will have a relationship in the longer term.
The general problem here is that companies are throwing a lot of new technology and ads at customers in hope of short term gain- getting them to buy something now as opposed to thinking about the long-term relationship. I think we should start at finding out what the consumer needs are. Maybe this time they just want a piece of information and next time maybe they want to browse around so you should give them some alternative products to think about. But if you can look at the basic trail that people follow, this has become a lot easier to do, we can figure out if we just serve up the good content right away or if we should make them wait for it.
I believe that companies need to think more strategically and allow for segmentation as it will allow for greater understanding and more targeted optimization practices. Also, things such as Google Analytics multi-channel funnels are a great way to start gaining more understanding of behavior across your touch points.
I would love to hear your thoughts....