customerIf we offered you five dollars to name the most recent advertisement you saw or heard, could you do it?

In all likelihood, the answer is “no.”

That’s not a surprise. In the digital age, we’re constantly inundated with advertisements to such a high degree that we’ve developed powerful filters against them. If a company is merely broadcasting to us, they’re not going to garner our attention, let alone generate a real emotional reaction that will trigger any change in behavior.

The difference between merely broadcasting your message and actually engaging a customer is as stark as the difference between night and day. And in 2013, the more you engage your customer, the more you stand out from a crowd of companies merely shouting their message and hoping to get heard.

Engaging Customers by Defying Expectations

One of the most powerful ways to engage a customer is to encounter them in an unexpected context. Steve Randazzo found that out when he brought a motor coach directly to his customers’ buildings for meetings!

Randazzo found that, with a motor coach acting as a trade show on wheels, you gain the power to “change behaviors and emotionally connect customers to your brand.” The motor coach acts a break in the regular context of daily office life.

Contrast that with how customers react to a regular trade show. Within the context of a trade show, your competition increases and your message is essentially reduced to that of a “broadcast.” By failing to break out of the usual context, you simply don’t get heard.

Creating New Context Through Hospitality

Have you ever looked at a co-worker differently once you saw them outside of the context of the office? In all likelihood, you form a deeper emotional connection with them simply because the context changed.

In B2B marketing, you can take advantage of this effect by hosting VIP Experiences. This gets your customers out of the office and helps them to see you in a new situation. Simply changing the location puts the relationship in a different context and helps drive an emotional reaction.

Broadcasting vs. Engaging

Whether you’re simply broadcasting your message or trying to engage your customer, chances are that your branding message will stay the same. What changes is how the customer receives that message. Will they remember you because you took the time to step away from the crowd and engage them in a new setting? Or will they simply put you in their “spam filter” and move on with their day? That’s the difference between broadcasting and engaging.