Dhruv Grewal, researcher at Centro de Comercio Detallista de Escuela de Negocios del Tecnológico de Monterrey
As part of their customer engagement (CE) marketing, firms use different platforms to interact with customers, in ways that go beyond purchases. Task-based CE strategies call for customers’ participation in structured, often incentivized tasks; experiential CE initiatives instead aim to stimulate pleasurable experiences for customers. But the optimal uses of these two strategies, in terms of improving customer engagement to produce more positive marketing outcomes, are unclear. With a meta-analysis and data from 395 samples, pertaining to 434,233 customers, the present study develops and tests a unifying framework of how to optimize investments in both two engagement strategies across different engagement platforms. On average, task-based initiatives are more effective in driving customer engagement, but the effects depend on the platform. If platforms support continuous or lean interactions, task-based initiatives are more effective; on platforms that encourage spot interactions, experiential initiatives are preferable. Three customer engagement dimensions (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral) in turn lead to positive marketing outcomes, though in ways that depend on the platforms’ interaction characteristics (intensity, richness, initiation) and differ across digital versus physical platforms. These results provide clear guidance for managers regarding how to plan their CE marketing activities to benefit both their firms and their customers.