Alan Moore on Engagement Marketing

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Alan Moore discusses Engagement Marketing, communties, Web 2.0 etc



"Where Interruptive Marketing attempted to change belief through image building, Engagement Marketing changes behaviour through involvement. Engagement Marketing will involve the customer way beyond the short term cycles of current interruptive marketing campaigns." (

Print Interview

Interview by Henry Jenkins of Convergence Culture, at


HJ: Your Bio in the book describes you as a specialist in Engagement Marketing, which begs the question -- what is Engagement Marketing and for that matter, what constitutes engagement from your point of view?

AM: Engagement marketing is a very broad term, and purposefully so. At its heart, is the insight that human beings are highly social animals, and have an innate need to communicate and interact. Therefore, any engagement marketing initiative must allow for two-way flows of information and communication. We believe, people embrace what they create.

And why is this important? Because in advanced economies the values of society and the individual change. AT the heart of this is the key issue around identity and belonging. We have always had community. Pre- industrialization, we were tied to our communities by geography, tradition, the state and birthright. External forces shaped our identity. However, in a post-modern world we can have many selves, as we undertake a quest for self identity.

This is described as Psychological Self-Determination the ability to exert control over the most important aspects of ones life, especially personal identity, which has become the source of meaning and purpose in a life no longer dictated by geography or tradition.

The Community Generation, shun traditional organizations in favor of unmediated relationship to the things they care about. The Community Generation, seek and expect direct participation and influence. They possess the skills to lead, confer and discuss. These people are not watching television and have grown up in a world of search and two-way flows of communication.

Going further Engagement Marketing is premised upon: transparency - interactivity - immediacy - facilitation - engagement - co-creation - collaboration - experience and trust these words define the migration form mass media to social media.

The explosion of: Myspace, YouTube, Second Life and other MMORPG's, Citizen Journalism, Wicki's and Swicki's, TV formats like Pop Idol, or Jamies School Dinners, Blogs, Social search, The Guinness visitor centre in Dublin or the Eden project in Cornwall UK, mobile games like Superstable or Twins, or, new business platforms like all demonstrate a new socio-economic model, where engagement sits at the epicentre.

For example Al Gore believes Current TV's hybrid of digital platforms and broadcasting can help re-engage young people with politics and the media. A third of its schedule is created by its mainly 18 to 34-year-old audience with digital video cameras and desktop editing software. Al Gore says It's not political, it's not ideological. You get a cornucopia of points of view and fresh perspectives that force people in rigid frameworks to reassess everything.

You can load up your 15 min film. The community gets to vote if it should be broadcast on cable and the creator gets $1000

Interestingly it's a different set of incentives both personal and commercial.

So reputation begins to play an important role here. And will increasingly do so.

I see this process as having value, not only in a commercial context, but also in education, civil society, science and politics.

Engagement Marketing could help sell a product, an industry, a region, combat a social issue. It can attract and deploy the collective intelligence of the many people.

Engagement Marketing is built upon the power of the meritocracy of ideas, and the strategic combinations of different media to propel that idea into the world, stimulating and facilitating the involvement of its audience to a commonly shared goal.

Engagement Marketing is about connecting large or small communities with engaging content to a commercial or social agenda. Rather than boiling everything down to a unique selling proposition, Engagement Marketing creates bigger ideas that emotionally engage its audience, who have a desire to participate.

Rather than focus on the one single proposition which would be a manufactured communication strategy, Engagement Marketing is built upon the fundamental notion of shared experience, something which 'interruptive' communications cannot do.

Mass media, presumes, only one thing of its audience that they are passive and they will consume as much as marketers can persuade them to.

Mass media is cold media, its push, its myopic, its about as relevant to the 21st Century as First World War military strategy. The age of set piece competition is over.

If the 20th Century was about managing efficiencies, then the 21st Century will be about managing experiences.

In the book you write, "Conventional marketing and advertising is the silent movies of the 21st century. The proletarian nature of the internet, blogging, moblogging, the mobile phone, interactive TV, media choice and the PVR, the rich flows of information and the reach of that information, have all contributed to bringing an era to an end." A bold claim, indeed! I'd love to see you unpack this for us a bit more. Why is this era ending? What evidence can you offer that this era has ended?

"TV advertising is broken, putting $67b up for grabs, which explains why google spent a billion and change on an online video startup." Stated Bob Garfield in a Wired article just before Christmas. He cites "evolution of dance," which has got nearly 35 million views in six months on YouTube, as evidence that conventional media is in meltdown. These numbers are impossible in a conventional media world.

P&G bankrolled commercial television, so when Jim Stengel CMO for P&G said:

- In 1965, 80 per cent of adults in the US could be reached with three 60 second TV spots. In 2002, it required 117 prime time commercials to produce the same result. In the early 1960s, typical day-after recall scores for 60 second prime time TV commercials were about 40 per cent and nearly half of this was elicited without any memory aid. Currently a typical day-after recall score for a 30 second spot is about 18- 20 per cent and virtually no one is able to provide any form of playback without some form of recall stimulate. The number of brands and messages competing for consumer attention has exploded, and consumers have changed dramatically. They show an increasing lack of tolerance for marketing that is irrelevant to their lives, or that is completely unsolicited. Traditional marketing methods are diluted by a hurried lifestyle, overwhelmed by technology, and often deliberately ignored.

One has to start to question the value of traditional marketing communications, which is further supported by Glen L.Urban. Professor at the Sloan School of Management. MIT, who argues that:

- Marketing is changing from the push strategies so well suited to the last 50 years of mass media to trust-based strategies that are essential in a time of information empowerment." (