Beyond Trends: The five core principles shaping engagement marketing


Learn how to build deeper connections with your audience and craft impactful campaigns. Discover the 5 principles of successful engagement marketing. 


These five principles intersect in ways that profoundly shape how brands connect with their consumers and provide a roadmap for engagement marketers looking to deepen connections with customers and audiences.


1. Personalisation 

The principle of personalisation lies at the heart of contemporary engagement marketing. Ana Robalo, Chief Operational Officer at MCI Brazil, highlights the critical nature of this approach: “Focus on customer experience, prioritising the customer journey at every touchpoint. This helps to build loyalty and differentiates the corporation from its competitors.”  

Oscar Cerezales, MCI’s Global Chief Strategy Officer agrees, adding that an understanding of cross-cultural nuances is critical: “Richard Lewis models can be useful to determine communication preferences and behaviours (linear-active, multi-active or reactive communication patterns).” 

This principle underscores the necessity for brands to harness data and insights to tailor their messaging and offers, making every consumer feel uniquely valued.

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2. Convenience 

This principle is about making interactions as effortless as possible, from discovery through to purchase and beyond. 

A year before ChatGPT launched, CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman tweeted: "Move faster. Slowness anywhere justifies slowness everywhere... Moving fast compounds so much more than people realise." He later qualified that, posting: “You can (and should) be extremely thoughtful and still move fast. The difference is active thinking vs. passive thinking (which is very often just an excuse to defer).” 

Tech developments, like large language models (LLMs), have accelerated consumers' lives. They are doing more than ever in the time available to them.  

Oscar advocates for strategies that transcend traditional content creation, which can include using LLMs as tools to provide agility. But he adds: “There is a need to cut through the noise and look for points of difference, highlighting the role of micro-influencers and face-to-face activations in simplifying the consumer journey.  


3. Transparency and social impact 

The demand for transparency and a tangible social impact reflects a broader shift in consumer values.  

Sustainability has to be more than a word we use to advertise our compliance in a world where others are setting the trend and taking the lead. Consumers seek authentic connections with brands that share their values and are transparent about their practices.  

This principle is not just about communication but about embodying these values in every facet of business operations. As Erin Fuller, Chief Strategy Officer at MCI USA, notes, “Each year, we worry about the ongoing expansion of marketing channels where people get content,” Erin adds. “I think associations need to recognise their unique ability to influence community behaviour, via showcasing members who can be trusted advisors to the community at large.” 

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5. Creativity 

Creativity is an indispensable thread in engagement marketing and event management, weaving together innovative experiences that resonate deeply with audiences. Sylvia Andre, Chief Creativity Officer at MCI, articulates the transformative power of creative thinking in the domain of consumer engagement. "Creative thinking is about taking the mundane, the ordinary, and the expected and transforming it into something extraordinary. It is about cultivating a connection with the audience and helping them feel represented and understood. As a result, creative thinking leads to higher levels of engagement," she explains, offering the following advice for building creativity into engagement marketing processes. 


Innovate with agility 

At the heart of the creative principle lies the agility to innovate. Creativity in engagement marketing and events is not simply about generating new ideas; it's about implementing these ideas with agility and precision. "At the heart of creative problem-solving lies a mindset that values experimentation, exploration, and intelligent risk-taking," Sylvia observes. This approach requires marketers to embrace the unknown, to step outside their comfort zones, and to foster a culture where curiosity and intelligent risk-taking drive innovation. By doing so, brands can develop groundbreaking solutions that not only engage their audiences but also distinguish them from the competition. 

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Build a partnership ecosystem 

Creativity flourishes in collaborative environments. MCI's approach to harnessing creativity involves building a partnership ecosystem that leverages industry expertise. This ecosystem provides a fertile ground for cross-pollination of ideas, allowing brands to access diverse perspectives and insights. By fostering partnerships that extend across industries and disciplines, MCI catalyses innovation that is both inclusive and impactful. 


Access industry expertise

Accessing industry expertise is pivotal to nurturing creativity and ensuring that innovative solutions are grounded in deep market understanding. Sylvia highlights the role of a culture of curiosity in achieving this: "A business with a culture of curiosity empowers its people to push the boundaries of what is possible, to think beyond traditional constraints, identify unmet needs, uncover market gaps, and develop unique value propositions." This environment not only facilitates creative problem-solving but also encourages teams to draw upon a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise, enriching the creative process and ensuring that solutions are both innovative and relevant. 

Creativity is the linchpin of effective engagement marketing and event management. Through the principles of innovating with agility, building a partnership ecosystem, and accessing industry expertise, brands can harness the full potential of creative thinking to forge connections that are both deep and enduring. Sylvia's insights underscore the necessity for brands to place creativity at the core of their strategies, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and engaging consumers in ways that are both meaningful and memorable. 

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Integrating the principles 

Adapting strategy to incorporate personalisation, convenience, transparency, the omnichannel approach, and, crucially, creativity, allows engagement marketers to establish deeper and more significant connections with their clients’ audiences.  

Personalisation and convenience serve as the foundation, ensuring that consumer interactions are as meaningful and effortless as possible. Transparency and a commitment to social impact build trust and align brands with the values of their consumers, while the omnichannel approach ensures a seamless and cohesive brand experience across all platforms. 

Creativity acts as the catalyst in this equation, driving innovation and ensuring that engagement strategies are not only effective but also memorable and impactful. By embracing agility in innovation, building robust partnership ecosystems, and leveraging industry expertise, brands can transcend traditional marketing constraints. These principles, when harmonised, empower marketers to craft strategies that not only meet the current needs of consumers but are also resilient and adaptable to future changes. 

The future of engagement marketing lies in the ability of brands to seamlessly integrate these principles, thereby creating campaigns that are personalised, convenient, transparent, and creatively inspired. This integrated approach ensures that brands can navigate the complexities of consumer engagement, setting new standards in marketing and redefining the relationship between brands and their consumers. 

Let’s work together. Contact MCI to find out more about our engagement marketing solutions for your brand, organisation or association. 

Sylvia André - Chief Creativity Officer, mci group