Engagement is how we reach consumers in our consumer-centric world. They are more knowledgeable, and interested in knowing, than ever before in the history of civilization. We are all hyper-connected in a world where we will have a “smart-everything” in due time. Personal selling is a little more difficult today, and to succeed we need to adapt and be consumer-centric ourselves. In this case, engagement is king when we want to reach.

The science of engagement is easily understood using the Pareto principle. This is the 80/20 rule we see in sales, economics, math, etc. Engagement is the key tactic in sales because it is how we go about reaching consumers. Otherwise we are ignored, or fast-forwarded, or simply disregarded. We are told time and time again that 80% of our sales come from 20% of our customers. This is possibly true, but when we consider engagement we need to start using the 80-20 rule differently. We need to go a step further and really see what 20% this 80% needs to come from. The 80% of engagement has come from the wrong place this entire time.

Engagement Should NOT be About You

When we engage with consumers we spend 80% of our time talking about ourselves. We talk about our people, we talk about our projects, and we talk about our ideas. We always do our best to sell ourselves. We are the brightest. We have the best reputation. We have the most important clients. Engaging with a consumer is not about selling yourself by telling your story. Consumers want more from you, but they do not necessarily want to know more about you.

We are all a part of a world where mass marketing has changed into micromarketing. There is a new model of targeting, and engagement is the way to reach any consumer. We work with various screens and it really is all about them – the consumer – now. Making the 80% of engagement about you is telling a story consumers are not interested in hearing. Who you’ve worked with, what you’ve done, the greatness of your name is irrelevant if your story does not give consumers the answers they are looking for. The 80% of engagement is about them.

Engagement is 80% About the Consumer

Engagement is necessary in our consumer-centric world. We are all micromarketers. We live in a “people-based” marketing landscape. Everything is customer-centric. We target the narrow. If we take the Pareto principle, then the 80% of engagement – the 80% of the sale – needs to be about the consumer. They are looking for answers and have a world of knowledge at their fingertips. They can leave you instantly without fear of losing. Telling your story too much does not give them what they are looking for. Consumers are looking for the better version of themselves all the time. If they become their better version because of you then you have allotted your 80% correctly. They will read your content if it answers their questions. They will interact with you on social media if you are about them. They will follow you if you care, respond, and show interest in them. Consumers have more options than most of them realize, so if you concentrate too much on selling yourself they will probably lose faith and go elsewhere.

Engagement is a process of interaction. It’s a process of caring. It’s a matter of noticing and identifying a need and providing a solution. Engagement indirectly answers questions. It creates an avenue for growth. Engagement is about the consumer. If you need a quantitative way to measure this engagement, then the 80/20 rule is enough. 80% of engagement should be about the consumer. Talk about them. Ask questions about them. Answer questions about them. Give them solutions. Make it about them. Sell yourself second. In the world of engagement the 20% about you will easily stem from the 80% about them.


Engagement is the new selling. Sales use the Pareto principle of 80/20. In the science of engagement the Pareto principle applies as well, but we have used it all wrong. 80% of engagement needs to focus on the consumer, not on us. We cannot spend too much time selling ourselves and too little time providing value based on answers to their questions. We don’t need to strategize too much about our 20%. In the 80% about the consumer our 20% will shine.

Engagement is a matter of providing value and value is about the consumer, not about the firm. How have you provided value using the 80/20 rule and focusing on the consumer? Please share your thoughts.

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