Why aren’t you using the 5 I’s?

Why aren’t you using the 5 I’s for your online digital marketing? If you aren’t aware of what the 5 I’s are, then boy are you in the right place! As an experienced digital marketing firm, we are a big believer in this classic marketing model. While it is over a decade old, which makes it almost a dinosaur if you asked a millennial, the concept remains true in the current marketplace.

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What are the 5 I’s?

The marketing research company Forrester has long been known for its studies, analysis, and insights. In 2007 they created the idea of the 5 I’s as a measure of engagement. Interestingly enough, there are only four terms used in this measurement: involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence. The 5th “I” has to do with the individual.

Forrester’s research leads to the conclusion that the traditional marketing funnel had died in the early 2000s and that engagement was now a primary metric. The 5 I’s look specifically at the total level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence an individual has with a specific brand over time to analyze total engagement with the brand.

Using the 5 I’s in Digital Marketing

While a lot of things change in digital marketing just in a single calendar year, other concepts, such as the 5 I’s, are still relevant because the underlying concept has not changed. Of course, the challenge then becomes in properly assessing changes in the digital landscape in relation to the I’s.

Overall, the idea of the 5 I’s should be used to audit your existing digital marketing strategy. Much like other tenets of marketing, such as the 10 C’s of Marketing, they provide a useful framework to compare against your strategy. This is helpful when looking for holes and confirming that the strategy is well-rounded and covering the most important bases.

Involvement –

What is being done to get a customer involved with the brand, business, or a specific application? How are you generating involvement? It is important to determine that a person is present and involved, which can be measured with common metrics such as traffic, page views, and time on page.

Interaction –

Different from involvement, this area focuses on specific actions, typically those which are categorized as a conversion of some type. An example would be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter or e-mail list, following a social media platform, commenting on a blog or social post, etc. This is measured based on customer interaction metrics.

Intimacy –

What level of sentiment is being exhibited by the consumer within their interactions? For example, when a review is left, is it one that is bare bones and devoid of emotion? Or is there greater meaning and more shared? This can be applied to posts, comments, or any level of interaction with depth and is measured as qualitative interactions and should focus on brand awareness and sentiment.

Influence –

What is the chance that this consumer will recommend your product or services to others? This can be analyzed with metrics such as online mentions, share rate, reviews, or from using surveys for feedback.

Individual –

The reason it is done on an individual basis rather than groups is to provide a higher level of accuracy. Engagement should be focused on the individual versus trying to engage with larger groups or communities because engagement has become much more personalized. No longer is “general” personalization considered anything special. Consumers want brands to speak to them as individuals and not a demographic.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the 5 I’s are a valuable concept, which all digital marketers should be aware of. Much like other viable tenets such as the 10 C’s, you should use the 5 I’s when auditing your strategy to ensure maximum effectiveness. Are you engaging your audience as much as possible? Maximum effectiveness yields greater profits, and at the end of the day, that is what it’s all about.


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