Information is the key to engagement

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The only thing I hate more than being handed something on the street by someone I don't know is being asked during my lunch break (usually en route to my favorite sandwich shop) to stop and save the world by signing a piece of paper on an overly chipper early-twenty-something's clipboard. This type of overt, intrusive marketing can turn me off to even the most benevolent cause or event being promoted.

On the contrary, a well-produced and well-delivered piece of interesting information can pique my interest in something about which I was previously unaware, apathetic or even mildly disinterested. This weekend I found myself watching episodes of HBO's 24/7, a weekly miniseries that profiles the training of two high-profile boxers for the final month leading up to their match, which, naturally, will be televised on HBO pay-per-view the day after the final episode.

For a DMNews column I'm putting together, I contacted a few industry sources last week about the importance of providing informational content to boost engagement with a brand and drive sales. It occurred to me while watching the episodes that HBO has obviously perfected this tactic because, while watching, I was unaware I was knee-deep in a marketing tool. Before Friday, I couldn't have picked Floyd Mayweather or Juan Manuel Marquez out of a lineup, but there I was, completely engaged with both men and even making predictions as to who would win the fight and why, all due to the interesting content being provided.

Had I known that my Saturday night plans were going to fall through as they did, I most certainly would have paid for the fight, something I have never done before, and it would have been due completely to content that I thought, at first, was just entertainment for entertainment's sake. 

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