According to a book I recently read, only 9% of the engagement (ROI) marketers hope for happens online. The other 91%? It happens in person to person communication.
Despite this reality, many marketers/content strategists/managing editors (sometimes, myself included) pour much of their time and energy into only online communication, all the while neglecting the most important sphere of communication: real, interactive, relationships formed between real people.
Does this mean "start a focus group and start asking them questions about your products and/or services?" Possibly, but mostly, no. It actually means: start forming real connections with real people, where you meaningfully ask about their hopes, fears, dreams, passions, desires, frustrations, and triumphs—even participate in their lives!—and from there, see how you as a marketer (who is also a person) might partner with them to do work that affects proactive change.
It might be a lot of work and might not provide the immediate rewards you're clutching for (money/attention/whatever), but it will slowly and steadily establish the foundations of a tribe that is led by passionate people connected with and loyal to you and the organization or company you represent.
And that's very valuable indeed.