“In five years, marketers will be prized for their insight on customers, not their creativity,” said Brian Massey in 2013.
It has been more than five years, and this statement couldn't be more relevant today. Data has always been the be-all, end-all for marketers. One reason can be — marketers focus on data analytics to monitor customers' app activity, measure campaign performance, and optimize campaigns accordingly.
Data indeed helps you know customers’ preferred products, interests, locations, and more.
But is that enough? NO.
We have 5.32 billion mobile phone users and more than 4 billion consumers using online social media channels.
Today's customer is exposed to many mobile devices and online channels. It is easy for them to find their preferred products in a competitive market. This directly means there's no brand trust and zero loyalty. Brands need to understand that loyal customers prefer hyper-personalized experiences. To build such an experience, brands need to successfully engage customers across multiple channels while being extremely relevant across the purchase journey.
Data might be helping us understand what’s working and what’s not in a customer's journey. However, it fails to predict our customer’s actions or even their changing buying behavior on a human level. Thereby negating the chance of creating hyper-personalized customer interactions.
Using data, marketers are creating campaign-centric engagement strategies. This strategy lacks proactiveness and personalization, thus not building a unique customer experience.
This data-driven approach to engaging your customers is not accomodating customers' unique needs either. Today's customers expect brands to be more farsighted and interact based on app/website behavior and purchase decisions.
Insights can only solve these gaps in the data. It acts as the bridge between two or more data points and helps you connect them more meaningfully. Thus creating a customer-centric engagement. Yes, data is good - but insights are better.
It is time that you, marketers, move to a customer-centric approach; and adopt an insights-led engagement.
You're relentlessly focusing on creating tailored engagements for our customers, and the one power move that will give the brands the edge is Insights.
Insights-led engagement is the way forward as it helps bring back the customer in the customer engagement. With this approach, marketers can drive a seamless journey while engaging customers at different purchase stages. This approach helps marketers create a continuous loop where customer behavior, preferences, affinity, and patterns are analyzed to produce numerous real-time insights.
These insights cover three core aspects — customer, journey, and campaign.
Brands usually follows a typical plan -> run -> analyze -> course-correct. But they need to re-look at the engagement approach and move to a more customer-centric one. That's why the insights-led engagement approach as it considers the overall customer experience.
To ensure that this is the right path, we commissioned a report that helped us understand the pressing need to adopt an insights-led engagement and its impact on customer engagement statistics and business growth.
We now know that marketers want to dive deeper when understanding customers to have a competitive advantage. However, the chances of this happening from their current customer engagement tech stack might be holding them back.
Even before we understand the type of insights marketers are currently considering when mapping their customer journey, we want to know:
Let's dive a little deeper and see what our survey found.
Our first objective was to understand the customer engagement statistics from a marketing tech stack point of view.
The survey disclosed that 24.6% of marketers have a customer relationship management (CRM) platform as their primary customer engagement tech stack. Multichannel customer engagement platforms (CEP) and customer data platforms (CDP) closely follow with 20.6%.
Even when we considered the data based on filters such as industry verticals, organization roles, and organization size — we discovered the same answer — CRM is marketing executives' go-to tech stack. However, Media and Entertainment is one step ahead by employing a multichannel CEP as their core marketing tech stack with others supporting it.
When we examined the data from various region perspectives, we found that CRM is the most utilized tech stack for five regional markets.
Surprise, surprise! CRM seems the most preferred platform for the marketing folks; however, it is a platform like multichannel CEP these folks should employ.
It is understood that a platform like CRM provides data while analyzing customer interactions to enhance customer support and drive better sales. The platform offers a holistic understanding of a customer, but that is not enough. That's where an integrated CEP goes a step further. A CEP will help you create a 360-degree unified profile of your customer that will help you create omnichannel personalized experiences.
After getting the pulse on the most utilized platforms, our next concern to address was their top engagement challenges. And surprise, surprise.
34.5% of marketers disclosed that the lack of real-time analytics in their current marketing tech stack is a problem. Without data analysis, they can't create relevant, hyper-personalized journeys affecting the positive customer experience.
19.9% of marketers disclosed that a lack of understanding most effective marketing channels and the best time to send is their second problem.
The lack of real-time analytics is the top problem. But the crucial point to note is when building brand loyalty and making customers happy, the two concerns that marketers should focus on but are not is:
More customers expect brands to understand their buying patterns and provide personalized experiences accordingly. But with no means of unifying the customer data to make it actionable or use this actionable data to create personalized experiences, how can brands fulfill customers' expectations?
It goes back to the same argument — marketers need more actionable information on their customers to provide a customer experience that will be key to their marketing success. But unfortunately, for most, their existing marketing tech stack is not allowing them to dive deeper into the data.
Moving ahead — now that you know marketers' challenges with their existing marketing tech stack, the next thing to understand is the type of insights they observe. To create an insights-led customer engagement strategy, you need to understand insights on three levels: customer, their journey, and the online campaigns.
Let's begin with understanding what type of customer insights you observe regarding your day-to-day engagement statistics.
23.6% of marketers observe interest, choice, and affinity, which is basically to understand the most purchased product or viewed content. This is followed by the basic demographic data such as name and location with 22.2%.
Even though these insights will provide a fair idea of what your customers prefer, these are not enough. It would be best if you also were observing insights such as customer persona type categories; preferred channel, message, or time of communication; and probability to purchase or churn. These together will offer a holistic view of how your customers are and what they might do next to design a personalized experience that delights and engages your customers.
That's one of the many reasons why 32.1% of marketers are running their engagement campaigns based on previous campaigns' best-performing channels and time. But that is not the optimum approach. One of the best approaches is to consider customer behavior data to create segments, utilize multiple channels as a part of one customer journey, and send personalized communication. Our survey found that only 15% to 20% of marketers follow these marketing strategies.
Even though most preference is given to understanding customer preferences, behavior, and activity, it is equally crucial to understand their journey across channels. Some aspects like where your customer is most engaged or dropped off in the journey, their navigation on the app or website, and such acuities play a key role in personalized customer experiences.
After examining our report findings for journey insights, we found that 40.8% of marketers are giving priority to the most optimum path to conversion insight. The other two equally crucial insights such as drop-off moments and AHA/delightful moments had around 29% of marketers advocating them.
We understand the path to conversion can be one of the most important metrics as it allows us to predict business growth. However, knowing when your customers are dropping-off or which moment triggers their purchase decision can come in handy too.
Even if marketers are looking at conversion, they are still using digital channels to personalize communication and engage buyers.
27.8% of marketers use channels such as social platforms and mobile apps to send personalized product or content recommendations. Social media platforms usage is at its all-time high as more and more customers are moving toward such online channels, especially for its overall customer experience. Hence, even marketers are now working towards creating a personalized, mobile-friendly customer experience.
Around 24% of marketers also use these channels to share educative and informational updates and engage customers. However, effective utilization of these channels to create an omnichannel experience will not happen unless you send transactional updates, offers and discounts, and customer support.
It all comes back to the same point/strategies — going beyond observing conversions' paths regarding journey insights.
We know what marketers are learning more about their customers and the aspects of their journey they are monitoring. So what is the next thing to know? It is to understand how customers are engaging and reacting to your campaigns and communications. Also, what channels are being utilized to engage your customers and what customer experience is being offered.
When it comes to knowing how campaigns are working, 39.1% of marketers prefer to look at the most engaging customer segments. But is that enough? Absolutely, no.
The number of purchases, opens, clicks, content viewed (26.8%), and long-time impact on business (34.1) should be emphasized equally. Marketers must create a comprehensive strategy based on these customer experience insights for effective omnichannel campaigns.
Let's dive into the utilization and prioritization of different channels when running these campaigns and how each would affect the way you engage your customers.
Email tops the list of channel utilization with 18.1%. Social messaging chat apps follow next with 15.1% and SMS with 13.1%. It is intriguing to see that channels such as Youtube Ads (9.1%), social media platforms (10.9%), and in-app messaging (10.6%) got the lowest votes when it comes to engaging your customers.
37.3% of marketers prioritize channels for communication based on customer preferences (opt-in data). The compelling approach, i.e., using behavioral attributes to evaluate channel and time preferences, is only employed by 12.3% of marketers.
This discrepancy in channel utilization and prioritization can be because of the factors the marketers scrutinize regarding campaigns.
So we know what aspects of customer, journey, and campaign marketers scrutinize. The next factor to understand is whether you think observing these insights (including the ones currently not getting observed) impacts the business.
So we asked our respondents to tell us if they feel analyzing those mentioned above three types of insights impacts their business metrics or not. And guess what?
39.5% of marketers think that knowing and monitoring these are impactful for their business. Even though we've 33.9% of marketers are on the fence about the impact, we feel one reason can be is that they cannot monitor these insights easily.
Looking at the data from an organizational size perspective, we observed that mid-market and enterprise brands feel these insights impact business growth and how customers engage with the brand. However, 34% of SMBs are neutral about the impact. The reason can be that the focus of SMB brands is on customer acquisition as they focus on growing their customer base and not on retention/engagement.
Overall, we know that marketers feel gathering and monitoring these insights can be greatly helpful. Both digital-first and enterprise brands' marketers discern that gathering more in-depth information on customers can be crucial to the overall business growth. However, they are not gathering them. The reason behind this can be anything, but the one we found is that their current customer engagement tech stack is limited.
Yes, having reliable data on your existing customers is a good strategy. But what's even better is to have multiple insights that go deeper into their psyche. For any brand that's pushing to create customer loyalty and customer satisfaction, you need to:
However, all this and more is possible with insights as it will help you connect the missing dots (which otherwise data is not doing). With this customer engagement statistics report, we aim to help you, marketers across the globe, understand how crucial it is to know your customers on a deeper level. An accurate customer-centric approach needs to scrutinize customer and engagement data across different levels. We also commissioned regional reports to give marketers a regional perspective into their customer engagement statistics.
Find the Europe Edition of the same report here -> Get Europe Report Here
Find the India Edition of the same report here -> Get India Report Here
Find the North America Edition of the same report here -> COMING SOON!
Find the Middle East Edition of the same report here -> COMING SOON!
Find the Southeast Asia Edition of the same report here -> COMING SOON!
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