Meet James. He is getting engaged and would like to purchase a home-gardening kit for his new home. Like most consumers, James expects a seamless shopping experience with his favorite home utility brand. He also wants his experience to be relevant to his needs. Let’s see how James would interact with his favorite brand and what the brand expects its customer’s purchase to look like:
Although the customer’s interaction with the brand’s campaign apparently looks aligned and logical, marketers at the home-utility brand are still wondering what went wrong and why did James uninstall the app after a single purchase?
The marketers at the brand followed a standard flow of campaigns that was not personalized to James’ journey.
Here’s what went wrong:
- James felt overwhelmed by one message showing up in his inbox every second day for 14 days.
- Nobody keeps on going around buying and collecting home-gardening kits. So the nature of the product needs to be kept in mind when suggesting similar products to buy.
- James doesn’t check his phone often.
Modern marketers collect data, but most of them aren’t able to derive important, actionable insights because their current engagement platform isn’t best suited for gathering insights. Know that the path to purchase for a customer is not often linear and isn’t necessarily a seamless experience. A recent Gartner report states that 63% of marketers still struggle to connect the dots across channels to create a personalised customer experience.
Businesses driven by just data make decisions based primarily on the face value of the data available. While the data shows what is working with your customers, it fails to help you predict customer actions or customise campaigns based on changing customer preferences/behavior.
This is where insights-led engagement comes into play.
We recently did a study to gauge the pulse of 2000 marketers across the United Kingdom and Germany and their readiness to adapt to the insights-led future of customer engagement.
Today’s Customer Engagement Landscape
Before we jump into the data insights that marketers are currently gathering, let’s understand their current customer engagement tech stack and the challenges they face with meaningfully engaging with their customers.
Marketers prefer a customer engagement platform (CEP) or a customer relationship management (CRM) in their tech stack.
Our study indicates that the majority (around 44%) of marketers either use a multichannel CEP or a CRM platform. This is followed by 21.8% of marketers using a Customer Data Platform (CDP).
Breaking the survey responses into different industry verticals, we see that a large chunk of marketers from the Banking and Financial Services as well as Consumer Shopping use a CRM, while the majority in Ed-Tech, Telecom, and Grocery marketers rely on a CEP.
When looking at the most used platform, the results are split between CRMs, CDPs, and CEPs.
Why choose a multichannel Customer Engagement Platform over your CRM?
Some of the engagement challenges that marketers face
Lack of real-time analytics
Around 36% of the respondents stated that getting real-time analytics is their top challenge, followed by an inability to personalise the customer experience across channels (18.6%).
Siloed data leads to disjointed customer experiences
The majority stated that they are either separately planning and executing engagement or centrally planning and independently executing. Only a tiny percentage of those surveyed report that their planning and execution are centrally aligned. This shows there is a disjointed data flow across the email, social, mobile and various other teams involved in engaging with the customer, leading to non-consistent experiences for their customers.
23.7% of European marketers currently measure customer demographic data insights, followed by 21% who measure probability to purchase or churn. This deduction holds true for both the UK and Germany where around 23% of Brits and 25% of Germans rely on such demographics.
Grouping customers based on simple demographic information can lead to brands making blanket assumptions about customers. An example of this would be the common perception that customers in the 65+ age demographic may be technologically challenged. However, in reality, this group now is the largest growing sector of casual internet customers. Focussing on behavioural data and predicting customer actions is imperative to engaging with customers effectively.
Moreover, around 31% of respondents now use machine learning to analyse customer data and use that data to set automated communications. This might be the best trend for brands to optimise engagement, but they must learn to move beyond a campaign-centric approach of just looking at the best performing channels or time. Marketers need to build personalised engagement campaigns on behavioural data and customer journeys.
A promising sign is that almost one third (30.4%) of the surveyed marketers personalise based on customer attributes like language, preferred channel and content affinity, followed by personalisation based on purchase recency, frequency, and how much they spent on the brand (at 23.4%).
Insights on customer journey
The majority (40.1%) of European marketers measure the optimal path to conversion; this remains a priority for both managers and C-suite.
Belief in personalisation has not waivered
Most European marketers (26.8%) utilise digital channels to send personalised product recommendations, followed by updates to educate customers (25.6%).
Insights on campaigns
Almost 39% of marketers measure their most engaging customer segments; one-third measure the long-term impact campaigns have on their business.
Email and SMS remain the most used digital channels across all industries and company sizes: most (17.9%) choose email, followed by SMS (13.6%). Across all industries, the usage of Youtube ads comes in as the least-used channel at only 8%.
What does it mean for you?
If you’re a marketer who relies on an insights-led approach and engages with your customers more meaningfully, it will boost customer retention and improve loyalty in the long term.
However, if you’re in the process of pivoting to an insight-led approach, then reshaping the customer engagement approach to an insights-led one isn’t always an easy feat. Let’s look at some best practices to help you smoothly transition to an Insights-led customer engagement approach.
1. Don’t rush into omnichannel engagement
Customer purchase paths have evolved into a labyrinth of touchpoints. According to recent Google research, a typical customer journey has 20-500 touchpoints, varying with the complexity of the purchase.
Adding channels should be dealt with by looking at the data. Otherwise, you may send out disjointed cross-channel communications to customers, which can be an expensive mistake. Go back and review your customer opt-ins, see what channels they’ve opted in for, and work on adopting those channels into your omnichannel strategy gradually. Customers have higher expectations for their journey with the brands they shop with and expect a seamless experience across channels.
2. Measure what matters
Marketers must learn to move away from an “all data is good data” mindset. You know what’s important and what’s not, but most often your tool holds you back and doesn’t give you the insight you need, forcing you to compromise on customer experience.
3. Strive to build a higher expectation of personalisation
There were 2.5 billion visits to Google Account pages to adjust ad personalisation preferences in the past year. With the increased adoption of digital channels and the resulting increase in the inflow of data, delivering meaningful personalisation is posing a new challenge to marketers.
Personalisation efforts often fail due to:
- Not having enough data to drive meaningful personalised interaction
- Confusion around the customer journey
- Siloed data across different teams
- Forgetting to consistently optimise
- Using too much personalisation or bombarding your audience
Understanding your customer holistically will require you to look at them from three different aspects and collect insights based on:
- Customer Attributes: customer interest; choice; preferred category; their probability to purchase, go dormant, or churn; preferred channel of communication; as well as demographic data.
- Journey Insights: Moments/paths leading to conversions, drop-offs, and churns
- Campaign Insights: Segments that actively engage and ones that don’t; campaigns that led to the most churn; campaigns that led to the most revenues; what content was most viewed; and which campaigns saw the highest interaction.
4. Move beyond campaign-centric engagement
Campaign-centric engagement leads marketers to plan campaigns based on a hypothesis of how the customer might behave and segment a broad cohort of customers. This often creates irrelevant campaign communications. A campaign-centric approach is often the result of a lack of insights, which leads marketers to skip a major step of analysing customer behaviour and journeys and creating a campaign in the dark.
A customer-centric approach helps marketers leverage AI to move beyond basic lifecycle campaigns to those based on deeper customer insights and predictions. Adopting a customer-centric, insights-led approach also ensures that marketers measure the long term impact of multiple programs to improve retention revenue and continuously optimise engagement.
5. Elevate your tech stack
A customer-centric engagement platform helps marketers gain a holistic view of the customer, their purchase path across channels, real-time AI-driven predictive analytics, and much more. To be able to meaningfully personalise and have an impact on the customer’s lifetime value (LTV), see if your current marketing tech stack has these capabilities. It can do a lot more for you if you invest in the technology and ask the right questions when evaluating an offering for your customer engagement needs.
How MoEngage can help in your insight-led engagement journey
Insights can transform data into a delightful customer experience. If you have been struggling to connect the dots this far, insights will help you connect the dots of customer behaviour and drive meaningful actions. Modern Customer Engagement platforms such as MoEngage go one step further and help you automate the process of insights-led engagement, helping you uncover insights like who likes your brand and who doesn’t, what your customers really want, and how you can create a delightful customer experience journey.