Shalini Devji-Jethwa, Marketing Director at MoEngage, highlights seven key industry trends that marketers need to watch to stay ahead of the competition.
Giving a great customer service to every customer is easy as long as they all want the same thing. In the age of personalization, delivering that perfect service is hard, even as those customers’ expectations continue to rise. Of course you are already on this journey with your customers, so here we shine a spotlight on the key trends impacting customer engagement and what those trends mean for optimizing engagement strategies for 2023 and beyond.
Customer expectations are higher than ever
Our “Personalization Pulse Check 2023” report showed that 40% of European consumers engage with a brand at least two to three times before purchasing from them. Though they use different channels, they still expect a consistent experience across all these varying touchpoints. An omnichannel experience ensures that the brand is present at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey. With new channels, such as Tiktok, seeing increased usage – recent research from Retail Technology Show suggested TikTok has now overtaken Facebook and Instagram as the UK’s most shopped social channel, as well as increased use of channels like WhatsApp and chatbots, brands must unify customer experiences across all digital and physical channels.
Customers expect brands to know them in the right way
MoEngage’s own European consumer survey shows that consumers aren't satisfied with brands personalizing based just on name or location alone; over half (53%) expect them to demonstrate they know them personally and base personalization efforts on deeper insights like their interests, individual preferences and purchase history. To do this brands need to evolve to insights-led engagement, requiring them to use customer data to join the dots between data sets and customer behaviors to drive growth, a topic we cover in our recent report with Amplitude.
Customer engagement is starting to benefit from predictive analytics
Brands that embrace predictive analytics can put data to work and provide customers with relevant experiences before they know they want it. For instance, you can identify potential at-risk customers so you can start nurturing them with incentives to stay with your brand. It can help you understand what channel they would respond to you on, and what’s the best time to send them communication, in order to increase engagement rates and conversions.
Growing adoption of metaverse and AR/VR for more immersive experiences
A blending of metaverse, AR, VR and AI will lead to new 3D immersive experiences, such as gamevertising, as brands advertise on game platforms. We’ve seen lots of examples of brands and retailers gamifying their commerce strategies with staggering results. Beauty brand NARS said it saw 19.6million redemptions of virtual goods on the platform via its NARS Color Quest activation, which challenged shoppers to create new makeup looks, while Nike’s Nikeland, one of the very first proof of concepts for mainstream metaverse commerce on Roblox, saw 21m users visit its Roblox store last year.
Outside of retail, banks may soon be able to offer a whole 24-hour metaverse banking experience to customers who want to visit a bank but want to avoid going through the hassle of driving to a branch. For example, metaverse avatars of bank executives may soon replace voice-based contact centres, allowing banks to provide customers with detailed information (such as bank statements and forms) in real time.
Hyper-personalization will take customer engagement to the next level
Hyper-personalization leverages advanced AI/ML to take personalization to the next level, delivering more relevant offers and experiences to each customer. Hyper-personalization as part of engagement campaigns will help each message feel like a unique 1:1 engagement for your customers. Unlike some essential automated customization tools, hyper-personalization tailors content based on each customer. This ensures customers receive communications they are interested in, leading to positive engagement, such as increased customer retention and higher conversion.
More video to get customers engaged
Marketers are using bite-sized videos to improve engagement and brand exposure for millennials and Gen Z customers. For example, TikTok and Instagram Reels hijack social media feeds and grab consumer attention. Instagram has aggressively optimized its algorithm to prioritise reels and give video creators greater visibility than static content alone.
Live streaming also promises to be a great marketing strategy for consumer brands. When combined with influencers, live streaming allows potential buyers to interact with advocates/experts, discuss a product’s strengths and possibly even minor weaknesses, and make purchases while watching a video.
First party data more important than ever
Customers continue to want their data to be kept private and are complaining more than ever when they feel it is not. Google is phasing out third-party cookies in 2024which has shifted the focus to the importance of first party data.
Zero-party data collected from loyalty/referral programs, buying intent, or other sources will be used more and more for product recommendations, creating custom profiles, improve customer service, which in turn, assists in making better strategic decisions. Similarly, brands can use first-party data gathered from owned digital channels - website/app, surveys, feedback, newsletter, SMS opt-ins, etc. This will facilitate offering hyper-personalized experiences, reaching the right customers, and fostering customer relationships by understanding their preferences.