Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

EMEA brands are prioritising retention in 2023

With customers tightening their spending in the current cost-of-living crisis and recession on the horizon, marketers are facing yet another challenging year. This is according to new data released today in Braze’s third edition of the Customer Engagement Review (CER). The report combines data from the Braze platform with the results of a global survey developed in partnership with Wakefield Research, surveying 1500+ marketing executives across the globe.

The study reveals several key shifts for marketers this year, including:

  • Budget for customer retention has overtaken customer acquisition for the first time

For the first time, brands are investing more money in retaining customers than acquiring new customers. This constitutes more than half (51%) of marketer’s budgets as the looming recession and increasing new customer acquisition costs make this a priority. 

  • Lack of effective data leaves brands flying blind

A third (34%) of brands plan to send more messages to their customers in 2023, but at the same time say collecting and managing data is still their number one challenge. The vast majority (80%) of EMEA-based companies say that they are collecting too much data, resulting in information on hand that they can’t use effectively. Struggles in using existing data to personalise communications with customers could result in customers getting irrelevant or insensitive messages, putting their relationship with brands at risk.

  • Brands shift to cost-of-living messaging

Despite these data challenges, all EMEA brands say they are planning to adapt their customer engagement messaging as consumers tighten their everyday spending. More than half (57%) of brands plan to send more messages offering helpful advice like bill reminders and offers of support, and more than a third (38%) of brands plan to send fewer promotions or offers to customers. Yet without a thoughtful data management strategy, marketers won’t be able to gather or act on real-time insights and personalise these interactions.

  • Cookie phaseout still not a priority

While Google has announced plans to phase out third-party cookies by 2024, less than half (net 43%) of marketers in EMEA said they are planning to reduce their reliance on third-party cookies this year. While there has been some change since 2021, when just 27% of brands were planning to phase out their cookie reliance, the pace of change risks being too slow to meet next year’s deadline.

With the cost-of-living crisis still impacting the vast majority of consumers, many brands are clearly adapting their strategies. Smart brands are focusing on building strong relationships to not just retain customers, but inspire lifelong loyalty through timely, relevant communications. The right data management will be crucial to this so that the wealth of insights brands already have can be turned into real-time, actionable insights that provide real value to customers.