Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Brands are struggling to deliver a unified customer experience

Marketers are struggling to consistently connect and engage with consumers due to the volume of channels and devices they have to attempt to reach people on, according to research from Upland BlueVenn.

The survey of 250 marketers and 2,000 consumers in the UK found that, on average, people are using more than 20 channels to interact with brands across online and physical touchpoints. This vast number of channels has left 83% of marketers believing that it is now a challenge to unify consumer data with people tending to have multiple identities across platforms.

Nonetheless, 79% of marketers claim to have unified customer profiles and 39% say they deliver consistent, personalised messaging across three or more channels. Such beliefs, however, aren’t reflected in consumer sentiment, with just 35% feeling that brands understand their shopping needs and only 12% agreeing that brands provide them with a consistent experience.

“It’s common knowledge that ecommerce has dramatically increased since the pandemic due to global lockdowns, but now that lockdown regulations are easing, shoppers will be eager to purchase in-store again, whilst others will continue to transact online,” said Steve Klin, General Manager of Upland BlueVenn. “Our research has found that many UK brands are simply not prepared to keep track of the many digital interaction points and are potentially not focussed on the channels that they need to be.

“Consumer expectations are at an all-time high and many are looking for a more personalised experience whilst engaging with brands in more places than ever before, which makes the life of the multi-channel marketer very challenging.”

Though consumers will happily use multiple channels, they are still unsure about sharing their personal data. 75% of online shoppers and 56% of in-store shoppers have concerns over their data security. At the same time, 37% of consumers would prefer to give their data directly to a brand they trust rather than a tech giant, though 36% don’t wish to share their data with brands or tech giants.

The problem that marketers face is that, though consumers are reluctant to hand over their data, people still want to be targeted with personalised messaging. 69% of UK consumers find it frustrated when they are regularly contacted by brands and 80% find pop-up notifications frustrating. This creates a problem because poor user experience stops consumers from buying in 76% of instances online and 74% in-store.

To counteract this, some marketers (48%) are keeping track of how frequently customers wish to be contacted. However, 43% don’t act upon this insight. In the same vein, 44% of marketers collect data on the likes and dislikes of their customers, but 46% don’t choose to use this data, and a further 10% don’t collect the data at all.

“In order for brands to provide customers with the most personalised experience, they really need to move beyond just collecting this data, but also start to put it to use. There is no worth in asking a customer what they like and dislike if you don’t have the skills or marketing platforms to be able to activate this information,” said Klin.

“Customer Data Platforms are becoming essential to make this customer data actionable across all channels, and with consumers moving between digital and offline channels more frequently, it’s essential that businesses empower their marketing teams with the ability to activate their customer data more effectively.”

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