Brands are racing to improve their consumer messaging this year, judging by the 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review.
Of the companies polled by Braze, 60% plan to increase their customer engagement budgets, while 13% will decrease them.
Older companies are more likely to see engagement as an investment priority — with 48% saying they do, versus 39% of young companies. Globally, 61% of U.S. forecast budget increases, as do 66% of those in Asia and 52% in Europe.
Among firms that rate themselves as excellent at engagement, 75% are projecting 2021 budget increases, compared with 60% of those that see themselves as good, and 16% who rate themselves in the fair/poor category.
The news comes as companies struggle with numerous challenges. The top three are:
- Breaking through or standing out in a crowded market
- Using or training employees on new technology or approaches
- Coordinating messages across channels, devices, and touchponts.
That last point is critical because customers contacted in even two channels are 73% more likely to make a purchase. And they show an increase of 4.2 times in lifetime value, a 76% longer user lifetime and a 58% spike in 30-day retention.
Still, 78% of U.S. companies are concerned that customer engagement metrics aren’t translating into business outcomes. In Europe, 73% of brands say the same thing, as do 68% of those in Asia.
Where does that leave email? As yesterday’s channel, judging by these findings.
The study notes that “older companies are often email-centric while startups often overuse push notifications.” But that’s not true when email is properly used.
Take the case of Grubhub. The food-ordering service sought to create personalized year-in-review emails for each diner, the study says. It sent emails customized by 32 attributes.
The results were impressive.
“The yearly summary email saw a 100% increase in social media mentions year-over-year and a 18% lift in word-of-mouth referrals to the app–all from a campaign based on first-party data from Grubhub diners,” the study says.
Financial services firms are busy adding other channels. When they add in-app messages and mobile push to email, they enjoy a 2.3X increase in customer lifetime value and a 3.6X hike in 30-day retention.
Here’s more finding: Of firms that rate themselves as excellent, 67% have exceeded their revenue goals, versus 44% of those that say they are good, and 14% who describe themselves as fair/poor.
And, by the way, 93% of U.S. companies say they’re excellent, versus 88% of Asian outfits and 82% of those in Europe.
Braze surveyed 1,300 VP-plus marketing executives at consumer-facing brands.