For marketers, delivering unique and personalized customer experiences can sometimes feel like an insurmountable challenge, especially at scale. According to our second annual global consumer study, those feelings don’t come unwarranted. 

Our survey data shows it’s clear that brands are facing a growing list of challenges related to meeting the expectations of always-connected consumers. There is a silver lining, however, as consumers seem to understand the idea that there needs to be an exchange of personal information in order to receive the relevant and seamless experiences they’ve come to expect. Our study indicates that 64 percent are aware their online activity is being tracked and half of those surveyed (51 percent) are willing to share some personal details if that means getting a more personalized experience.

 

The data also uncovers numerous promising ways brands can boost engagement and deepen relationships with consumers. Whether it be privacy concerns, social media behaviors, emerging channels, or customer service – the survey data sheds light on the way that brands can make the most of every consumer touchpoint – from marketing, to transaction, to customer service. Here are a few themes we found from the data:

Privacy concerns have changed the game entirely

On average, 41 percent of global respondents reduced their use of social media due and 31 percent of consumers reportedly quit at least one social media platform within the last 12 months due to privacy concerns. Arising privacy-focused regulations like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California's Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) signal the changing attitudes of consumers, who are generally more aware of what personal data is being captured and how it’s being used. Privacy-minded brands will surely set themselves apart from the brands that don’t recognize and respect changing consumer attitudes toward their privacy, and its best to thoughtfully design marketing campaigns and data strategies with privacy as a guiding principle. Top brands are communicating regularly and giving consumers the power and ownership of their behavioral data, and of course, the option to opt out. Building a level of trust through privacy and sound data practices are enabling brands to build stronger consumer relationships, cement loyalty and engagement, and deliver personalize experiences at every touchpoint. 

Voice-activated marketing is a burgeoning opportunity

Nearly half of global respondents (45 percent) say they use voice assistants (like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or Google Home). Forty-seven percent find it helpful when they’re served ads based on what they’ve asked their digital assistants. That said, 51 percent of global respondents are worried that their voice-enabled assistants are listening to them without their consent. It’s clear that privacy concerns are not enough to curb consumer embrace of newer marketing channels. However, because consumers are wary of being spied on, it’s important for brands to develop emerging channel-specific privacy strategies and communications to allay fears.

Use data to be helpful, not creepy

As voice-based opportunities and other channels, including social, continue to grow, seamless omnichannel experiences is the only successful path forward. Forty-one percent of consumers polled said that at least one purchasing decision within the last six months had been influenced by social media ads. Most shoppers (64 percent) take advantage of merging online and in-store shopping experiences for big-ticket purchases including personal electronics, appliances and vacations. These consumers prefer to research online but purchase in-store. Gathering the correct data points – regardless of channel – is critical to creating seamless omnichannel experiences, but refining data practices can be tricky, as brands are forced to do more with less. Brands today need to be intentional and transparent in their data practices, using information to design marketing strategies that support the path to relevant and timely CX, and keeping those experiences well within the consumer’s comfort areas.  

Marketing isn’t, and never will be, one-size-fits-all

Personalized experiences have now become the standard, not a nice-to-have concept. The data shows consumers feel very strongly about having personalized experiences but also value privacy. As such, brands need to strike that balance between the two through relevance.  

Two data points in particular spotlight the pressure on marketers to ‘get it right’: 70 percent of people like when brands ask how they liked a purchase, while 76 percent of people say they just want to be left alone. This type of contradictory feedback adds a level of complexity and difficulty for marketers so understanding preferences – down to the individual – is paramount. Brands need smart segmentation and data analytics, should regularly solicit feedback and apply that knowledge to build universal customer profiles. It is equally important that they pay attention to when the feedback go unanswered to inform future communication.

For more data-driven insights into how consumer behaviors are changing, its impact on brands, and to receive actionable tips, download our full report: Selligent Global Connected Consumer Index: 2nd edition.

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Selligent Global Connected Consumer Index

5,000 consumers from around the world told us about their behavior and the tech trends that influence their brand interactions. Find out what matters most to your customers today with this free consumer report from Selligent Marketing Cloud.

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