The last two years have turned our lives around by 360 degrees. The time we spent working remotely within the confines of our homes made us question work, life, family and much more. Similarly, apprehensions also emerged on the lines of businesses, as brands evolved along with consumers through a new and uncertain reality. What used to work before the pandemic became redundant. Consumer brands had to be agile in steering their strategy by answering important questions: What's working and what isn’t? What do consumers value most? How can brands best resolve customer problems? Answering these questions allowed customer experience to be the core of every business strategy.
Organizations have witnessed several trends that worked for them. I examine some of the trends that will continue to pave the way for the marketing technology (MarTech) space in 2022:
- Customer engagement and retention: marketers’ new gears. With the eventual decline of third-party cookies around the corner, acquiring new customers will increasingly get costlier for brands. Brands will need to start investing in a customer engagement platform to optimize customer lifetime value (CLV). Instead of acquiring new customers who would use your product once and churn, brands should pivot their strategy to focus on customer engagement and retention to boost CLV. Customer engagement and retention will become the elixir for consumer brands to navigate in 2022.
- Insights-led customer engagement for objective evaluation of consumers’ needs. The buying patterns of consumers continue to evolve as they expect brands to have contextual and meaningful digital communications. However, providing an individualized experience cannot be hunch-based. It requires having an insights-led customer engagement strategy that leverages data to analyze and predict consumer behavior. The insights will allow marketers to identify inactive customers, those who purchase more, and those who are likely to churn, and then create relevant campaigns. This approach will make personalizing consumer experiences seamless, minimize the scope of errors, and yield better return on investment in the short and long run. A data-driven marketing strategy will become a differentiating factor in engaging customers in 2022.
- The power of personalization: now and beyond. We often believe that consumers don’t wish to share personal information as they don’t want brands to track their activity. However, our Personalization Pulse Check Report 2021 shows that 16 percent of consumers get frustrated when brands fail to remember their preferences based on their previous purchase history. Interestingly, consumers across North America and Europe don’t mind sharing their data with brands if they use information such as communication frequency, geographical location, preferences, and previous purchase history to personalize the customer experience. Hence, brands will need to understand customer needs and personalize their experiences to retain them in 2022.
- More retailers will work smarter, not harder with artificial intelligence. AI has breathed new life into creating marketing campaigns. With an AI-first approach to customer engagement, brands globally have reaped gains in crucial areas. It has given marketers access to newer, previously untapped customer segments. In 2022, AI will allow more precise targeting, frictionless customer journeys, cross-channel preference optimization, and more relevant content. The reduced cost of acquisition via cross-selling, lower risk and early warnings will continue to improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns, thus making the use of AI-based customer engagement tools a must for consumer brands.
- Data security and privacy will become even more critical. Statista reports over 1,000 cases of security breaches in 2020 in the United States, which impacted around 156 million consumers. Lax information security often leads to such breaches. To eliminate these mishaps, brands need to be General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant. The regulation aims to give customers complete control over their data by informing them about the data collection scope and purpose. Hence, consumer brands must look for customer engagement platforms that transparently state their data and privacy policies. In 2022, insights-led customer engagement platforms will have to set up information security management systems (ISMS) and get their ISO 27001 certification in place to bolster security controls, practices and postures.
The pandemic escalated the need for digital transformation and compelled brands to move out of their comfort zones and implement new technologies and strategies. With uncertainty still on the horizon, businesses will continue to learn, adapt and execute upcoming trends as we move further into 2022.
Raviteja “Ravi” Dodda is the CEO and co-founder of MoEngage, a full-stack solution consisting of powerful customer analytics, automated cross-channel engagement and AI-driven personalization.