2024’s Customer Experience Economy: New research on consumer engagement urges brands to embrace and support today’s CX expectations

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Public Relations

Technology advancements give retail marketers and communicators some terrific advantages when it comes to understanding consumers, but it’s a double-edged sword in other ways. Tech-generated insights have continually accelerated over the years, but this has elevated and evolved consumers’ expectations, giving them greater control and influence over the way brands market to them. It would be a win-win for everybody if brands could just figure out how to meet those expectations and deliver a seamless customer experience.

CX management firm Merkle has been watching this progression for quite a while, and has been releasing installments of its “CX Imperatives” research series for the past 12 years. The firm’s first part of its “2024 Customer Experience Imperatives” series, Engagement to Empowerment: Winning in Today’s Experience Economy, focuses on insights from a survey of more than 2,000 consumers conducted in Q4 of 2023.

2024’s Customer Experience Economy

In the survey, consumers were asked questions on topics such as AI in marketing, preferences on customer data usage, and adoption of emerging tech. Based on analysis of the findings, the researchers assert that brands are now operating in a customer experience economy—brands don’t have the same margin of error they once did, so it’s critical that they embrace and support this new wave of empowered consumers and make it clear how the experiences they deliver improve their customers’ lives.

The research shows that on average, only 2.5 sources of information influence a consumer’s brand decision. To excel in an increasingly crowded field, the firm urges brands to focus on responding to consumers’ stated preferences about their brand experiences in an effort to increase trust and build long-term relationships

2024’s Customer Experience Economy

“With this research, we wanted to give CX practitioners real insight into how consumers experience brands today,” said Pete Stein, global president of Merkle, in a news release. “Brands that wish to excel in the experience economy must keep pace with customer’s evolving expectations.”

The study’s findings reveal six critical imperatives for brands who seek to deliver exemplary customer experiences:

  • Understand CX fundamentals from the customer’s point of view.
  • Use customer data for the customer’s benefit.
  • Use ethical AI to create convenience and build trust.
  • Meet the customer’s need for live human interaction.
  • Focus on the post-purchase experience.
  • Experiment with emerging tech to invent new forms of customer empowerment.

Stein adds: “At a time when consumers have more control and buying options, it’s critical for brands to not just chase trends but get to the root of what a ‘great’ customer experience entails. True customer empowerment requires more than just personalization; it demands authentic connections and experiences that resonate deeply.”

2024’s Customer Experience Economy

Download the full report here.

This is the first year the report data is based on proprietary research. For this report, which is the first of several to be published in 2024, Merkle surveyed 2,100 consumers and 820 brands across 18 countries.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter