What does successful customer engagement look like in the COVID age—and how can brands to improve their strategies? New research from customer engagement platform Braze breaks down tactics that drive business goals—and revenue—across industries such as financial services, health and wellness, media and entertainment, QSR and delivery, and retail and ecommerce.
The firm’s inaugural 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review examines macro trends in customer engagement and identifies opportunities for brands to improve their approach and find more success. Each industry breakdown features a case study from a leading brand, including GOAT, Grubhub, Headspace, Payomatic, and the National Basketball Association (NBA), demonstrating the tangible success that comes with industry-leading customer engagement strategies.
“Through the tumultuous environment of the last year, the leading factor that separated the brands that merely survived from those that thrived was the ability to nurture and strengthen their customer relationships through contextualized engagement,” said Bill Magnuson, cofounder and CEO of Braze, in a news release. “We now have the data to back up what we always knew intuitively–that excellent customer engagement directly results in higher customer lifetime value and lower acquisition costs, driving efficient and durable business growth.”
As part of the review, the firm also developed the Customer Engagement Index, a framework assessing brands against 12 competencies across two key axes—technology and teams. Braze then indexed each brand based on these factors to distribute them across three maturity stages, putting forward a model for best-in-class customer engagement. The findings revealed two notable areas that companies with mature engagement practices had mastered: experimentation and channels. In order to succeed, these brands embrace a culture of experimentation across a wide variety of channels.
The review uncovered several key findings:
More brands will view customer engagement as critical to business growth
Most brands understand that providing excellent customer experience is critical to building loyalty and retaining customers. However, the review also found that there is a direct correlation between the level of customer engagement a brand provides and business growth. Marketers who rated their own practices as “excellent” were more likely than those who rated it as “poor” to hit their revenue goals. Mirroring this trend, 56 percent of brands who earned the highest ranking in the Braze Customer Engagement Index surpassed their revenue goals as well.
Even brands that are confident in their strategies find showing success challenging
While a whopping 88 percent of marketers responded that they are confident in their customer engagement practices, almost three out of four (74 percent) companies are worried their metrics don’t translate into tangible business outcomes. One of the main factors contributing to the problem is that teams within a given organization don’t always agree on what success looks like. For example, 26 percent of marketers have a shared, company-wide definition of success when it comes to their engagement campaigns.
Marketing budgets will increase—with a heavy focus on customer engagement tools
Last year, COVID-19 emphasized the importance of a digital-first and digital-only customer experience. This was reflected in our findings which showed that 60 percent of all marketing decision makers said their budget will increase over the next 12 months, specifically with a focus on investing in customer satisfaction measurement and customer engagement.
Marketers can’t live on one channel alone
While many brands technically leverage multiple channels, they tend to rely on only one for the majority of their campaigns. It’s not necessarily ineffective—sending messages via a single channel is better than sending none at all—but nothing beats leveraging multiple channels. The review found that brands that message customers across multiple channels saw a 58 percent increase in 30-day retention, customers that were 73 percent more likely to make a purchase, and 4X the increase in lifetime value.
The 2021 Global Customer Engagement review survey was conducted by market research firm Wakefield Research among 1,300 Marketing Executives in 10 markets, with a minimum title of VP, working at companies with an annual revenue of at least $10 million. The survey was conducted between Dec. 15th–Dec. 23, 2020 using an email invitation and online survey. The survey was fielded in 10 markets: U.S., UK, France, Germany, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, and Australia. The review also drew on anonymized and aggregated data from over five billion global Braze users to provide tangible insights for improving the acquisition, retention, and monetization metrics associated with customer engagement.