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Data-driven conversations in a cookieless world: New challenges to customer engagement

by | Jan 20, 2021 | Marketing, Public Relations

As a result of big changes in key aspects of customer engagement, including the death of third-party cookies, new strategies are now required for data and identity, and digital and offline experiences. New research from customer experience management firm Merkle explores data-driven conversations that focus on how businesses are responding to those changes.

For its newly released 2021 Customer Engagement Report, the firm surveyed 800 marketing, analytics, and technology executives of major companies ($100MM+) from the US and UK on the actions being taken and sentiment felt on these topics. The research provides insights on how brands can deliver real-time and relevant customer experiences in the future.

“The demise of the third-party cookie is driving marketers to rethink media, data, and identity,” said Craig Dempster, global CEO at Merkle, in a news release. “This moment is forcing marketers to change, and while it initially burdens us with challenges, it also presents an opportunity for radical transformation. The companies that move quickly and smartly may find themselves in a new position that’s more favorable to their customers and way ahead of their competitors.”

Data-driven conversations in a cookieless world: New challenges to customer engagement

Preparing for life without cookies

  • The latest survey results reveal that first-party data is a big area of focus for brands, with 88 percent of respondents identifying the collection and storage of first-party data as a high priority in the next 6 to 12 months.
  • The rise of privacy regulations is another big driver of first-party data initiatives, with 52 percent prioritizing the collection of more first-party data from digital experiences due to regulations.
  • An overwhelming 74 percent of respondents confirmed they are increasing investment in technology and vendor solutions due to rising data restrictions.

Data-driven conversations in a cookieless world: New challenges to customer engagement

Building data and identity-based experience strategies

When it comes to data driving the customer experience, businesses outlined both integration and technology challenges.

  • Forty-four percent reported an integrated data platform as their biggest gap in delivering real-time, omnichannel personalized experiences.
  • A large majority, 81 percent, indicated that having an audience management platform to centralize and activate data across all online and offline channels is either the highest or a high priority.
  • Other areas of opportunity include customer data platforms (CDP), with “Analytics” and “Identity Management” cited as the highest priorities for a successful CDP, as well as private data clean rooms, with 61 percent reporting increased investment in this area.

Data-driven conversations in a cookieless world: New challenges to customer engagement

Honing digital and offline experiences

The survey also explored customer experience performance across digital and offline.

  • 77 percent of respondents felt they delivered a better customer experience online compared to in-person or over the phone.
  • When a customer provides feedback or a review, 34 percent of respondents say that social media is the channel through which the customer is most likely to receive resolution or feedback from the brand.
  • Less than half, 44 percent, felt their company does very well at capturing and leveraging data to support the customer experience during contactless services.
  • And a majority, 76 percent, stated they do not have full continuity between their brands’ online and in-person experiences.

Data-driven conversations in a cookieless world: New challenges to customer engagement

Download the full report here.

Merkle will host a complimentary webinar on February 9th to discuss the 2021 report in greater detail. Register here.

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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 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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