Much changed in 2020 about the way marketers worked, from the technology they used to the frequency with which they visited company offices. But many things did not change, including the extent to which B2C marketers relied on digital messaging to engage customers and prospects, reveals new research from customer marketing software provider MessageGears.
B2C marketers are planning to significantly increase the number of digital messages they’re sending, with one-third saying they would double their number of messages sent by the end of 2021, and 53 percent saying their total would double by 2024, according to the firm’s newly released 2021 B2C Digital Marketing Trends Report.
In the new survey, 91 percent of respondents said digital messages were extremely important relative to their organization’s other marketing strategies, and 90 percent said digital messages were extremely important relative to the goals of their company overall.
Top trends in its survey, including a look at the challenges facing B2C marketers heading into 2021:
Never underestimate the importance of digital messaging
Forty-nine percent of respondents said they sent at least 100 million digital messages in 2020—a 10 percent increase over 2019—and 58 percent said they plan to send at least 100 million messages in 2021. Meanwhile, 58 percent said that at least 60 percent of their organization’s sales come from digital messaging efforts.
B2C marketers take no breaks—neither do their customers
Sixty-one percent spent at least 20 hours per week on digital marketing strategy and execution in 2020, and 80 percent expect that number to increase in 2021. In addition, 45 percent said digital messages are being sent multiple times per day, and 66 percent said at least 10 million different people are receiving their organization’s digital messages.
Digital messaging words to live by: Know thy customer
Sixty-five percent of survey respondents said their organization’s primary digital messaging goal going forward is to improve personalization, and 58 percent said the top goal was consolidating customer data. Another 58 percent said the top goal would be modernizing their digital messaging technology stack, and 51 percent said they would need better access to live customer data in order to make their digital messaging strategies successful in 2021.
In terms of challenges, survey respondents said their biggest digital messaging challenge, cited by 36 percent of respondents, continues to be how best to communicate with customers given the pandemic. Along the same lines, 90 percent of respondents said they are somewhat or very concerned about consumer overload from digital messages right now, and 92 percent are somewhat or very concerned about consumer financial distress.
When it comes to digital messaging, money talks
Fifty-one percent of marketers said they spent at least $5 million on people and tools related to their organization’s digital messaging programs in 2020, and 80 percent expect their messaging budgets to increase in 2021. Meanwhile, 47 percent said at least half of their organization’s overall marketing budget is spent on digital messaging.
When it comes to the pay off, 53 percent of respondents said that data access has to be a priority for all marketing teams going forward, and 51 percent said that personalization in messaging would be more important than ever.
“In reviewing the results of our survey, the biggest surprise is the rapid expansion of digital messaging programs,” said Will Devlin, VP, Marketing of MessageGears, in a news release. “We know, of course, how important digital messaging is to the average B2C brand, but the speed at which the programs are growing is still surprising. It’s another reminder of the importance of truly knowing who your customers are and when and how they want to engage. Smart messaging can launch a company into the stratosphere of the biggest brands, while poor messaging habits can be a company’s death knell.”
MessageGears surveyed over 150 B2C marketers in January in developing its report. The marketers were all managers or above from companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue, and each marketer’s organization sends at least five million email marketing messages per month.