At Loyalty360, we interview brands on a daily basis and it is widely understood that the customer is in the driver’s seat today.

As a result, marketers must listen and adhere to what customers are telling them.

In Marketo’s report, The State of Engagement, it’s quite clear what customers want: They want value and connection at every touch point. The report includes a survey of more than 2,000 marketers and consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, including B2B and B2C.

Marketing leaders must quickly adopt new strategies to effectively engage their customers.

“In the Engagement Economy, consumers expect more from brands and it’s up to marketers to provide value and connection at every engagement point,” said Karen Steele, group vice president, Corporate Marketing, Marketo. “The State of Engagement proves that marketers must align their organizations around this common goal and focus on the right tools, data, and insights to ensure success.”

Here are some key findings:

Consumers, Not Marketers, Define Engagement: Marketers have prioritized the consumer experience, and 82 percent believe they have a deep understanding of who they’re trying to reach. Yet over half of consumers (56 percent) think brands could do a better job aligning with how they prefer to engage.

Marketers’ Investment in Channels Outpaces Consumer Adoption: The top two channels through which consumers prefer to initiate engagement with brands are email and websites. But marketers are making investments in a number of channels at faster rates than consumers are using them, namely across blogs, mobile devices, social media, and online communities.

The Right Technology Is Critical for Engagement: Marketers are dissatisfied with the tools available to them to accomplish these tasks, with nearly half (48 percent) citing this as their No. 1 barrier to effective engagement.

Successful Engagement Requires Structure and Buy-In: Though 98 percent of marketers believe consumer experience is critical and have a strategy to specifically address it, only 56 percent of respondents report strategic alignment with a key stakeholder group–executive leadership.

Engagement Goes Beyond Prospects and Consumers: Many marketers also oversee partner and employee engagement strategies. The data found a 17 percent gap between the importance marketers put on this type of engagement and their performance with respect to how well they do it.

What does this mean for marketers?

“The customer journey for most organizations is highly fractured and crosses websites, mobile apps, social channels, third-party apps–even brick and mortar properties,” said Steele. “It’s the responsibility of the chief marketing officer to steward their journeys across all engagement channels, everywhere the customer is.”
The State of Engagement delves into four distinct topic areas: consumers’ engagement expectations, how marketers are approaching engagement today, the gap between these two groups, and the opportunities for marketers to bridge this gap and engage more effectively. Not only does it examine the relationship between buyers and sellers, it also takes a critical look at how brands are engaging their own employees and their business partners, as well as the channels and tactics used.

What’s more, The State of Engagement features insights from more than 40 qualitative interviews with executive-level marketers from around the world who offer their advice on how to succeed in the Engagement Economy.

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