Major Disconnect Between Connected Customers and Brands

Marketers often talk about today’s “connected customer” and their ongoing efforts to reach them with relevant and personalized communications. But as new technologies and digital channels reshape the landscape of human interaction, there is a significant disconnect between consumer expectation around experience and brand execution, according to a new study.

Kitewheel’s study titled, “The State of the Customer Journey 2014,” revealed findings that examine the current breakthroughs and breakdowns in engagement with today’s connected consumer. Nearly 600 connected consumers and marketing decision makers were surveyed in Kitewheel’s study.

Five areas of disconnect were discovered including: Mobile, social media, real-time ecommerce, omni-channel capability, and brand loyalty. Some of the key findings include:


Real-time ecommerce presents a huge opportunity for brands, as 91% of consumers feel an “in the moment” offer might influence their purchase. Yet only 32% of marketers have the tools in place to deliver on this “real-time” promise in practice, with most offers arriving too late to make an impact.

Three-quarters (76%) of consumers use mobile devices to compare prices and read reviews while shopping, yet 51% of marketers are not currently managing mobile apps as a consumer touch point. What’s more, 55% of consumers state frustrations in downloading an app that offers no functional difference from a business’ website.

Nearly 70% of consumer respondents expect a response to tweets directed at a brand, and one in three expect a response within 24 hours. But 45% of marketers state it is unlikely that their company can respond to every one of these social media opportunities. 

Nearly three-quarters of consumers (73%) believe that loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show consumers how loyal they are to them as a customer; but two-thirds (66%) of marketers still see it the other way around.

“Brands face tremendous challenges−and opportunities−to adapt their strategies to better meet the demands of today’s connected consumer, while truly differentiating themselves,” Mark Smith, President, Kitewheel said in the report. “Yet transformation across one category or touch point will not suffice in the long run−individual customer journeys that span all touch points, channels, and strategies must lie at the heart of this evolution.” 

The study is based on an online, quantitative market research study commissioned by Kitewheel and conducted by independent research firm Strategic Marketing Research Inc. in 2014. Respondents included 382 U.S.-based connected consumers who identify as highly educated, social and mobile, as well as 209 U.S.-based senior-level marketing executives across a number of industries (72% focused on B2C and B2B, and 28% focused exclusively on B2C). Most marketing decision makers represent large enterprise organizations (63% from companies with more than 1,000 employees).

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