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Customer Engagement

Marketers Strive for Real-Time Engagement Across Channels

Consumer goods and retail marketers need to be able to effectively meet the customer in the channels they choose

Customers today seek to engage with companies from any channel at any time. Marketers are trying to keep up with omnichannel strategies. But according to a recent report from Salesforce, real-time customer engagement remains a challenge.

It might not quite be marketing’s great white whale, but elusive nonetheless. Released last week, the Trends in Retail and Consumer Goods Marketing report showed marketers have a long way to go when it comes to personalizing customer engagement across channels. According to the report, 67 percent of marketers are not creating content across channels in a contextual way. Based on a survey of 900 retail and consumer goods marketers worldwide, the study showed that nearly one-third of them reported that their channel coordination is generally siloed. Additionally, conversations with customers are duplicated across channels, with the highest rates of duplicate messaging being banner ads, social advertising, and mobile apps.

This is a problem, because most consumers say that they expect companies to consistently engage with them across channels. Last summer, the Shopper First Retailing report found that 68 percent of buyers said consistency across channels is very important to win their business.

With half of the repeat buyers making a second purchase within 16 days of their first purchase, marketers need to be ready to meet returning potential buyers and customers with new material that is contextual to their history with the business, their needs, and the channels they choose to engage. Today, the average consumer uses 10 different channels to communicate with companies. According to Salesforce’s most recent report, marketers in retail and consumer goods are turning to a number of established channels: websites, email, and social advertising, and they are ramping up their use of emerging channels, such as virtual assistants, augmented reality, and connected devices.

But none of them are communicating with their customers in the real-time, effective contextual way they need. If a marketer has told you they have mastered real-time data, context, content, and omnichannel orchestration, they’re probably telling you a tall fishing tale.

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