A new report has revealed that marketers are finding it hard to connect with customers effectively because of the sheer number of communication channels available.
New research, conducted by OnePoll for Upland BlueVenn, has found that marketers are struggling to establish a unified customer experience due to the volume of channels and devices they need to manage. The study has identified the rise of the "hybrid consumer" - shoppers that interact with brands across a mix of digital and offline channels and expect their experience to be consistent across all.
On average, UK consumers are using more than 20 channels to interact with brands across online and physical touchpoints. As a result, 83% of marketers say it is now a challenge to unify consumers' data when so many have multiple identities across platforms.
In addition, 64% of marketers say their teams lack the skills to analyse and segment customer data. That finding is backed up by consumers - just 35% say that the brands they interact with understand their shopping needs. For example, email remains by far the most popular channel for consumers to interact with brands, but only 56% of marketers use it.
With three in four consumers saying a poor user experience will stop them buying, both online and in-store (76% and 74% respectively), the report concludes that marketers need to gain a better understanding of the evolving customer journey or risk losing customers altogether.
"Many UK brands are simply not prepared to keep track of the many digital interaction points and are potentially not focused on the channels that they need to be," said Steve Klin, general manager of Upland BlueVenn. "Consumer expectations are at an all-time high and many are looking for a more personalised experience whilst engaging with brands in more places than ever before, which makes the life of the multi-channel marketer very challenging."
Worryingly, the survey also reveals that many marketers just aren't acting on the customer data they have collected:
- 43% of marketers collect information regarding how frequently their customers want to be contacted but do not act upon it;
- 46% of marketers collect data on their customers' likes and dislikes, but don't use it.
"There is no worth in asking a customer what they like and dislike if you don't have the skills or marketing platforms to be able to activate this information," said Klin.
Written by Rachel Miller.