Marketers might be finding technology too complex, but they are not losing their appetite for the latest innovations, according to DMA research which reveals 87% of brands have a dedicated budget for testing new technology.
The ‘Customer Engagement 2019 – Future trends’ report, carried out by the DMA and backed by Pure360, shows that on average, over a third of budgets (36%) are allocated to trialling new tech, with just 13% of organisations having no funds in place to test the latest gizmos.
The size and resource available to a business seems to have a direct impact on budget allocated, with just 18% of small firms able to invest compared to 38% of medium-sized organisations and 37% of larger companies.
Marketers state that the most popular use for marketing budgets over the next five years includes finding new ways to ‘chat’, whether with humans (36%) or chatbots (37%). A healthy proportion of marketers are already keen to capitalise: for example, 54% already use and will continue to use chatbots – this figure will likely increase over time.
The main uses range from improvements to customer service to an improved try-before-you-buy experience of new products or services, across sectors.
Pure360 marketing director Komal Helyer said: “The quest for the best technologies to improve customer engagement strategies, and ultimately help revenue, is one that rolls on. As the pressure to stand out above the competition grows, the questions around where to invest can sometimes be a cause of concern.
“Driven by the pace of change, both in terms of innovation and customer expectations, there is always going to be a new ‘craze’ to consider investing in. Marketers just need to find the right opportunity for their business’s needs.”
The research shows that almost half of all consumers are receptive to chatbots, smart assistants, and augmented/virtual reality.
Vast numbers of consumers track habits using apps, from smoking and calorie counting, to budgeting and exercise. Consumers are keen to turn this information into something meaningful, the study shows.
More than a third (38%) said they would use an app that sent them workout challenges to complete each week, for example. A similar proportion want help setting a weekly budget, with a by-product that encourages them to save.
Brands can tap into these aspirations and make experiences more fun or, where appropriate, competitive, the report claims.
REaD Group customer engagement director at Scott Logie, who also chairs the DMA customer engagement committee said: “Technology continues to redefine how brands engage with their customers, and similarly, how consumers are able to communicate their preferences to marketers.
“Evidently, marketers retain a strong interest in utilising the latest technology to engage with their customer, and consumers are equally receptive to the opportunities on offer. Whatever technological advancements are invested in, improving the customer experience must sit at the heart of all business practices.”
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