Marketing isn’t easy these days. Oversaturated channels and changing customer preferences are forcing marketers to get creative with their approaches. One approach that is proving effective? One-to-one messaging with customers through the apps they use every day.
In our newest report on the “State of B2C Conversational Marketing,” we surveyed 400 marketers about their current challenges to customer engagement and retention and what tactics are serving them and their customers well.
Here are seven takeaways from our findings.
72% say their conversational marketing approach is very or somewhat effective.
Marketers agree: Utilizing conversational marketing as part of their customer engagement efforts is working. 42% say their conversational marketing program is “very effective,” and another 30% find it “somewhat effective.” Those who say their efforts are “very effective” attribute their success to engaging with customers through one-to-one messaging. They also say they’re successful because they utilize AI to automate their customer conversations, as well as use the data they’ve collected on their customers to personalize those interactions.
59% find their efforts aren’t as effective because of privacy regulations.
Due to changing customer preferences, marketers are experiencing a number of restrictions when it comes to how they’re able to collect information. This is why six out of ten respondents say that their marketing tactics have become less effective because of the increase in data privacy regulations. This is forcing them to look to other methods to collect that valuable and actionable data.
For 41%, collecting zero-party data has never been more important.
If third-party cookie tracking and other ways of collecting customer information are being restricted, what’s the alternative? Zero-party data, which is information collected from what customers tell you through a one-to-one chat exchange. As such, 41% said that collecting zero-party data has “never been more important to us.” Additionally, 39% said zero-party data is very important to their long-term customer engagement objectives.
Channels are in decline, and social media is at the top of the list.
Digital marketing channels aren’t as effective as they once were, and 91% of those surveyed said they’ve seen at least one of their channels in decline over the past year. The biggest channel in decline is social media marketing, as trying to engage customers on noisy, algorithm-based timelines is proving more and more difficult. They’re also experiencing decline in other channels, too, including influencer marketing, email marketing, and SMS marketing.
A marketer’s top challenge today? Acquiring new customers.
Grabbing customer attention, declining channels, gathering data — marketers are facing a number of barriers to staying effective. Those surveyed said that their top challenge is acquiring new customers: how to grab their attention when there’s so much noise out there, and how to keep them interested. Related is another top challenge of being able to retain existing customers and generate more sales from them.
Their top priority is creating more humanlike experiences.
In previous answers, those surveyed said that they’re finding success in their conversational marketing efforts by engaging customers in one-to-one messaging and leveraging AI for automation at scale. Going forward, they say that their top priority is creating more humanlike experiences in those automated exchanges, which can be fueled by zero- and first-party data to create more personalized interactions.
The most effective channel is Instagram Messaging.
Finally, of the channels they use for their one-to-one conversations with customers, the marketers surveyed find Instagram Messaging (44%) to be the most effective for engagement, followed by WhatsApp Business (42%), and Facebook Messenger (40%).
Conversational Marketing for Today
Marketing has its challenges in our noisy, oversaturated world. But marketers who are seeking new ways to engage customers can find success through one-to-one conversations — as evidenced by the marketers in our report.