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5 Predictions to Help You Prepare for the Future of Retention Marketing

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Learn about 5 retention marketing predictions to help you prepare for the future of retention marketing.

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The job of a marketer is to adapt. Adapt to new trends and changing customers behaviors. Adapt to declining channels that were once effective. Adapt to the high expectations of customers. Adapt to changing data privacy regulations.

But instead of being reactive to the trends, why not be proactive? Look to where marketing is headed, and take steps today to prepare for the future. Here are five predictions for how retention marketing will look in the next five years, and how to adapt to those changes.

The State of B2C Customer Retention

Get the latest B2C Customer Retention stats from 300+ marketers from our ungated report! 

Prediction 1: Messaging will be the #1 retention channel to build relationships and grow revenue.

Customer behaviors are changing. Today, they want to build relationships with the brands they love. In return, they’re looking for a brand to get to know them, too. They want a brand to talk with them as a person, not at them as an anonymous member of an audience segment.

However, traditional channels like display or email are declining in efficacy. These one-sided methods can’t provide the personalization and individual experiences that customers are looking for. That’s why marketers are turning to one-to-one methods to engage with customers, and why it will become the top retention channel in just a few years. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of organizations will abandon their own apps and turn to messaging.

What are the best channels for one-to-one marketing? Messaging apps and social media platforms. According to the marketers we surveyed for our “State of B2C Customer Retention” report, social media is their most effective customer retention channel. It doesn’t get any more personalized than inviting a customer into a private chat, asking them questions to learn more about their needs, and connecting them to the products and services they’re looking for. 71% of consumers today actually expect brands to offer conversational experiences.

You can get started with one-to-one messaging by employing chatbots in order to have always-on messaging at scale. By creating scripts for a variety of use cases, you can design your AI-guided chatbot to converse with customers and ask them questions that can guide the interaction.

Prediction 2: Engagement in private social channels like DMs will be higher than public social feeds.

Marketers are always looking for channels that can increase engagement. And customers engage more with content that’s personalized and relevant to them. Two-way communication through messaging apps and DMs on social media is what can create that higher engagement. In the near future, we’re going to see these channels have much higher engagement than public social feeds. In fact, we’re constantly seeing brands who use one-to-one messaging record metrics like 94% CTR to a landing page, 30% more purchases, 3.2 times incremental ROAS, and other very high engagement data.

In order to increase engagement within messaging channel, create a chatbot that has a personality, and that uses humor, .gifs, or other human-like elements to make the conversation fun. Make your chatbot helpful, guiding customers to take action with interactive experiences and using AI to respond intelligently if any questions come up. Also, re-engagement through messaging channels is easy — simply send another message to your customer.

Prediction 3: The consumer will be in control of the customer journey and choose brands that meet their increasingly high expectations.

Today, customers are taking control of their journey. They want to buy from brands who offer them personalization. They want to engage with brands who protect their data. They want to choose the channels through which they want to be marketed to.

How can marketers prepare? By creating more personalized experiences for customers. This means targeting customers with relevant content at the right time. Also, don’t try to force customers into a linear journey or to one channel that you’ve always used. Go to the channels where they already spend their time and meet them there. Focus on orchestrating non-linear customer journeys, and align your conversational touchpoints to that.

Prediction 4: One-to-one personalized marketing will be the norm, fueled by zero-party data and predictive engagement.

The future is data-driven, and marketers will find success in using data to create truly unique journeys and content for their customers. However, changing customer behaviors around data privacy — 53% more consumers are concerned about online privacy than last year — has prompted a rise in regulations that are prohibiting the collection of third-party data.

That’s why more marketers are turning to zero- and first-party data collection. This declared information comes directly from your customers, and is yours to keep and use for your personalization efforts.

Get started by turning to privacy-safe channels where you can collect declared data from your customers, like one-to-one messaging. Considering that 42% of marketers say they don’t know how to use zero-party data effectively, make sure you have a way to collect and analyze it, which may require upgrading your tech stack for better CRM and automation tools. Leverage AI to pull insights from that data to find the best way to reach out to customers.

Prediction 5: Generative AI will reshape retention marketing.

Finally, we’re going to see generative AI leveraged in marketing across a number of use cases. The first will be by fueling chatbots that will allow your messaging efforts to scale. But generative AI can be used for more than just creating questions and responses for chatbots. AI will be used in a number of different areas of marketing, including analyzing customer data for patterns, creating segments based on those patterns, orchestrating the customer journey, automatically delivering content based on the best time and channel to do so, and finding better ways to optimize marketing efforts. It’ll take retention marketing insights, actions, and strategies to the next level.

Preparing for the Future of Retention Marketing

Marketers should have a vision of where their retention efforts are headed. By providing customers personalized experiences in the messaging apps where they already spend their time, you can be prepared for the future long before your competitors.

The State of B2C Customer Retention

Get the latest B2C Customer Retention stats from 300+ marketers from our ungated report! 

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