Authored by: CS Gill, Country Manager, Infobip Malaysia
One of the biggest changes that the world has seen post the global pandemic is the increased adoption to digitalisation and technology. No longer restricted to a certain demographic or location, the rapid increase in reliance on digital channels means that marketing in 2020 shaped up to be unlike any other. With the absence of large-scale events and lack of desired impressions of OOH advertising, 2020 kept a lot of marketers scrambling to keep up.
Infobip’s recent survey on quality brand communications titled "Connect Like Humans Do: Building Customer Communications that Matter” revealed that nearly 54% of the respondents believe technology now plays a greater role in brand engagement and 51% agree that communication has become more important than ever since the pandemic.
This clearly goes to show that come 2021, the role of technology and digitalisation in marketing will continue to be amplified and successful marketers will be those who are able to introduce agility in their marketing strategies and keep brand communications as a top priority.
If you are a part of the marketing industry, watch out for these trends that are likely to shape your marketing plans and campaigns in the New Year.
Omnichannel and Personalised Customer Engagement
The pandemic, coupled with lockdowns around the world, has made customers seek contactless human interactions, resulting in an increased usage of digital channels – be it chat apps, email, SMS or video calls. But this has also led to overwhelming digitalisation, with brands bombarding customers with irrelevant information.
Our latest survey also revealed that 54% of respondents get annoyed with impersonal messages and 74% feel that are yet to receive any personalised communications from brands. This means that as marketers in 2021, we will have to go back to the basics of customer communications and draw up strategies that are able to build human connections on digital channels.
Customers respond positively when brands are able to personalise their online journey such as sending them a personal greeting, reminders for items in the cart, availability for items they are searching for etc. This also involves, reaching out to customers on the right digital channels and providing them with an integrated online experience, with timely, consistent and relevant interactions.
For example, Infobip’s latest omnichannel customer engagement platform Moments, allows brands to humanise their customer’s online journey by leveraging smart event-triggered and behaviour-based automation ensuring that customers are able to receive personalised content across the right channels and at the right time.
When implemented rightly, omnichannel and personalised customer engagement strategies lead to seamless online experiences that can convert to leads, better brand engagement, brand loyalty and profitable in today’s competitive digital landscape.
Integration of AI-powered chatbots
Chatbots, in many ways, are transforming the way businesses connect with existing and prospective customers. A study conducted by Outgrow has also gone ahead to predict that 80% of businesses are projected to integrate some form of chatbot system by 2021.
In 2021, chatbots are expected to undergo transformational changes with roles no longer just restricted to customer services. This is where AI-powered chatbots will find applications within several business verticals including automating business processes, predicting consumer behaviour recommending products and services and streamlining customer support experiences.
For example, Answers is Infobip’s chatbot building platform that enables businesses to build, test, and deploy artificial intelligence and keyword-based chatbots that can effectively lower support operational costs and improve customer satisfaction by providing support at all times.
This becomes ever so crucial when looking at the integration of chatbots in a customer’s mobile journey and the expected support from a brand. For example, for e-commerce platforms chatbots can act as preliminary resource centres to answer questions related to product availability, delivery timeline, payment guidelines and the other complicated queries can simply then be forwarded to contact centres saving operational time whilst providing on-demand responses to customers.
As chatbots continue to be mainstream in a diverse array of consumer applications and internal business functions, the marketer in 2021 will need to have a deeper understanding on the significance of bots in enhancing not only the customer experience but the overall customer journey as well.
Marketing talent transformations
One key lesson learnt in 2020 is that as we traverse through uncertain landscapes, customers expect brands to pivot quickly and brands that are able to offer that agility gain higher brand loyalty and conversion.
This brings us to another key trend to keep in view for 2021 –marketing talent transformations. What this basically entails is the need for marketing teams to develop new models or strategies that allow them to differentiate themselves amidst a changing digital landscape.
Often this relies on the possibility of teams to distribute their marketing roles across data analytics, content creation, earned and paid media and if possible into the gig economy route, that can work in cohesion maintain brand communication and customer engagement.
Easier said than done, effective talent transformations plans can seldom get expensive and operation heavy. However, working with a trusted and reliable service provider that can offer a dedicated partner success manager, team and tools to reach your marketing goals can prove to be an effective alternative. In this manner, businesses are able to expand what they can offer their customers, focus on product development and explore business expansion opportunities.
Marketing post-COVID-19 relies heavily on creating authentic human connections. With 30% customers preaching stronger loyalty to a brand that provided personalised inputs during the lockdown, the trend of building human connections is likely to continue.
With consistent communications, a customer-first approach, on-demand responses and agile tactics brands can build a community of life-long customers despite a competitive marketing landscape.