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AI is hottest customer experience trend, but only 18% of companies plan to invest in it

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As AI becomes the hot ticket of 2023 across marketing, there is a growing disparity between how important companies think it is compared to those actually investing in it.

According to the latest annual survey of marketing industry trends from Mapp, an international provider of insight-led customer experiences, almost three quarters of ecommerce businesses believe AI is the biggest marketing trend in 2023, but only 18% of them are planning to invest in AI technology.

Instead, the top three technologies that businesses are focusing their investment on in 2023 are Customer Insights and Analytics (70%)., Marketing Automation (69%), Audience Segmentation (59%).

When it comes to deciding where to invest in 2023, the top three areas for marketing investments are improving the use of tools and technology, acquiring new customers, and retaining customers.

Optimism during the cost-of-living crisis

A third of businesses are looking to increase their marketing budget in 2023, despite the cost-of-living crisis. Although all businesses are aware of unfavourable economic headwinds, the general trends and outlook for marketers was positive. 72% of ecommerce businesses saw an increase in sales in 2022, with 31% of those growing more than they expected. Appetite for investment was high among growing businesses, with 82% of businesses who saw growth in 2022 saying they planned to maintain or increase their marketing budget.

Of those businesses who saw growth in 2022, over one quarter (29%) believed their growth could be attributed to improved marketing technology.

Automated marketing campaigns and personalisation

Although the majority of marketers are able to initiate automated marketing campaigns in real time using customer data, 42% of businesses say they are currently unable to initiate automated marketing campaigns with their customer data.

Despite businesses embracing personalisation as a tactic when using email (89%) and social (73%) channels, only 40% are using personalisation on their website.

Patrick Guidi, Director of Sales for UK & Northern Europe, comments: “Customer acquisition and retention are both priorities this year, yet key revenue-driving opportunities are still being missed in the customer journey. A lack of customer knowledge and insights is often the cause here. However, marketers plan to be smarter with their budgets this year by improving the use of tools and technologies and focusing on first-party data collection to learn more about their prospects and customers. Moving forwards, having this owned data will give deeper insights into the customer journey and be used to optimise experiences on owned channels as a primary focus of their spend.”

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