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    Consumers demand a more interactive relationship with brands and want to use tech to achieve it

    Consumers demand a “more interesting relationship with the brands they use” and technology holds the key, says a report from the DMA.

    According to the study, half (48%) of respondents expressed an interest in artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to engagement, such as chatbots or virtual assistants. But this increased dramatically for younger age groups, rising to 79% for 16-24 year olds, 76% for those aged 25-34 and 62% of those aged 35-44.

    More than half (54%) of Gen Y/Millennial age groups (28% of the total sample) are interested in a service that detected how they were feeling and sent them surprise offers/deals based on their mood.

    “Current engagement methods often seem clumsy, like ‘brand stalking’, where items follow a consumer around on web banners. Instead, consumer data could be used in virtual or artificial intelligence systems. One example could be chatbots, giving brands a better way to use their data and consumers a more meaningful interaction,” said Rachel Aldighieri, DMA MD.

    While a substantial minority (40%) of respondents are actively loyal to brands, 28% are actively disloyal. The remainder are loyal depending on the context. New ways to explore brand disloyalty presents opportunities to challenger brands.

    According to the study, simple methods of engagement work best. While 24% are in loyalty schemes, almost half (46%) of respondents are not in loyalty schemes, but would like to be. More than three-quarters (77%) of consumers were interested in joining a loyalty scheme after buying a product.

    According to Organic’s CEO James Moffat: “The report that follows proves that understanding people, not technology, is vital to the future success of brands who want to achieve better customer engagement.”

    Acxiom’s European marketing director Jed Mole adds: “Tantalising is the revelation that consumers really do want to be ‘surprised’ by brands, with great offers and gifts; but how can we do that without being able to recognise the individual and connect their data to understand just how we should surprise them, with what and when?”

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