Some 87% of marketers have a dedicated budget for testing new technology, with on average, more than a third of budgets (36%) allocated to trialling new technology, according to the ‘Customer Engagement 2019 – Future trends’ report from the DMA in conjunction with with Pure360.
Just 13% of organisations do not appear to have funds in place to test the latest innovations. The size and resource available to a business seems to have a direct impact on budget allocated, with just 18% of small firms able to invest compared to 38% of medium-sized organisations and 37% of larger companies.
Over the next five years, marketers state that the most popular use for marketing budgets includes finding new ways to ‘chat’, whether with humans (36%) or chatbots (37%). A healthy proportion of marketers are already keen to capitalise: for example, 54% already use and will continue to use chatbots – this figure will likely increase over time.
The main uses range from improvements to customer service to an improved try-before-you-buy experience of new products or services, across sectors.
Komal Helyer, Marketing Director at Pure360, said: “The quest for the best technologies to improve customer engagement strategies, and ultimately help revenue, is one that rolls on. As the pressure to stand out above the competition grows, the questions around where to invest can sometimes be a cause of concern. Driven by the pace of change, both in terms of innovation and customer expectations, there is always going to be a new ‘craze’ to consider investing in. Marketers just need to find the right opportunity for their business’s needs.”
What technologies are most popular among consumers?
Chatbots, smart assistants, and augmented/virtual reality are popular among roughly half of consumers.
Vast numbers of consumers track habits using apps, from smoking and calorie counting, to budgeting and exercise. Consumers are keen to turn this information into something meaningful.
More than a third (38%) said they would use an app that sent them workout challenges to complete each week, for example. A similar proportion want help setting a weekly budget, with a by-product that encourages them to save.
Brands can tap into these aspirations and make experiences more fun or, where appropriate, competitive.
“Technology continues to redefine how brands engage with their customers, and similarly, how consumers are able to communicate their preferences to marketers,” says Scott Logie, Chair of the Customer Engagement Committee at the DMA and Customer Engagement Director at Read Group. “Evidently, marketers retain a strong interest in utilising the latest technology to engage with their customer, and consumers are equally receptive to the opportunities on offer. Whatever technological advancements are invested in, improving the customer experience must be sit at the heart of all business practices.”