Data privacy, care with personal data when it is shared with a company, contests, loyalty programs, and email are all “in,” while “creepy” tactics such as location-based and retargeted ads are definitely “out” as consumer preferences with marketing tactics have sharply evolved during the pandemic, according to a new study of more than 5,400 people in six countries.
“The path to purchase today looks more like a bowl of spaghetti, with technologies providing infinite routes to closing the sale,” according to the 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index from Econsultancy and relationship-marketing platform Cheetah Digital. “What used to be a simple game of persuasion, which marketers had nearly mastered, has morphed into the age of consumer empowerment where control, choice and convenience rule the day. Marketers need to pivot energies from trying to persuade, to a model that tries more to support a customer.”
Many widely used online-marketing tactics – including social-media ads, banner ads and SMS text messages – trail far behind old-fashioned email in terms of consumer acceptance, by as much as 108 percent, the 82-page report said. Half of those surveyed said they’d purchased something directly from an email newsletter in the previous year.
And after years of problems with data theft and abuse, many consumers are increasingly turning to a variety of privacy aids, like incognito browsers (up 50 percent), ad-blocking software (up 37 percent) and password generators and managers (up 31 to 40 percent).
Consumers are willing to trade data for personalized experiences, but such trades come with high expectations for both the experience and the ways the brand might use that data subsequently.
“Brands can no longer get away with lumping customers into segments, but rather must treat them as individuals,” said Cheetah Digital VP Content Tim Glomb in a release. “This requires developing authentic relationships, offering real value exchange, and interpreting the right customer signals at the right time in the right channel.”
Consumers are much less forgiving about “creepy” ads that rely on a user’s location data, tracking cookies used for retargeting, and ads that match up with conversations held near smart devices.
For brands that do take care of their customers and their customers’ data, they can reap significant loyalty. The report says loyalty metrics are “spiking across the board” for companies that provide an individualized approach, align with their values, and treat their data with respect.
Consumers are increasingly embracing such tried-and-true methods as contests, sweepstakes and exclusive access and content. Personalized product recommendations are increasingly attractive, with expectations of such information up 56 percent among consumers, according to the study.
“How brands respond will impact their bottom line in both the short and long term,” Glomb said.
The index took a global view of consumer attitudes based on interviews with 5,404 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, Japan, and Australia, broken down by age, gender, and household income.
Cheetah provides software tools to brands such as Starbucks, Hilton, Levi’s, Williams-Sonoma, and Neiman Marcus for cross-platform marketing strategies that use data, messaging and loyalty strategies.
The organizations plan to release additional findings, and a U.S.-focused report later this spring. Cheetah and Econsultancy will also be hosting two webinars on the report today and next week.