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Five Customer Engagement Trends Influencing 2023 Marketing Strategies

Raviteja Dodda (Ravi) is the cofounder and CEO of MoEngage, an insights-led customer engagement platform.

For marketers, 2023 is shaping up to be laser-focused on digital channels. Across the board, marketers are planning to increase their budgets on technology tools to remove barriers and get closer to their customers across multiple digital channels. Unsurprisingly, most marketers are divesting budgets allocated toward traditional advertising methods, such as television, radio and print, in favor of social media, mobile apps and producing owned content like videos and podcasts.

In this article, I will examine the key brand marketing takeaways of 2022, leaving marketers with five customer engagement trends that should have a significant impact on marketing strategies in 2023.

1. Clairvoyant Chatbots: Using AI To Predict Customer Behavior

We’ve already seen the excitement around the open-source chatbot ChatGPT kicking off the new year. AI-powered, generative chatbots will shape marketing strategies this year and beyond. Why? Due to open API architectures, AI-powered chatbots can be programmed to access brands’ customer data across the martech stack, enabling them to understand the pulse of customers based on their interactions with brands. Chatbots have had no choice but to advance to improve the customer experience.

As these tools become more sophisticated, expect to see more chatbot-driven voice interactions and omnichannel campaigns. Brands can leverage chatbots to analyze customer behavior and predict their next steps by looking at multiple touchpoints to improve customer experience. Chatbots use machine learning (ML) to adapt to changing customer expectations and provide individualized experiences cost-effectively.

Brands have started using Facebook Messenger or live chat to automate easy payments using chatbots with built-in data security and information protection. Chatbots can use the information from this quick payment procedure to facilitate conversation-driven, cross-selling, and upselling. Chatbots can provide transaction details and payment confirmation, resulting in higher customer retention.

2. Metaverse Gets Real: AR And VR On The Rise

Influencer Marketing Hub predicts that virtual reality will have a compound annual growth rate of 15% by 2030. 2023 could be the year we see it gain significant traction.

As the metaverse tries to blend augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and AI, a new 3-D immersive experience could blur the line between real and reel. Marketers must find ways to harness opportunities to create personalized experiences for customers that draw them in and encourage them to take action.

Multiple examples of blended experiences have set the stage for what’s to come. For instance, “gamevertising” is rising. NASCAR debuted its “Next Gen Racecar” on the popular gaming platform Roblox. AR is helping customers “try on” their favorite products from 3-D catalogs. Some brands, such as Poshmark, enable online shopping through channels like Snapchat. French brand Carrefour enabled consumers to holiday shop via WhatsApp.

Soon, banks may even be able to offer a full 24-hour metaverse banking experience to customers who want to visit a bank branch but want to avoid going through the hassle of driving to a branch. For example, metaverse avatars of bank executives may soon replace voice-based contact centers, allowing banks to provide customers with detailed information (such as bank statements and forms) in real time.

3. Hyper-personalization: Next-Level Engagement Opportunity

Hyper-personalization can leverage advanced AI/ML to take personalization to the next level, delivering more relevant offers and experiences to each customer. In 2023, hyper-personalization will become a go-to strategy for marketers to build loyal customers.

Hyper-personalization as part of engagement campaigns can make each message feel like a unique, one-on-one engagement with customers. By focusing on hyper-personalization, marketers can help ensure that customers receive the communications they are interested in at the right day/time across the preferred channel, leading to positive engagement, increased retention and higher conversion.

4. Personalized Video Engagement Strategies Take The lead

Video-first content is becoming a key area for marketing as it keeps viewers engaged longer than static posts. Statista reported that over three billion internet users watched a video at least once monthly in 2022. Short-form, highly personalized video ads will become a major marketing trend in 2023.

Keep in mind that consumers are more willing to engage with content that is less than 15 seconds, but if marketers can personalize an ad, they have the power to increase viewer completion rates to an average of 85%. Marketers must use short, impactful personalized videos to improve engagement and brand exposure.

Facebook, TikTok and Instagram video reels are good options to grab consumer attention. Instagram, for example, has aggressively optimized its algorithm to prioritize reels and give video creators greater visibility than static content alone. Live streaming also promises to be a great marketing strategy for consumer brands. When combined with influencers and personalized content, live streaming encourages potential buyers to interact with other brand advocates, discuss a product’s strengths and make purchases while watching a video.

5. First- And Zero-Party Data Reign Supreme

Marketers’ anxiety over data collection and privacy issues has increased over the past few years.

Firefox and Safari began blocking third-party cookies in their browsers, prompting many brands to proactively collect and use their customer data. Google is now also envisioning a cookieless future, enforcing the critical role that first and zero-party data will play going forward. Google will be phasing out third-party cookies in 2024.

Zero-party data collected from loyalty/referral programs, buying intent or other sources can be used for product recommendations, creating custom profiles and improving customer service. Similarly, brands can use first-party data gathered from owned digital channels, such as website/app, surveys, feedback, newsletter, SMS opt-ins, etc. This can facilitate offering hyper-personalized experiences, reaching the right customers and fostering customer relationships by understanding their preferences.

Conclusion

In 2023, we will likely witness more emphasis on data regulations and customer privacy, leading brands to re-evaluate their marketing strategies and make significant shifts in marketing spending and resource allocation.

Expect to see these martech trends explode over the year, striking a balance between continued optimization of brand equity, a consistent focus on customer experience, and a conscious evolution of customer engagement. New martech platforms, technologies and trends will further impact customer behavior, and marketers must be able to keep up.


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