This article was written by Inte Q President Chris Duncan.  Chris has over 20 years of experience in the customer engagement service space and has a strong passion for innovation and data-driven results.

Customer engagement in 2020 looks different compared to any other time in history. Spending decreased 13.6% in April, the steepest drop since economic authorities began keeping records in 1959. While some signs indicate that spending is starting to increase, consumers as a whole still appear to favor frugality.

Throughout the first half of 2020, Customer Engagement Agency Inte Q worked diligently to help clients retain their market share through the COVID-19 crisis, providing valuable messaging and communication strategies. We gained many different insights during this unprecedented time, and we emerged with a clearer understanding of the trends that are shaping customer communication.

Allocating Marketing Resources

Today, many companies and brands are data-rich and insight-poor.

Even when purchases are down, companies continue to receive data from a variety of sources — social media, website activity, email campaigns, and more. However, with so many businesses running at reduced capacity, or shut down entirely, companies often lack the resources to process and act on this data.

I believe that, as brands and companies work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, marketing teams won’t be able to add enough people to fill this gap. Instead, they’re going to look to manage costs and expenses until things really settle down.

This reality makes data-based marketing even more challenging. The need to process incoming data, analyze it, and craft a customer engagement strategy in response remains—but such processes require time and resources that simply aren’t available.

Responding to Patterns

The rapidly shifting nature of customer needs makes adaptability more critical than ever for businesses.

Grocers, for example, are thriving, but they must quickly pivot to meet the growing demand for e-commerce and omnichannel retail. As customers lean into services like curbside and in-store pickup of online orders, brands must widen their offerings to compete in their respective markets.

Some industries, on the other hand, are seeing customers pull back on spending, especially in fields like hospitality. In these cases, a decrease in transactions leads to a drop in customer engagement.

These shifting trends are unlikely to settle into a predictable rhythm anytime soon. That means remaining agile and responsive to market changes will be critical for increasing customer engagement in 2020 and beyond.

Looking Toward the Future

As the market navigates the ongoing pandemic, I believe data remains key to engaging with customers. Facing limited budgets, brands will need to optimize the ROI of their marketing spend — practically guaranteeing an increased reliance on data analytics and personalization.

We are seeing companies adopt real-time personalization rapidly, but often at the expense of refined messaging. Now, as companies strive to be more thoughtful about their communication designs, personalization and relevancy through data-driven messaging will come to the forefront.

With Inte Q, companies can get access to detailed analytics and adaptable customer engagement marketing strategies, regardless of the size of their marketing department. We have the resources to analyze data and develop marketing cadences to reach the right people at the right time, paving the road for more effective customer engagement.

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