Results of a recent survey revealed that brand managers, CMOs, and event planners around the world are recognizing that sensory brand experiences are a key strategy when it comes to building brand loyalty and staying top of the mind during the purchasing process. If consumers are loyal to your brand, then yours is one of the first names they think of when making a purchasing decision.
The survey was carried out by Freeman, a provider of brand experiences. The experts at the company polled 1,000 professionals in B2B and B2C marketing across North America, Western Europe, and Asia. They discovered that nine out of ten of the people they surveyed confirmed that brand experiences have become a greater central part to their roles than ever before.
The survey also showed that nine out of ten professionals believe that brand experiences offering strong personal interactions created greater levels of brand engagement. Brand engagement is one of the most important parts of marketing.
Evolution In Expectations
The reason that brand experiences are becoming an even bigger part of the marketing process is that the world has seen an evolution in audience expectations. According to Jason Stephen Ali, Director of Marketing forBroadConnect Telecom “It’s never been more important for marketing professionals to take a new approach following an increase in steep competition, the changing demographics, and audiences becoming more sophisticated.”
Over two-thirds of all the survey respondents across the board were in agreement that creating a great brand experience was a key step in achieving the goals of their organization. 59% of the Chief Marketing Officers surveyed value brand experience for creating ongoing relationships.
The report also found that, with marketers recognizing the value brand experiences offer, they are changing how much they spend on creating said experiences. Over one-third of all the CMOs surveyed said they expected that brand experiences will make up 21-50% of their marketing budgets within the next five years.
Three Main Tactics
The three main tactics used by marketers to drive up brand experiences are websites (58%), social media (57%), and through email marketing (51%). Marketers moving ahead of the trend and getting in on immersing their audiences with the brand are taking advantage of interactive marketing tools including touch screens, virtual reality, location mapping, and gamification. Gamification itself is becoming a major part of modern marketing and even staff training.
The report showed that marketers in Asia particularly are moving quickly to adopt immersive and interactive technologies into their brand experiences. Some 42% of Asian marketers are making use of sensory interaction in some way to create a personalized brand experience for their customers, which is much more than the 28% of marketers doing the same thing in North America, and 13% in Western Europe. On top of this, 31% of Asian companies are making use of virtual reality in their brand experiences.
This is over three times as many as the 7-9% of marketers using virtual reality elsewhere in the world. Gamification continues to expand as well, as 22% of Asian companies are making use of gamification compared to the 9 and 13% of their respective counterparts using it.
Every sector is seeing an increase in brand experiences, but there still seems to be a disconnect when analyzing marketing roles within organizations. 48% of CMOs see brand experiences as a great way to showcase their thought leadership and connect with their audience, but only a third of brand managers, and just 28% of event planners are in agreement with this assessment.
Over 58% of CMOs feel that creating a strong brand experience delivers a powerful impact when it comes to connecting their audience to their brand and increasing brand advocacy. The disconnect with this opinion is even greater, as just 13% and 18% of brand managers and event planners respectively agree with their CMOs. It’s up to CMOs to continue to tout the importance of brand experiences and get their contemporaries to agree.
Privacy Is Paramount
Every marketer the world over is fully cognizant of the need for the best possible experience each time, every time with their brand. But with every experience comes more data and with more data comes more responsibility.
"I don't think brands realize just how big and how important data privacy is," said Yosi Yahoudai, founder of JNYLaw. "And consumers are very concerned. Just look at the recent Gigya study which showed nearly 70% are concerned how brands use their personal data."
Moreover there is the soon-to-be-enacted General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, which has been dubbed "the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years." According to the official site the regulation, which goes into effect on May 25, 2018 was designed "to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy."
And lest you think because you're brand is not affected if it's not based in the EU, according to Tech Target Being GDPR compliant is not just a concern for the EU.
With just over a year to go until the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect, companies need to assess their obligations to be GDPR compliant. Although organizations located outside of the European Union might not give a second thought to EU regulations, the GDPR will affect nearly every organization that does business online, regardless of its geographic location."
With IoT, smart watches, connected vehicles, Alexa and on and on there has never been a in history where more data is being generated every single second of every single day. But just because you as a brand have access to all this data does not mean it is yours to use, necessarily.
Who Should Lead?
As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses need to appoint a senior executive like the Chief Marketing Officer to deliver exceptional, end-to-end customer experiences. It’s a tall order, but if done right, enhanced customer experiences translate into loyalty, repeat business, and revenue.
Download Should The Chief Marketing Officer Oversee The Whole Customer Experience? to learn how businesses can set CMOs up for success using four of Constellation’s primary business research themes, including Next-Generation Customer Experience, Digital Marketing Transformation, Matrix Commerce, and Data to Decisions.
This article first appeared on Forbes.
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