Even during the best of times, marketers face challenges when it comes to creating a positive customer experience. But during COVID-19, more marketers are finding it challenging to engage with customers than before. This is per a new report [download page] from Chief Marketer.
The study, which is based on two surveys — the first with more than 140 marketers in February-March 2020 and the second of almost 500 respondents in late April-early May 2020 — shows that consumer engagement has become a concern for more marketers since the start of the pandemic. In the earlier survey, only about 3 in 10 (28%) listed it as one of their top 3 challenges to creating a positive customer experience. The latter survey saw this challenge cited by 50% more (42%) marketers as being among their top CX challenges.
Customer engagement was also found to be one of the top challenges for social media marketing efforts, although it was also a big challenge cited prior to COVID-19.
Social media marketing and customer experience are often intertwined. Despite being a channel often used for customer acquisition, it’s useful for retaining customers as they often follow brands on social media in order to communicate with the brand, specifically in order to contact customer support. As such, prior to COVID-19, Adobe and Econsultancy found that social media engagement and analytics ranked at the top of the list of priorities for customer experience professionals in 2020.
Budget a Shared Challenge
Engagement isn’t the only challenge plaguing customer experience and social media marketing. Both areas are finding budget, or lack of it, to be a hindrance, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak. Half of the respondents surveyed post-COVID-19 say that budget is one of their top 3 factors getting in the way of creating a positive customer experience (up from 45% pre-COVID-19).
Likewise, some 45% of post-COVID-19 respondents cited inadequate social budget as one of their biggest challenges. This is up from the 28% of respondents who believed it was a challenge prior to COVID-19.
Reliance on Social Expected to Increase
Almost two-thirds (65%) of the marketers surveyed after the outbreak listed social media marketing as one of the top 3 tactics they will be relying more on this year and in the future (up from 50% pre-COVID-19). This increased reliance on social media can be seen in other recent research collected since the start of the pandemic, with the CMO Survey finding that investment in social media has already increased since COVID-19, and Gartner reporting that more than three-quarters (78%) of B2C CMOs expect to increase their social media budgets next year.
It’s no wonder that brands are turning to social media since COVID-19. Post-outbreak, some 54% of marketers say that social media posts are among their most effective types of content for moving prospects through the conversion funnel (up from 34% pre-COVID-19).
And, while the responsibility for social media is still primarily in the hands of marketing (62%) more companies have a dedicated social team (32%) than prior to COVID-19 (26%).
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Results are based on surveys of 147 respondents in February-March 2020 and 494 respondents in late April-early May 2020. The respondent samples pre-and post-COVID 19 were similar in marketing focus, company size and annual marketing budget.