Marketers Leverage Customer Initiated Interactions

March 18, 2010

A sizable majority of North American and European marketers use customer initiated interactions as marketing opportunities and have control of inbound marketing, according to [pdf] a new study from marketing technology provider Unica.

Marketers Personalize Customer Initiated Interactions
Seventy-three percent of marketers say they currently use targeted/personalized messages in at least one inbound channel. There is notably more net expected usage in call centers (71%) and on websites (73%) than in physical stores/branches (51%).

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In addition, 26% of respondents have no plans to use targeted/personalized messages in physical stores/branches, compared to much lower rates of having no plans in the call center (8%) and website (9%) channels. This is likely due to the relative ease of tracking and identifying customers through virtual contact compared to personal contact.

Surprisingly, there are currently no significant differences in personalization of customer initiated interactions by geography, despite Europe generally being considered more forward-thinking in this area. However, Europeans do say that in the next 12 months they will be more aggressive in adopting targeting/personalization on websites (30% in Europe vs. 13% in North America and 21% overall).

Marketing Takes Ownership of Inbound Marketing
The marketing department has taken clear ownership of inbound marketing. Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents say marketing has primary responsibility in their organizations for delivering targeted messages in customer initiated interactions.

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Another third of respondents (32%) say individual channels have primary responsibility in their organizations for delivering targeted messages in customer initiated interactions. Even in this case, marketing still assists the process. A mere 2% of respondents say marketing has no involvement in this area.

Sophisticated Customers Demand Value
Marketers would be wise to personalize customer initiated interactions and mine them for information as much as possible, according to employment firm Manpower. In a recent white paper, Manpower said customers’ operating and purchasing behavior is more global and sophisticated, increasing the complexity of their relationships and the specificity of their demands. Customers have more access to information, experts and lower cost channels, which increases visibility and subsequent pressure on companies to deliver value.

About the Survey: The Unica Global Marketing Survey was fielded to more than 150 online and direct marketing professionals in partnership with Salloway & Associates. Online surveys were completed in Q4 2009 within two geographic regions among Unica customers and prospective customers. North America represents respondents from the US and Canada. Europe represents respondents from 12 European countries that are large technology markets.

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