Sergey Nivens -

Marketing becoming harder as customers change behaviour

Findings from Twilio have exposed how buyers are reacting in different ways and old approaches are losing their impact

Things are getting harder for channel marketers as customers become more unpredictable, making existing models and approaches less effective.

Research from Twilio has revealed that global pressures are partly responsible for changing customer behaviour, and there are consequences for marketers trying to influence investment decisions.

The headline findings indicated that almost half (48%) of marketers are questioning the value of traditional customer segmentation models, and as a result are looking for greater budget flexibility and more opportunities for real-time personalisation.

Many felt customers were more susceptible to cost-of-living pressures and environmental concerns, making it difficult to use existing models, particularly with demographic data.

Given its position as a customer engagement specialist, Twilio clearly has some benefit from establishing that the market is changing, but its research did bear out that more marketers are turning to real-time personalisation and first-party data strategies to understand what is happening at a customer level.

The firm unveiled its CustomerAI product at a recent developer event, and talked of the need to respond with real-time messages for users.

“In this next great era of computing, shaped by advancements in artificial intelligence, brands have a massive opportunity to deepen their customer relationships,” said Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio. “To help make that a reality, Twilio is infusing CustomerAI into customer touchpoints across marketing, sales, and service.”

Complex buying processes

The vendor also quizzed users, and found consumers were more indecisive now than they were three years ago, and that their buying processes had increased in complexity. A significant number of UK consumers are also studying their investments more closely before pulling the trigger on purchase orders.

Sam Richardson, customer engagement consultant at Twilio, said the world is changing as a result of shifts in customer buying behaviours.

“Like the current arguments around outdated economic models, this research has highlighted that it really is time to ditch the old demographic customer segmentation methods and models,” she said. “People are unpredictable, and their shopping journeys and decisions are nonlinear. Marketers and customer service agents need to have the kind of data that allows them to be more fluid in the way they engage with their customers.

The channel has had its issues on the marketing front, with challenges moving to more digital engagements with customers, as well as finding the expertise to mount campaigns.

Last year, marketing experts Coterie launched a community for marketers to share best practice and increase knowledge across the channel.

“We need to talk to each other a lot more because we’re hearing the same challenges and we’re pure marketing,” said Helen Curtis, founding director of Coterie, last June. “It’s all marketing conversations, but we need to get you together.” 

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