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Brand loyalty being tested by supply chain issues

Cancelled orders and lengthy delays because of the supply chain crisis are testing British consumers’ brand loyalty like never before, with 85% of young shoppers saying they would rather switch labels than wait for their favourites to arrive.

The surprising findings show just how seriously the supply chain bottleneck is affecting peoples’ buying habits, with 91% of consumers in the UK worried that the problems are here to stay.

The research, carried out by Oracle, shows that 77% of respondents have felt the supply pinch, which has been blamed on the impact of Covid and post-Brexit adjustments.

Feelings of frustration and anxiety are common place with 74% of people saying that future delays could cause them to cut ties with their favourite brands permanently.

But consumers’ faith in technology to help iron out kinks in the supply chain is strong, with 70% saying they would be more willing to buy from a brand they knew used artificial intelligence to manage their supply chain.

“Businesses need to be able to provide a consistent and transparent service to customers or risk losing them, with some consumers willing to sacrifice the product quality for the ease of delivery”, said Emma Sutton, chief customer officer, EMEA Consulting, Business Transformation, Oracle. “Supply-chains are global but the technology is available to manage them from anywhere in the world, predicting disruption in order to get ahead of it, and keeping customers updated in real-time.”

34% of CMOs ‘don’t trust’ their marketing data

Over a third of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) don’t trust their marketing data, rising to 41% among their data analyst colleagues – posing a challenge for the C-suite charged with driving marketing results.

That’s according to research from leading marketing data analytics platform Adverity. What’s more, there is a growing divide between data analysts and marketers when it comes to trusting their data.

Yet, the very same divide deepens at the leadership level—with 51% of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) & Chief Data Officers (CDOs) lacking trust in the data compared to 34% of CMOs.

The new “Marketing Analytics State of Play 2022: Challenges and Priorities” research commissioned by Adverity surveyed 964 marketers and data analysts across the U.S., U.K., and Germany, identifying the key strategic challenges faced by marketers and data analysts as well as their priorities for 2022.

For businesses, such a trust divide that becomes greater the more senior you go should cause significant alarm. Teams are failing to communicate mistrust, which results in key strategic decisions regarding spending, budget allocation, and campaign optimization being made without accuracy or confidence, potentially resulting in huge amounts of the marketing budget being misused or ultimately wasted.

One of the most likely causes of the distrust in marketing data and the number one challenge cited by both marketers and data analysts (42%) is the time being wasted manually wrangling data. At the C-level, this jumps to 54%.

“Modern marketing can’t afford to wait three weeks for someone to sift through a spreadsheet. By manually wrangling data, businesses not only open themselves up to human error and inefficiency but also commit themselves to a reactive strategy,” said Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO at Adverity. “Those who cannot keep up with the evolution or aren’t willing to embrace the new ways of working will ultimately be left behind. Moving away from manually wrangling data is the first step to becoming a data-driven business.”

As marketing spend continues to recover to pre-pandemic levels and marketers are challenged to demonstrate the Return on Investment (ROI) of their campaigns, being able to demonstrate the business impact of marketing is imperative. However, 38% of data and marketing professionals state the inability to measure ROI on marketing spend is one of their biggest challenges. Combined with a lack of trust in the data, this can cause significant problems for businesses.

Looking forward to 2022, 65% of marketers and data analysts state that audience-building and targeting along with personalized content delivery is their most important strategic focus. This is unsurprising given concerns around third-party cookie deprecation and the increasing strictness of privacy laws. Content in the future is likely to have to work harder for businesses to gain access to customers’ zero and first-party data. Creating a tailored and transparent value proposition is an essential strategy for achieving this.

However, businesses need to also invest in their campaign reporting capabilities. Respondents that already have strong campaign reporting are three times more likely to be strong at audience-building and targeting and delivering personalized content/customer experiences.

Shockingly, businesses that already have strong campaign reporting are also three times more likely to invest in it than businesses that said they need to improve. Meaning that the divide between those who are garnering greater insights from their reports and those who are not is only widening.

Supplier e-commerce sites ‘failing’ B2B buyers

B2B suppliers are failing buyers, new research has found, with 52% of e-commerce sites not fully meeting expectations. Difficulty finding relevant products (32%), none or not enough product images or videos (30%), and an inability to talk to someone or ask a question (28%) were identified as the top frustrations with underperforming sites.

The research also highlights an increasing volume of order errors, with 37% of buyers reporting errors with online orders at least on a weekly basis, and 11% reporting errors daily.

The survey, conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Sana Commerce, found accelerated digital transformation in the B2B buying space, with more business being conducted online than ever before. E-commerce platforms have seen the largest increase in usage since the outbreak of the pandemic (58%). In fact, two thirds (66%) of companies are spending more online now than they did prior to the pandemic, by an average of 45%. The research shows that companies are now spending an average of £3.6m online each year, with 428 business-critical orders placed each day.

However, as more purchasing has moved online, order errors have disproportionately soared, suggesting that many suppliers didn’t have the scalability needed for this widescale shift. 37% of B2B buyers have reported errors with online orders at least on a weekly basis, equating to £1.3m in orders being affected by errors per company, each year.

This compares with just 28% experiencing weekly errors in 2019. As a result, 46% of respondents are finding their productivity and efficiency levels affected while they contact the supplier to fix the issue, and 46% are experiencing delays in the already problematic supply chain. When asked what they believe to be the reasons behind these order errors, 38% of B2B buyers cited suppliers displaying incorrect inventory (38%), incorrect product information (37%), and incorrect shipping information (35%).

Survey respondents were also asked what was important to them in the buying process, and four in five identified the relationship between themselves and the supplier, with almost half classing it as very important. In fact, 84% said they would be more inclined to buy from a supplier they had a great relationship with even if the terms of sale were not as good as a competitor. Yet, despite the obvious importance of relationships it seems that many suppliers are still getting it wrong. 39% of B2B buyers identified supplier relationships as a customer experience challenge, coming only behind delivery and tracking (44%).

Commenting on the research findings, Michiel Schipperus, CEO at Sana Commerce said, “A look at B2B buying experiences in 2021 highlights the importance of sustainable supplier relationships, which don’t end after the purchase is made. However, as purchasing has rapidly moved online, it seems that many suppliers have failed to meet expectations and let their buyers down.

“Reliability – in data, service, and information – is evidently a crucial part of a good relationship, and this is a shortcoming that seems to be causing high volumes of order errors that are not only costly to the bottom line, but also to the buyer-supplier relationship. To eradicate these problems, suppliers should ensure their e-commerce sites are fully integrated with their ERP so they’re able to provide buyers with real-time, accurate information to inform their purchasing decisions.”

Loss of accurate social media advertising data a strain on MarTech

Loss of accurate social media advertising data, thanks to iOS updates, had biggest effect on MarTech industry this year

That’s according to a study undertaken by the team behind global affiliate platform www.Awin.com, in which 250 senior marketers and business owners from medium or large MarTech companies were asked for their opinions on 2021 so far.

Overall, 81% of those asked said that they had been affected by iOS14 or the above updates around the tracking of their social media advertising campaigns over the last year. The “opt-out” privacy feature installed in the iOS14 update reduced advertisers’ ability to personalise and re-target their social campaigns.

One of the most prominent recent talking points was the effect of the iOS15 update on the industry, despite only launching just over a month ago in September 2021. 73% of the senior marketers involved in the study agreed they had noticed mail open rates ‘severely inflated’ thanks to the update. The update allows users to turn on ‘protect mail activity’, whereby Apple will automatically load images and CSS, making it appear as if the email has been opened.

Over half (55%) of the marketers who had noticed an inflation in mail open rates claimed that they have abandoned the measuring metric altogether in favour of ‘click-through rates’ and ‘conversions’. 28% of senior marketers also claimed they had switched to a subscription model off the back of the software release, stating that customer retention was the ‘only way’ to get the information they required.

As well as the effects that developments have had on the industry so far in 2021, senior marketers were also asked their thoughts on what 2022 might have to offer.

Some of the most common trends that were highlighted were found to be:

Immersive VR65% of senior marketers predicted this as a trend for 2022

There are already a few apps that let consumers see how an item may look in their house, for example, or apps that allow users to scan the internet for deals on their favourite pair of shoes using just one photo.

Chatbots will be able to handle more complex matters: 22% of senior marketers predicted this as a trend for 2022

It’s likely that by next year, users could see chatbots trusted with payments, become entirely voice driven and improve on emotional intelligence, to name just a few suggestions from senior marketers.

Chatbots may be able to analyse the pattern of every interaction in order to keep customers engaged and improve response capabilities.

Increasing demand for Marketing Architect roles: 15% of senior marketers predicted this as a trend for 2022

Although slow to gain acceptance among some firms, the number of Marketing Architect roles are set to rise with the demand from companies increasing in an attempt to steer the way in some of the above trends for example.

Kevin Edwards, Global Client Strategy Director at www.Awin.com, said: “2022 will be the year when marketers have to decide what measurement metrics are important to them. With third-party cookies on the way out and the tech giants making it increasingly difficult to measure campaign success, MarTech businesses who can offer data light and privacy-centric solutions will find themselves increasingly in favour.

“Introducing immersive VR and increasing chatbot intelligence will require huge investments from companies if they’re looking to get ahead of the trend. However, they are a clear signal of how brands are increasingly focusing on customer experience above all else”.

Sam Higgins, Chief Marketing Officer at Prezzybox also commented on the effects the iOS changes have had on the business “Analysing the paid social platform, we can see that the iOS changes have had a negative impact on the conversions being tracked in the Facebook advertising platform.

“Looking at data from 14th September – 25th October 2021 and comparing this to the same date range in 2019 (2020 is different due to lockdown), we are seeing a 75% drop in website purchases being recorded in the platform whilst budget remained the same.

“Obviously, this has resulted in a huge increase in the cost / website purchase, making us re-analyse our paid social strategy. Moving forwards, we are tracking paid social within Google Analytics as this gives us a much more accurate representation of how paid social campaigns are performing.”

Brands urged to cash in on ‘social commerce’

B2C ecommerce leaders are fast-tracking social commerce initiatives, but fewer than 30% are prioritising the full customer journey.

The “Cashing In on Social Commerce”  Forrester Opportunity Snapshot study highlights the challenges experienced by early adopters in the social commerce spaces who aim to fast-track revenue expansion efforts and improve overall customer care via social channels.

Social commerce, which encourages the discovery and purchase of products via social media channels, is expected to grow at a 31.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2020 and 2027, the global social commerce market is estimated to grow to $604.5 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets.

According to the study findings, fewer than 30% of social commerce leaders are prioritising customer engagement, failing to cultivate and nurture customer relationships throughout the social purchase journey, and putting their long-term social commerce growth at risk. This data point underscores how, even as brands are beginning to prioritise social commerce and experience immediate returns, many still have a long way to go in terms of successfully managing the full social purchase journey. Without proper attention to CX, ecommerce leaders risk falling behind in an overly competitive market.

“Consumer demand has forced businesses to pivot online, and we have seen a significant uptick in the number of B2C businesses embracing social commerce,” said Mark Zablan, CEO, Emplifi. “We believe the study confirms much of our internal findings: B2C brands are racing to embrace social media as the means to conduct business from discovery to engagement, and now to shopping, service, and customer care. Social commerce is the new conduit to great CX.”

More than 80% of the social commerce leaders surveyed confirmed they are investing in two or more social shops, with more than a third currently using four or more social shop platforms. Not only are social commerce leaders adopting social shops at a swift pace, 86% of the survey participants expect — or have already achieved — a return on their social commerce investment within a one-year time period.

“Social commerce leaders are seeing major gains but are also becoming increasingly aware of the need to bridge the gap between building brand presence among a growing audience, and then convert that audience into loyal, engaged long term customers,” said Zablan. “The most effective, and efficient, way to do this, and accelerate social commerce efforts, is to utilise best-in-class CX tools with integrated social capabilities. By sharpening their toolset, especially when it comes to customer care and holistic social commerce reporting, brands will get the competitive edge they need in this rapidly growing social commerce market.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  •   B2C goals and strategies not optimally aligned: While goals are documented and understood, the report shows only 26% of teams are aligned on how to reach next-generation consumers across social shops.
  •   Conversational AI basic capabilities are well adopted:  Bot technology that provides basic communication and engagement is heavily used by the brands surveyed, but eight out of ten survey respondents report they are looking to invest further in more sophisticated conversational AI capabilities in order to conduct advanced transactions using virtual bots.
  •   Livestream video shopping shifting beyond early stages:  Of the brands surveyed, 70% plan to invest in personalised and group/friend video shopping capabilities, as well as one-to-many influencer events over video.
  •   Scaling up customer care and service is critical to social commerce and CX.  While the report highlights revenue as the ultimate outcome, over 40% of responses indicate that customer care, service and assistance are critical for social commerce and improve overall CX.

While an astounding 50% of the brands surveyed for the report have realised measurable revenue gains or expect incremental cross-channel revenue, the data shows the most successful social commerce efforts go beyond the immediate purchase to focus on the full customer experience.

To read the full study findings, download: “Cashing In On Social Commerce.

Dodgy website passwords driving UK fraud spike

Almost one fifth (17%) of UK adults have been the victim of fraud in the last 12 months, according to new research from Nuance 

The global study – which polled 10,000 adults across the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Mexico – also found that the average cost for these victims is nearly £3,300. This is triple the amount typically lost to fraud in 2019, which was then costing £1,000 per victim, according to a previous Nuance study.  

In the majority of cases, the fraud threat is compounded by poor password hygiene. The study discovered that, when selecting a password, under a quarter (24%) of respondents try to have different one for every website or brand they interact with and less than one in five (19%) follow the ‘password strength’ indicators.   

Instead, 22% of those surveyed have two or three different options that they bounce between. To make matters worse, around one in ten (7%) choose the same passwords for nearly everything, irrespective of strength and uniqueness.  

According to the findings, traditional PINs and passwords are still creating challenges for UK consumers. Each month, over one third (34%) forget and have to request to reset them, whilst one in five (20%) receive notifications that they have been compromised. In light of this, it’s unsurprising that over one third (34%) of respondents reported their trust in PINs and passwords had decreased over the last 12 months. 

PINs and passwords are an archaic tool, no longer fit for their original purpose, as this research makes clear,” said Simon Marchand, Chief Fraud Prevention Officer for Security and Biometrics at Nuance. “Every day, passwords are being sold on the dark web and exploited for fraudulent activity. The fraud committed with them – not to mention the challenge and frustrations associated with simply remembering them – is costing unfortunate businesses and individuals vast sums of money, especially in the wake of the pandemic. With fraud on the rise, brands have a responsibility to develop a more comprehensive approach to authentication.” 

As PINs and passwords continue to fail, organisations and individuals alike are increasingly looking to different, more effective and convenient ways to prevent fraud. 

According to the poll, consumer comfort over the use of biometrics is growing in the UK, with almost half (45%) saying they feel more comfortable using the technology to authenticate themselves than before the pandemic. In fact, over a third (34%) of UK consumers now trust a form of biometrics (either voice, facial, fingerprint, behavioural or a combination of these) most as a means of authentication.

Biometrics authenticate a person’s identity based on characteristics inherent to them, such as the sound of their voice, the way they speak, type, and swipe on their device, and even their word choice and sentence structure.  

As we transition into a post-pandemic world of remote working, shopping and socialising, it has never been more important for businesses to ensure that consumers are provided with a more sophisticated and secure experience,” added Marchand. “Now is the time to confine PINs and passwords to the history books. Stronger approaches to authentication, such as biometrics, have not only been proven to help reduce the cost of fraud, but will also introduce a more streamlined, seamless customer experience to deliver faster and more efficient services.” 

UK marketers ‘stuck in the past’

Almost a quarter (23%) of UK marketers say their approach to digital marketing and delivering digital experiences is stuck in the past.

That’s according to new research from Optimizely, which also found that the majority of marketers (61%) don’t believe their teams are progressive or willing to try new techniques when it comes to digital experiences.

The Culture of Experimentation report, based on a survey of 200 UK in-house marketing executives, assistants and managers, reveals that 27% of UK marketing teams take a fixed approach to delivering digital experiences, with a further one in ten having no digital experience strategy in place at all.

The report also reveals the extent to which marketers are using experimentation to drive continuous improvement for the customer experience. One in five (22%) marketers say they use experimentation all the time and around half (47%) say digital experimentation plays a key role in their marketing strategy. However, when asked about how experimentation is implemented by their marketing teams, around two in five (37%) admit to taking an ad-hoc, unstructured approach.

Looking at the overarching goals of marketers, the top drivers for focusing on digital experience strategies are linked to overall business success: increasing market share, changing brand perceptions and creating a more customer-centric business.

According to Kirsten Allegri Williams, CMO of Optimizely, more needs to be done to formalise and streamline the use of techniques like experimentation to help them achieve these ambitions.

“Marketing teams are under pressure to stand out from their peers, but current strategies aren’t set to deliver against their ambitions to increase market share and change brand perceptions. Embedded into the marketing strategy, continuous experimentation can drive informed, data-driven decisions that will create stand-out digital customer experiences.”

Half of consumers ‘will dump brands’ if they can’t log in

The majority of consumers (56%) have ditched a digital account or online service when logging in was ‘too frustrating’, with 77% having abandoned or stopped creating an online account for a variety of reasons, including being asked to provide too much personal information (40%), needing too much time to enter info (33%), and too many security steps (29%).

That’s according to a new survey from Ping Identity, Brand Loyalty Is Earned at Login, which shows that while consumers are interested in securing their online accounts four in 10 (39%) are unwilling to spend even 2 minutes adjusting privacy settings.

The news comes as Microsoft announced that users will be able to log in with biometric scanning instead of traditional passwords, in a bid to safeguard digital identities and make the user experience more convenient.

Key findings include:-

Consumers demand easy, fast experiences

  • 77% have abandoned or stopped creating an online account for a variety of reasons, including being asked to provide too much personal information (40%), needing too much time to enter info (33%), and too many security steps (29%).
  • 56% have abandoned an online service when logging in was too frustrating.
  • 63% are likely to leave an online service for a competitor who makes it significantly easier to authenticate identity.

As passwords get worse, passwordless looks even better

  • 58% are comfortable with the concept of a digital ID capability that stores personal information securely on a smartphone to share electronically.
  • 46% would prefer to use a service or site that offers an alternative to passwords.
  • 44% admit to weak password practices, including making a minor change to an old password (29%) or reusing a password from another account (15%.)

Privacy should be transparent and simple

  • 85% are interested in learning how online services share their personal information, but 72% say that information is difficult to find.
  • 72% have manually adjusted their profile settings to control privacy—including a massive 89% of Gen Z.
  • 60% have dropped an account over privacy concerns, including 46% who have done so more than once.

“With more options than ever before, businesses now need to integrate their security, privacy and user experience strategies to keep up with modern consumer expectations,” said Richard Bird, chief customer information officer, Ping Identity. “Individuals have no hesitations about finding better experiences elsewhere, so companies that prioritise customer experience now will earn loyalty in the long run.”

The Ping Identity Consumer Survey: Brand Loyalty Is Earned at Login asked more than 3,400 consumers across the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia about their typical registration and login experiences, attitudes toward online privacy and willingness to share personal information.

 

Global digital ticketing transactions will exceed 33bn in 2023

A new study from Juniper Research has found that global digital ticketing transaction volumes will exceed 33.8 billion in 2023, from 20.8 billion in 2021; surpassing pre-COVID levels for the first time.

The research found that this 62% growth will be driven by a resurgence in travel, as well as the recovery in events ticketing.

The research predicts that, while consumer concerns around safety in the post-pandemic environment will persist, adopting digital ticketing solutions, which limit contact and provide information on congestion, can alleviate these concerns. It found that this appeal will lead to a more digital recovery in ticketing; providing a significant opportunity for digital ticketing vendors.

The Digital Ticketing: Industry Trends, Competitor Leaderboard and Market Forecasts 2021-2026 report found that metro and bus ticketing will account for over 33% of digital ticketing transaction volume in 2023; making it the biggest segment, compared with rail, airline and events ticketing. The report identified the high average number of trips in this segment; making it an ideal option for digital ticketing disruption. While average ticket value in this segment is low, it will seed greater digital use in other segments; driving the whole market forward.

The research also found that contactless ticketing is thriving in the pandemic recovery, with over 23% of global digital ticketing transaction volume in 2026 being via this method, compared to only 10% pre-pandemic in 2019. As many transit operators expanded their contactless roll-outs mid-pandemic, this has accelerated digital ticketing adoption. The report predicts that as contactless payments accelerate via a permanent shift in consumer behaviour post-pandemic, this will be reflected in the ticketing space, with transit increasingly dominated by contactless ticketing.

Research co-author Harry Crabtree said: “As travellers get used to digital ticketing within metro and bus, this provides the opportunity to disrupt further areas, as user familiarity grows. This will allow ticketing vendors to target more lucrative segments.”

Digital agencies struggling to find the right skills

67% of agencies have hired during the pandemic – but 51% have struggled to find employees with the skills they need,  52% said that they have struggled to find contractors with the skills they need and 39% are concerned about a skills gap in the industry.

That’s according to Verblio’s annual digital agency survey, provides insight into the industry during the past year, including content creation during Covid-19, the secrets of content success and hiring, skills and the most popular tools.

Other key findings include:

  • SEO is the most desirable skill in the industry

  • Demand for content increased by 71%

  • Asana is the top tool for content success in the industry

  • 18% of marketers admit to buying links

  • Agencies gained an average of 9 clients and lost fewer than 4 over the past year

  • 75% expect continued growth into 2021 and beyond

  • Blog posts (61%), landing pages (42%) and social media posts (35%) are the most profitable content types

  • Social media posts (79%), email newsletters (65%) and outreach (27%) are the most popular promotion tactics

  • Blog posts (61%), landing pages (47%) and video (43%) are the best content to invest in

The most desirable marketing skills

The survey revealed that the most desirable marketing skill is SEO and SEM, with creative thinking and ideation, and copywriting coming in second and third.

Rank

Marketing Skills

Percentage Vote

1

SEO and SEM

71%

2

Creative thinking and ideation

65%

3

Copywriting

58%

4

Data analysis

42%

5

Social media

27%

5

Paid social media advertising

27%

6

Sales

26%

7

Developer

24%

8

Design

23%

9

Email marketing

22%

10

CRM

10%

11

Mobile marketing

8%

11

Digital PR

8%

Despite the pandemic, the vast majority of those surveyed said their agency had actually seen an increase in business over the last 12 months, with 71% agreeing that demand for content specifically had grown.

During the last year, on average, agencies have gained over nine new clients and lost less than four.

A whopping 75% of those surveyed expect revenue generated from content to increase over the next year, with just 3% believing it would decrease.

Verblio found that on average, agencies charge over $2,000 for an interactive campaign and more than a quarter charge $5000+. Unsurprisingly, social media posts are the cheapest content type with an average price of $130.

Despite interactive campaigns commanding the highest price, blogs take the top spot for generating profit, with 62% selecting blogs as one of their most profitable content offerings. Landing pages come second, with 42% saying they are a leading profit maker for their business.

Nearly all the experts Verblio spoke to agree that some form of promotion is needed to get results. Promoting via the client’s social media is the most popular method at 79%, but 18% of agencies still admit to buying links and coverage.

The survey asked experts what content offerings they plan to invest in the most over the next five years and blogs take the crown. Over 61% of content creators are looking to expand and develop their blog offering, with landing pages and video not far behind.

Top 10 tools for success

29% of agencies don’t rely on any particular tools. The other 71%, however, have plenty they can’t live without. Here are the top 10 tools for digital marketing success.

  1. asana

  2. Monday.com

  3. Hotjar

  4. SEMRush

  5. crazyegg

  6. Trello

  7. 99designs

  8. ahrefs

  9. Lucky orange

  10. accelo

Touching on the survey insights, Verblio CEO Steve Pockross, said “The results from the 2021 digital agency survey show that despite a crazy year like 2020, agencies continue to see the value in content marketing,with demand for the service increasing by 71%. It’s encouraging to learn that 67% hired during the pandemic, with SEO coming in as the most desirable skill. But with 51% struggling to find the right people for the job and 39% concerned about a skills gap, it’s clear more needs to be done to upskill teams and attract more talented individuals to the industry.”