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BizReport : Trends & Ideas : October 01, 2020

Expert: How brands can engage with shifting consumer needs

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has changed how consumers operate. With 2020 came a huge shift in the way consumers shop and communicate with their brands and institutions. Offerings such as BOPIS/BOPAC, contactless delivery, and online ordering are now table stakes for brands looking to survive from a social distance. The less we have to be in the same room as another person, the better. With this in mind, we look toward the future to 2021 -- a year we can only hope will bring a vaccine, a drop in unemployment, and economic stability -- and predict how brands will respond to shifting consumer needs.

by Kristina Knight

Update to two-way, personalized "conversational" marketing

"2021 will usher in practical use of RCS (Rich Communication Services) by leading brands to communicate with customers in a more engaging, authentic manner all within their SMS or Facebook Messenger inbox," said Matt Ramerman, President, Sinch for Marketing. "Not only does RCS facilitate a two-way conversation between brand and consumer, but it allows for rich, personalized media (including video) so that brands can convey their brand personas and styles with more than simply the separate texts and images that traditional SMS offers up. Analysis of a consumer's purchase history can allow brands to send personalized RCS messages with offers or information suited to individual consumer needs. Key industries that will be adopting RCS to boost CX (and therefore engagement and loyalty) are retail, travel and hospitality -- as well as food service, assuming online ordering and delivery services are just as popular when the threat of the pandemic has passed."

Redefine omnichannel messaging

"Messaging channels are all unique, and carry with them their own benefits and potential drawbacks. Up to now, the common practice of omnichannel has been to treat all of these channels equally, often repurposing email content across every other channel. But if consumers wanted to read a brand's email copy, wouldn't they just read their emails, rather than opt-in for SMS? 2021 will be the year that leading brands finally shift to adopt a curated omnichannel strategy, adapting content to align with channels, and placing more emphasis on the channels that each individual consumer utilizes most," said Ramerman.

Use chatbots and AI for more than customer service

"In 2020, chatbots for customer service were nothing new. 2021 is the year when brands realize that AI-powered chatbots are capable of far more than answering customer service inquiries: they can analyze a consumer's purchase history to deliver custom offers and engage in true two-way conversations with consumers, encouraging an engaging back-and-forth rather than robotically answering questions or complaints," said Ramerman. "What's more is that brands can now employ their marketing/product teams to draft chatbot scripts that mimic how they themselves would communicate with potential customers. And with low-code development, brands can set up a chatbot without phoning IT. In 2021, the use and ownership of AI will move beyond the IT department to marketing teams, revolutionizing how brands connect with their consumers, via a live staff person or not."

Tags: advertising, advertising strategy, advertising tips, consumer engagement, Sinch for Marketing

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