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A global study of more than 2,000 marketing decision makers and consumers, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), reveals major gaps in how brands are engaging key stakeholders in today’s Engagement Economy.

The report, The State of Engagement, commissioned by Marketo, Inc., the leading provider of engagement marketing software and solutions, found that marketing leaders must quickly adopt new strategies to effectively engage their customers.

“In the Engagement Economy, consumers expect more from brands, and it’s up to marketers to provide value and connection at every engagement point,” said Karen Steele, group vice president, Corporate Marketing, Marketo. “The State of Engagement proves that marketers must align their organizations around this common goal and focus on the right tools, data, and insights to ensure success.”

Key findings include:

  • Consumers, Not Marketers, Define Engagement:Marketers have prioritised the consumer experience, and 82% believe they have a deep understanding of who they’re trying to reach. Yet over half of consumers (56%) think brands could do a better job aligning with how they prefer to engage.
  • Marketers’ Investment in Channels Outpaces Consumer Adoption: The top two channels through which consumers prefer to initiate engagement with brands are email and websites. But marketers’ are making investments in a number of channels at faster rates than consumers are using them, namely across blogs, mobile devices, social media, and online communities.
  • The Right Technology Is Critical for Engagement:Marketers are dissatisfied with the tools available to them to accomplish these tasks, with nearly half (48%) citing this as their number one barrier to effective engagement.
  • Successful Engagement Requires Structure and Buy-In:Though 98% of marketers believe consumer experience is critical and have a strategy to specifically address it, only 56% of respondents report strategic alignment with a key stakeholder group – executive leadership.
  • Engagement Goes Beyond Prospects and Consumers: Many marketers also oversee partner and employee engagement strategies. The data found a 17% gap between the importance marketers put on this type of engagement and their performance with respect to how well they do it.

What this means for marketers

The findings from this report indicate there’s still much work to be done to deliver the experiences that consumers expect today. As the primary driver of the customer experience, marketers must champion their role in ensuring they deliver more authentic and personalized engagement to their customers across channels and at the scale required today.

“The customer journey for most organizations is highly fractured and crosses websites, mobile apps, social channels, third-party apps – even brick and mortar properties. It’s the responsibility of the chief marketing officer to steward their journeys across all engagement channels, everywhere the customer is,” said Steele.

The State of Engagement delves into four distinct topic areas: consumers’ engagement expectations, how marketers are approaching engagement today, the gap between these two groups, and the opportunities for marketers to bridge this gap and engage more effectively. Not only does it examine the relationship between buyers and sellers, it also takes a critical look at how brands are engaging their own employees and their business partners, as well as the channels and tactics used.

Additionally, The State of Engagement features insights from more than 40 qualitative interviews with executive-level marketers from around the world who offer their advice for how to succeed in the Engagement Economy.

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