I’ve been a contributing analyst for the eConsultancy/cScape Customer Engagement Survey over the past few years. The 2010 edition has just landed and I thought I would share with you the data that jumped out at me.
Email Newsletters Fading?
The 2nd Customer Engagement Survey saw businesses focusing their efforts on using email newsletters to improve customer engagement. An incredible 69% of companies stated that they had measured a tangible improvement through their e-newsletter campaigns so it was not a surprise that 59% planned to invest heavily in email marketing by the time we came to the third survey. By contrast, investment in social networks – such as Facebook – was down on the list of priorities with only 36% of companies planning to increase their investment in that area.
Social Networks See Huge Investment
So, what happened now we are on survey four and looking at 2010? Those that took a chance and invested in social networks saw a big return on investment. For companies, email newsletters still rated as the tactic offering the highest tangible improvement (67%) but a whopping 44% – almost double the percentage from 2009 – have discovered that social networks helped increase their online customer engagement. That return on investment has clearly caught the attention of both companies and their agencies. In 2010, the survey predicts that 61% of company executives will be increasing their focus on social networks, while agencies are even more bullish, expecting their clients to spend more on social networking (66%) than even email newsletters (41%).
Twitter’s King of Engagement
Perhaps the most stunning statistic is the percentage of companies that plan to invest in Twitter as a channel for customer engagement. In last year’s report, Twitter barely registered with survey participants with just 7% of companies realizing improved customer engagement from Twitter, hence only 13% planned to invest in Twitter in 2009. What a difference a year makes! Twitter has seen massive growth and companies are scrambling to make the micro-blogging channel a key part of their customer engagement efforts. In fact, with 35% of companies seeing an improvement in their customer engagement from Twitter in 2009, almost 44% of companies plan to increase their investment in Twitter in 2010. That’s a three-fold improvement over last year!
Engagement = Conversations
What conclusions can we draw from this? Well, it’s apparent that companies are realizing that customers expect engagement to be a two-way dialogue. Email newsletters are a great way to keep customers updated but they don’t really engage them. Instead, companies are seeing measurable benefits of actually having a conversation with their customers be it via Facebook, Twitter or whatever, making them willing to invest more of their marketing/PR budgets to reap the fruits of that engagement.
Want to get your hands on all the data? Get your copy of the cScape/Econsultancy report!