Marketers are frustrating their customers with irrelevant content, ineffective engagement strategies, and lack of consistent experiences across channels.

Those are among the key takeaways from a new global study of more than 2,000 marketing decision makers and consumers.

Commissioned by Marketo, The State of Engagement suggests more than half of consumers are dissatisfied with the ways most brands approach engagement. Marketo is a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of marketing automation software.

Lack of Engagement

Marketers should adopt new strategies to effectively engage their customers. Just as importantly, they need to take steps to close a significant gap between engagement perceptions and reality.

More than eight in 10 marketers think they have a deep understanding of their customers and understand how those customers want to be engaged. “But consumers think they could do better. And they can,” the report states.

“With the right data and insights, marketers can deeply understand all the signals consumers share and translate those into strategies that deliver relevant personalized activities.”

Adopt Marketing Technology Alignment

The research validates the need for strategic technology integration to facilitate the seamless flow of data.

“Marketers today operate marketing technology stacks made up of disparate point solutions that offer uncoordinated metrics and data. To succeed, marketers need to shift their mindset and identify tools, solutions, and platforms that not only coordinate the various touchpoints and engagements but translate them into actionable insights,” the report notes.

A strategic approach enables companies to more effectively leverage their technology investments and create more compelling and frictionless brand experiences.

At Arke, we call this Marketing Technology Alignment or MTA. It’s a framework for measuring experiences, people, process, technology, and data maturity. The goal is to help businesses navigate to better brand experiences that improve the lives of your employees, your customers, your partners, your suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Build Deeper Relationships

But many brands are still missing the mark: Few customers think brands are taking the time to understand them and build relationships.

As the primary driver of the customer experience, marketers have to deliver more authentic and personalized engagement to customers across channels and at the scale, the report shows.

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Companies have created highly fractured customer journeys. There is a lack of consistency between websites, mobile apps, social channels, third-party apps and brick-and-mortar stores.

“It’s the responsibility of the chief marketing officer to steward their journeys across all engagement channels, everywhere the customer is,” said Karen Steele, group vice president, Corporate Marketing, Marketo.

Architecting Experiences

The report stresses that marketers should focus on the right tools, data, and insights to ensure success. We could not agree more.

As Arke CMTO Chris Spears explains, marketers need to use their understanding of people, processes, technology, and data to win and retain relationships. Here’s a suggested four-point plan.

  1. Engage all of your employees, your first customers. Reach across the organization. Bring in Marketing, Sales, Support, IT, and representatives of your other constituencies. Don’t try to transform in a vacuum. Many of your employees are already thinking the way you are.
  2. Leverage a tool like ARKE’s Journey Mapping Framework to design at least one persona journey. Think small, and articulate the shortcomings of your journey.
  3. Build a technology map to accurately assess tools you own and how you use them. Look for value in the systems you have already purchased through enhanced integration opportunities.
  4. Make use of minimum viable data such as demographic and location data, the frequency of purchases and average purchase size. This helps you know your customer.

The report warns “consumers can push brands to become their best, most dynamic, and innovative. Or, alternately, brands can choose to do business as usual.”

What’s your plan to deepen customer engagement and create better brand experiences. Contact Chris.Spears@arke.com for more information, including insights on mapping technology to your buyer’s journey.

Noreen Seebacher is the content evangelist at Arke, where she researches, writes and continues her long career in news reporting as a brand journalist. Noreen lives in Beaufort, South Carolina with her husband, her dog and four formerly homeless cats.