Alterian Research Reveals Marketing Strategies Need to Evolve to Successfully Engage the New Breed of Consumer

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Study points to explosion in social media as single biggest factor changing how marketers approach customer engagement

The research clearly evidences that there needs to be major changes implemented in marketing organizations across the globe. The engagement of so many individuals across social networks, blogs and other online channels has meant that organizations need to increasingly treat consumers as individuals - both in order to recruit new customers and to retain existing ones.

Alterian (LSE: ALN), the leading international integrated marketing platform provider, today announced the results of a recent research study revealing that the emergence of new social media channels is forcing organizations to radically rethink and evolve their marketing techniques. The study explored the shifting marketing landscape and increasing importance of true customer engagement and was conducted among marketing professionals at Alterian's recent Engaging Times Summit in Chicago.

The research revealed that 60% of organizations think that personal one-to-one engagement with consumers requires a radically new way of creating content and on-demand services, while 60% also felt that that the existing techniques for understanding consumers needs required significant improvement.

"The research clearly evidences that there needs to be major changes implemented in marketing organizations across the globe. The engagement of so many individuals across social networks, blogs and other online channels has meant that organizations need to increasingly treat consumers as individuals - both in order to recruit new customers and to retain existing ones." Said Mike Fisher, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, The Americas, Alterian. "Conversations can now spread across the web in seconds that can have both a dramatically positive or negative impact on a brand dependent on their content. Businesses need to evolve their monitoring and marketing techniques to offer one-on-one engagement with the customer and act on these conversations in real-time."

Social media was clearly identified as the channel which has had the most influence on the customer experience in the last twelve months (27%) and, unsurprisingly, is the channel which businesses expect to have the greatest effect on the customer experience in the next year (48%). In terms of return on investment, however, over a quarter of respondents (28%) cited email as the channel that delivered the greatest ROI and the second most popular channel (20%) for investment in the next twelve months.

The research indicated that organizations recognize the value that adopting an effective customer engagement model can have in delivering successful marketing campaigns and significant return on investment. Several speakers at the Engaging Times Summit identified the emergence of a new type of marketing agency - the Customer Engagement Agency, which is an evolution of the current model. These agencies are focused on helping marketers engage with customers in a two-way dialogue, connect online and offline channels within an analytics framework, and fully measure the value of each individual customer.

The research also revealed

  •     46% of respondents felt that strategy was the most important factor in defining the customer engagement agency
  •     25% stated that the top obstacle to overcome in online marketing was the integration of online with database marketing and offline channels
  •     The lack of ability to assess or manage internal infrastructure and culture challenges (25%) and the integration of all the technology to power the cycle (20%) were identified as the biggest factors in implementing the customer engagement cycle.

The research study took place among over 200 marketing professionals at Alterian's Engaging Times Summit in August, 2009.

About Alterian
Alterian (LSE: ALN) empowers organizations to create relevant, effective and engaging experiences with their audience that help build value and reinforce commitment to their brand, through the use of the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform. Alterian drives the transformation of marketing and communications, making it practical and cost-effective for companies to orchestrate multichannel engagement with the individual.

Alterian's unprecedented integration of analytics, content and execution through industry leading tools, such as the Dynamic Messenger email platform and the award winning Content Management solutions, enables companies to build integrated communication strategies which create a true picture of the individual.

Alterian works with marketing services partners, system integrators and agencies who recognize the need to plan and deliver coordinated customer engagement services in partnership with their clients. For more information about Alterian, products within the Alterian Integrated Marketing Platform or Alterian's Partner Network, visit http://www.alterian.com or the Alterian blog at http://www.engagingtimes.com.

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James Walker
Alterian
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