Opinion: 5 consumer trends that brands should know for 2023

Opinion: 5 consumer trends that brands should know for 2023

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The marketing industry is an ever-evolving one as it mirrors the trends and changes outlined by consumers. While 2022 was a year full of uncertainties for brands as they tried to navigate the rapidly evolving and tumultuous digital landscape, 2023 seems to bring about its own set of challenges.

Already, several industry verticals are indicating slow-down in marketing expenditure in 2023, for example, CPG/FMCG verticals and finance. Entertainment, travel and betting will continue to be driven by post-COVID recovery and regulatory relaxation. Automotive is a big question mark due to the uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment.

So while a big question mark hangs over the fate of advertisers in 2023, in this article we take a look at some of the consumer trends that are making their impact felt.

1. Push notifications marketing

Push notifications (PN) marketing is playing an increasingly important role in consumer retention as more consumers switch to smartphones and access the internet through them - 90% of Southeast Asia’s population connects to the Internet through a mobile device. The daily time spent on the Internet is about four hours and 56 minutes per day. This establishes the fact that mobile is the key driver for Southeast Asia’s exploding growth.

According to Google, as smartphones continue to shape consumer behaviour in Southeast Asia’s mobile-first economy, brands are turning to PN as the choice of communication. A recent study by MoEngage has found that Southeast Asian shoppers are twice as likely to click on a PN if it’s personalised, while media and entertainment brands are seeing 1.68 times more conversions with PN personalised based on customer behaviour.

PN delivery rates also differed across industries: eCommerce (69%), financial apps (69%), travel and hospitality (68%), media and entertainment (69%), and other apps (74%). This is largely because consumers use these apps with varying frequencies. For example, consumers may listen to music from an audio streaming app daily but only use a ticket booking app just once a month. 

Our data shows that to improve user reachability via PN in 2023, it’s imperative for any digital business in Southeast Asia to optimise and improve the users’ app interaction.

2. Retention marketing and personalisation

Access to a never-ending stream of deals, upgrades and flashier products has upended the concept of lifetime loyalty. Yet, marketers remain fixated on leads and customer acquisition and are missing out on a key driver of consistent sales and recurring revenue. Marketers chasing quick wins and easy conversions will therefore gravitate toward acquisition over retention. However, the long game of retention marketing will pay the bigger rewards. 

Long-lasting customer relationships are integral to business growth and profitability. It is up to seven times cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones.

Moreover, a 5% increase in retention can generate up to a 95% revenue increase, according to Bain & Company. Naturally, fledgling brands are more likely to prioritise customer acquisition to gain traction and build their consumer base. However, even for start-up businesses, investment in retention strategies to reward customers who are willing to take the risk to try out a new product or service is crucial. 

To maximise this, marketers must leverage data and purchase history to craft unique personalised experiences tailored to the individual customer. Marketers should also sync their hyper-personalisation efforts with advanced segmentation. This will enable them to identify high-value groups with the largest likelihood of purchasing a particular kind of product, leading to improved return on investment.

3. Affinity-based marketing

A staggering 91% of customers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and relevant recommendations. While brands see the pressing need for affinity-based segmentation, most engagement tools do not offer this capability.

Likewise, another issue that tends to happen is that marketers become reliant on integrating via third-party tools as a strategy for segmentation. This process is frustrating since it poses an issue of marketers having to toggle between multiple dashboards and screens.

Therefore, it is integral for brands to utilise affinity-based marketing and understand how to leverage these segments to offer a seamless experience for customers through effective and coherent communication.

4. WhatsApp marketing

Southeast Asian consumers are relying more on WhatsApp to get updates, from the latest offerings to shipping details. With the growing popularity of WhatsApp, brands should leverage the app as a component in their PN, retention, and affinity-based marketing campaign. WhatsApp is used the most by consumers in the age group of 26 to 35 – the Internet-savvy audience, and it’s available across 180 different countries and supports 20 vernacular languages.

According to AiSensy, while 54% of consumers prefer using WhatsApp to receive shipment status and delivery updates, 50% of consumers use WhatsApp for appointments and to get notifications of upcoming events, and 23% of consumers want to receive promotional offers from their favourite brands via WhatsApp. As consumer preferences and buying patterns evolve, enterprises need to keep pace. Since smartphones have become an integral part of the customer journey, enterprises need to expand their available communication channels to include WhatsApp.

5. Email marketing

Consumers receive and interact with hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of emails daily. Many of these go unread, end up in the spam folder, or are dumped into the trash folder. Emails have become so ubiquitous in our lives that their value as a marketing platform now sits at US$9.6 billion, and it is projected to increase to US$17.9 billion by 2027.

To maximise email marketing’s effectiveness - and to minimise budget wastage –  marketers must realise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to an email campaign. Unlocking this highly valuable marketing method requires a deep understanding of consumers’ email preferences, interests and inbox behaviour.

There are four main types of emails used by brands. The first of these is the broadcast email, effectively a spray-and-pray blast to a brand’s entire customer database. The second is the journey-based email, which is when relevant messaging is sent at certain customer conversion stages.

Behaviour-based emails, meanwhile, form customised messages based on a "trigger event", which is when chances of an email opening, clicking, and conversion rates are the highest. Finally, there are personalised emails – the holy grail of effective marketing. These are highly tailored to a customer's ever-changing needs and preferences. By leveraging these, marketers are able to create dynamic groups of products for each customer based on their behaviour or personality.

For the most optimal effects, any email marketing plan must consider the type of emails their customers prefer and at what time.

Overall, research reveals that customers largely prefer personalised, event-triggered and journey-based emails which are relevant to them.

The writer is Baradhwaj R, marketing director (SEA, ANZ & Japan) at MoEngage.

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