Customer Engagement


The 2021 State of Customer Engagement in North America

Mary Kearl By Mary Kearl Mar 18 2021

If you work in customer engagement, then you know just how powerful it can be to truly connect with the individuals your company serves. You understand what a difference sending the right message to the right person at the right time—via the right channels—can make. And, for the first time ever, the findings of our inaugural Global Customer Engagement Review quantify the degree to which customer relationship building is key to delivering gains in customer loyalty, customer lifetime value, revenue, and, ultimately, long-term capital-efficient business growth.

We commissioned Wakefield Research to support this first-annual study on behalf of Braze, tapping 1,300 marketing executives (VP and above) from B2C companies with an annual revenue of $10 million across 10 global markets (Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the UK, and the US) for their insights and experiences. The end result is a new resource for brands and agencies to evaluate and elevate their own customer engagement efforts.

Based on the findings from this study, here's what you need to know about the state of customer engagement in North America in 2021.

1. Customer Engagement Lives Within Marketing While Touching Many Highly Collaborative Departments

The majority of executives surveyed said customer engagement lives within marketing or is overseen by marketing working together with other key departments. Most (55%) also said that the other departments the marketing team partners with on customer engagement initiatives are "highly involved" in these efforts.

2. While US Brands Are Still Spending More on Customer Acquisition Than Engagement, They Plan to Increase Their Spending on Retention Efforts in 2021

Most US brands say their marketing budgets will increase over the next 12 months.

While a slightly larger share of that spend in the US is allocated toward reaching new customers (57%, compared with 43% dedicated to retaining existing customers), that balance may shift.

Over the next 12 months, US brands say they plan to increase their customer engagement investment in the following key areas.

For many of these brands, that’s likely to mean investing in multiple technologies to more effectively manage data, customer engagement, and customer experience. By leveraging a customer engagement platform together with customer data platforms and satisfaction assessment tools, brands are prioritizing bringing together marketing tech with data management solutions, supporting more cohesive customer-related experiences across their digital platforms.

3. The Big 2021 Customer Engagement Challenges US Brands Predict They Will Face in 2021 Include Data Collection/Management and Cross-Channel Messaging

Here's what US brand leaders predicted would be their top challenges for the year ahead.

RELATED: See our look at How to Build a Customer Data Collection Strategy and get your copy of our Cross-Channel Messaging overview.

4. Most Brands Rate Themselves As Doing an "Excellent/Good" Job at Customer Engagement...and More Than Half Exceeded Their Revenue Goals in 2020

Almost all US brands (93%) self-reported that they're doing a good-to-excellent job when it comes to customer engagement. That's slightly higher than businesses based in Asia and Europe.

At the same time, more than half (55%) of US companies reported exceeding their revenue goals over the past 12 months, also slightly higher than businesses based in Asia and Europe.

This is a global trend. Our Global Customer Engagement Review reveals that companies that rate their own customer engagement efforts as "excellent" were more likely than those who rated their efforts as "poor" to hit their revenue goals.

Final Thoughts

For further insights, get your copy of the full 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review. Inside you’ll learn about how businesses with mature customer engagement programs managed to exceed their 2020 revenue goals. Plus, discover the unique approaches brands like the NBA, Grubhub, Payomatic, and GOAT have adopted to enhance their customer engagement and optimize their efforts for business growth.


Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip

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