UK brands failing to engage shoppers

24 February 2010

LONDON: Many brands in the UK are not engaging their customers over the long term, according to a study produced by Targetbase Claydon Heeley, the agency.

The company consulted 93 senior marketing executives, and a panel of 1,200 members of the public, to discover how each of these groups viewed the performance of advertisers in this area.

Some 82% of communications specialists said their organisation had a formal customer engagement plan, with 87% currently dedicating resources to this activity, and 24% investing "heavily" at present.

More specifically, 44% viewed "relevant and tailored communications" as vital to creating a bond with their target audience, with 41% affording this status to "demonstrating an understanding" of shoppers.

This figure fell to 34% for both acting on feedback and offering reliable customer service, and to 20% for "ongoing good pricing and value".

In analysing these initiatives, 66% of marketers looked to retention rates, and 63% to sales resulting from specific campaigns, with quantitative measures typically most widely-used overall.

However, results of the popular poll revealed that these tactics may not be having the desired impact, as 77% of consumers were of the opinion brands are not connecting with them on a personal level.

Similarly, while industry professionals believed Apple and Tesco were leading the way in this field, the public displayed a preference for Boots and Marks & Spencer.

More closely in-keeping with this trend, 59% of marketers believed that, as a category, the retail sector could teach brands the most when it comes to maintaining the interest of customers.

Janet Smith, director of the Clubcard, Tesco's customer loyalty programme, said "we see a direct correlation between Clubcard use and customer loyalty".

She added: "From a customer's perspective, the Clubcard is a nice extra – a 'thank you' for shopping with us – and this makes them feel engaged."

Alongside the number of baskets bought with a Clubcard and the redemption of points, Tesco uses metrics like personalised coupons and a shopper panel to combine qualitative and quantitative insights.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff