Driving insights-led actionable data for customer engagement – by MoEngage’s Kunal Badiani

Marketers who undermine the importance of actionable insights to understand customer behaviour are totally adrift. In the digital world, to build an impactful engagement strategy and provide a delightful customer experience, the first lesson to be learnt is that data, information, and insights are not synonymous.

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It’s true that brands and marketers, for a very long time, utilised data points from various sources to provide a personalised experience. But they realised that campaigns driven by just data lead to superficial engagement and customer attrition. So, building actionable insights is indeed the missing link in the puzzle.

Why are insights important?

Marketers have to shift to an insights-led customer engagement platform to stay relevant and create hyper-personalised experiences. Changes in customer behaviour and the adoption of new trends like the exponential growth of digital interaction have made it compulsory for marketers to devise different engagement strategies. Once viewed as a luxury or an add-on, online engagement has transformed into a must-have element in marketing. Brands have to draw insights from various forms of data which their current tech stack cannot offer as it is restrictive.

In the Middle East, the issue is more significant as digital adoption is growing exponentially. There is a huge shift in customer preferences and buying behaviour, with almost 67 per cent of customers moving to digital channels to engage with brands. Therefore, marketers now have to design different and ramp up their engagement strategies to give customers an omnichannel experience. A recent report by MoEngage shows that 38.7 per cent of marketers have identified real-time analytics as their top customer engagement challenge.

The good news is that brands, armed with increased usage of smartphones, social media, and web platforms, possess a goldmine of data. It’s just a matter of taking the right steps to analyse and convert these various data points into insights and craft bespoke customer engagement strategies that can deliver results. The traditional method of capturing historical data to analyze and predict customer behaviour and explore affinity belongs to a bygone era. It’s time to drive in an insights-led engagement and create a ‘segment-of-one’.

What are the insights saying?

Gap in data leads to a disjointed experience for the customer

The report says that the current customer engagement tech stack most marketers use comprises CRM (used by 26 per cent of marketers) or CDPs and multichannel CEPs. This poses a huge challenge for them in terms of getting real-time analytics and understanding which channels are most effective to communicate with customers. In this scenario, teams operate in siloes and consumers face broken experiences. Only a smart CEP can eliminate these disjointed experiences and help them tide over a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous environment (VUCA).

Focusing on the right insights is important

The report also points out that only about 14 per cent of the brands deep-dive into important aspects of customer insights like preferred channels, the probability to purchase, churn or hibernate, and segment personas. This missing critical information can personalise communication but has remained the most underutilised element. On the other hand, about 34 per cent of marketers in the Middle East personalise communication based on alternate data from customer attributes like language, channel, and content affinity and 29 per cent analyze behavioural-based data like recent, frequency, and monetary value (RCM).

In an ideal situation, brands and marketers should be curating and analyzing all forms of data. With the 3W, 1H formula, brands can draw insights to effectively reach and engage with their customers and ultimately provide a unified, hyper-personalised, and connected experience.

Moving from a campaign-centric view to a customer-centric standpoint

To build a comprehensive journey map for each unique customer covering every touchpoint in the journey, brands need to shift from a campaign-centric standpoint to a customer-centric view by analysing delightful/aha moments and drop-off moments. The report says that around 44 per cent of marketers consider the ‘most optimum path to conversion’ as their go-to data point while measuring journey insights. Compared to this only about 27 per cent of marketers are using various digital channels such as social, web, and mobile, to send personalised product or content recommendations. Focusing only on campaign-centric insights might provide a skewed analysis. The use of technology and a restructuring of the marketing team helps them focus on the customer and not just the campaign. With this, companies can begin to organise individual interactions with customers and scale up too.

Getting campaign insights from the right segments

Marketers who keep customer preferences in mind while deciding on the preferred channel are following an effective path to customer reach. However, as the industry moves forward and customer expectations evolve, brands will need to evolve and draw campaign insights from attributes, purchases, likes, and clicks. Unfortunately, factors such as behavioural attributes to figure out a channel and time preference remain the lowest at just 8 per cent of brands using them. The report says that about 31 per cent of respondents prioritise channels for communication-based on customer preferences, followed by the performance of each channel and competitor analysis and industry best practices. Building advanced segmentation and customer cohorts through insights can boost the campaign results.

How to use the insights to move ahead?

As stated earlier, underestimating the importance of insights in driving a better customer experience is a grave marketing blunder. Digital marketing demands more than superficial data to draw insights from and a move away from the current tech stack. To deliver a highly personalised experience, marketers and brands need to shift to an insights-led customer engagement platform to stay relevant and create hyper-personalised experiences.

To remain in the game of retention by deriving insights for long-term business impact, brands can follow best practices and create a win-win situation for themselves and their customers. In short, adopt the right tech stack by choosing an insights-led customer engagement platform to collaborate and share insights and at the same time, elevate customer experience, keeping hyper-personalisation as the key.