New report shows pandemic woes changed landscape of consumer understanding

Teddy Cambosa - March 10, 2021

Singapore – The current state of the world in the mid of the global pandemic has changed the perception among industry professionals on understanding the preferences of consumers, a study by enterprise listening company TalkWalker and open review platform Trustpilot showed.

According to the global study, around 82% of industry professionals believe that the pandemic has changed their understanding of consumer conversation. In addition, half of the respondents (50%) said that access to insights from consumer conversations is still limited to a specific department within their organization, which is still some way to go for data democratization. Lastly, 18% of the respondents said that their organization monitors and analyzes conversations through a unified platform.

Some of the key channels affected by the pandemic in terms of consumer understanding include social media and community management, product marketing, corporate affairs, digital marketing, customer relationship management (CRM) and customer experience.

Social media remains the top source of brand interaction, with growing focus on review sites, blogs and call centers. Around 28% of respondents said that social media is one of their three top channels for brand engagement.

The report also stated that there is much to be done in terms of analytics training and education, with less than 44% of respondents seeing their brand as extremely data-driven; yet experts identify technology as a key to move forward in 2021 and to make sense of sentiment around their brand, their competitors or their industry at scale. 

APAC leads the charge in data democratization, with 41% of respondents showing such characteristics, followed by EMEA (33%) and the United States (28%).

“Most of the brands in APAC that are struggling with insufficient data and inadequate analysis, currently rely on manual monitoring as well as a set of different tools. To reduce these difficulties, companies should consider a unified platform that gathers all necessary data, and allows them to analyze conversations at scale,” the report stated.

As a recommendation, TalkWalker and Trustpilot notes that leaders must break down information barriers, and let customer and consumer intelligence flow from all channels, as over 50% of respondents admit that data siloes still exist within their organizations. 

The report also stated various industry case studies where brands can learn from, such as the automotive industry accelerating to green mobility to the finance sector’s adoption of digital banking, as well as the rapid transformation of the pharmaceutical industry.

“Today’s consumers expect brands to meet them where they are, with empathy, and a shared set of values. Conversational Intelligence is the key to unlocking meaningful customer relationships by understanding what customers are saying, where they are saying it and why,” said Cara Buscaglia, chief innovation officer at Talkwalker.

Meanwhile, Peter Simpson, head of enterprise and global partnerships at Trustpilot commented, “Listening to and understanding customers is key to building a trusted brand. This principle is core to the services of both Trustpilot and Talkwalker, making us natural partners for this report. The findings published here will help businesses better learn what consumers expect of them, and how they can position themselves to deliver.”

The study was conducted with the participation of over 1000 marketing, PR and consumer insights professionals across APAC, EMEA and the USA.