London, UK, January 30, 2024

New AI-powered technologies critical to the future of brand experiences, according to latest Merkle research

Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, has released the latest instalment of its Imperatives research, highlighting the consumer appetite for AI-powered technologies to deliver better digital journeys.

The research, which surveyed 2,100 consumers and 820 brands across 18 countries and three continents, found that 87% of consumers believe that Natural Language Processing (NLP) driven by AI would improve their brand experience. In addition, 83% reported the same positive sentiment about smart devices, while 82% also said the Metaverse, Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) would improve their brand experience. These new technologies include platforms like ChatGPT, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, language translation, and even virtual shopping assistants.

While the experiential benefits of these new technologies, such as cost-effectiveness, convenience and consistency for their brand experiences, are clear to most consumers, the majority have not interacted with them. Only 8% of buyers have used Metaverse, AR or VR technologies, while just 10% have used NLP and 14%, smart devices.

Yet despite the perceived benefit of AI-powered technology, the research demonstrates that trust remains low. Nearly four in five of consumers (79%) are concerned about their data and privacy being protected with the integration of AI into their brand journeys. Other concerns include the technology being hacked or hijacked to cause harm (79%), recording without consent (76%), tracking without consent (73%) and whether the technology is biased (68%).

Without proper oversight, AI-powered technologies can produce unintended consequences that detract from the overall customer experience and destroy brand trust. Merkle calls on brands to provide reassurance and transparency around how they intend to use AI, within a technical and ethical framework that ensures security and accountability.

“The potential for AI-powered technology in customer journeys is vast and is rapidly being integrated into every customer touchpoint to improve experiences. As brands race to incorporate solutions to deliver a more immersive future, security and surveillance are likely to remain top of mind for consumers, so brands must work hard to overcome these concerns by putting the right technology and policies in place,” said Margaret Wagner, President EMEA, Merkle.

Across the dentsu group, brands are being supported to integrate AI tools into their new and existing products and services.  Dentsu has introduced a secure, enterprise infrastructure that enables AI innovation, which it is testing, prototyping and applying to real world brand challenges. By working within safe internal spaces, rather than using external tools, it is keeping confidential information safe and secure.

The 2024 Imperatives are available in a downloadable research report. Download the report here

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About Merkle

Merkle, a dentsu company, is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company's heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in consulting, creative, media, analytics, data, identity, CX/commerce, technology, and loyalty & promotions drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. Merkle has more than 16,000 employees in 30+ countries throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkle.com.