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Notes from the Future of Customer Engagement Client Roundtable 2019


The DMA has brought a select group of senior marketers together to discuss this year’s key trends. From educator brands, to new initiatives for diversity and inclusivity, get their take on what constitutes truly effective customer engagement.

It’s that time of year again for an update on what really creates excellent customer engagement.

Opening the proceedings, Josh McBain, director of consultancy, Foresight Factory, shared the four key trends he and his team have identified for the coming year.

The key themes and talking points for the session were:

  • Neo-civility: the need for social safety in interactions with others in offence-sensitive, censorious, and polarised times.
  • All Inclusive: Consumers look for brands to recognise their differences and diversity – as individuals and communities
  • Educator Brands: Consumers are thirsty for knowledge – of themselves and the brands they choose
  • Fine to be Fallible: Failure is being repositioned as an opportunity and basis for more authentic, human engagement

A few interesting points…

Recognising difference and diversity

Personalised emails only get you so far in customer engagement. People want to be recognised and have their uniqueness acknowledged.

Mic Conetta, head of CRM, Arsenal FC, spoke about the different diversity programmes offered by the club, like Arsenal for Everyone, which has had lots of positive feedback, and their participation in the annual rainbow laces campaign. These are integral to the club and are built upon celebrating the football community, recognising the diversity that exists, and making their experiences even better through acknowledging that.

Acknowledging failure

Josh discussed how consumers are becoming increasingly open about their own failures in life, sharing them with others, and seeking to learn from those experiences. At the end of the day, we’re all human.

Hannah Bellamy, managing director, charity: water, stressed the importance of keeping the public posted when things go wrong – especially in the context of drilling wells in third world countries. Life’s not perfect, and we all understand when things don’t go to plan – and your audience will be even more understanding when they’re kept in the loop.


To conclude the roundtable, chair Andrew Webber, founder and CEO, Human Theory, discussed how authenticity appeared to be the thread tying all of these trends together. It’s the authenticity of action that makes all of these things work and really engage with the customer.

Without that authenticity any pursuit or initiative, no matter how well intended, will feel like an empty marketing ploy.

The Customer Engagement Campaign

We launched the first and second parts of our research on Customer Acquisition and Customer Loyalty in July and September last year respectively, and the third and fourth research reports on the Marketer View and The Future of Customer Engagement were launched in February and March 2019.

If you’d like to know more about our Customer Engagement campaign, please click here.

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