Merkle Launches New Consumer Experience Sentiment Report

First edition reveals the importance of brand authenticity and reputation, product quality, and price

Merkle (, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, has launched the first edition of its Consumer Experience Sentiment Report. Within this report, Merkle reveals how consumers feel about the personal experiences brands are delivering and how their feelings and expectations of brands are changing over time.

Merkle surveyed more than 1,000 US respondents over the age of 18 in July 2020, amidst a global pandemic, widespread social unrest, and economic uncertainty. Given this, the report dives into consumers’ preferences and perceptions on the significance of authenticity in brands’ marketing.

The study found that brands are seen as authentic when they show support of social causes through monetary and in-kind donations, openly share business objectives, and include diversity within their media and advertising. Only 29% of respondents feel that they often see themselves represented in messaging and advertising and 30% have received marketing communication from a brand they found to be offensive.

Respondents indicated a product’s quality, price, and brand reputation are very important to them. Those respondents with higher incomes are also more likely to feel that personalization is invasive, versus those with lower incomes, who are more likely to prioritize personalization.

“Today’s consumers value authenticity and want to feel heard, so brands must create a delicate balance of enabling relevant personalization and avoiding tactics that seem invasive,” said Jennifer Wolf, director of digital experience research and brand strategy at Merkle. “There is a great opportunity to enhance the customer experience through research and insights, and our report aims to help brands better understand how consumer expectations are changing over time in order to deliver more meaningful experiences for their customers.”

Additional insights from survey respondents include:

  • 35% feel that marketing and advertising meet their needs.
  • 49% feel that brands know too much about them.
  • 13% do not want to share any personal information, despite the benefit they may receive from it.
  • Most, especially younger audiences and women, are willing to share at least some information with brands in order to gain a more tailored online experience.

The Consumer Experience Sentiment Report will continue to track key experience indicators on a half-yearly basis in order to help marketers understand consumer preferences and how expectations may change as the market and world events evolve. To learn more about the findings in this inaugural report, register for our upcoming webinar and download the report here.

About Merkle

Merkle is a leading data-driven, technology-enabled, global performance marketing agency 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 agency’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive people-based marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With 9,600+ employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the US, EMEA, and APAC. In 2016, the agency joined the Dentsu Aegis Network.

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