For marketers, change is now the rule, not the exception. That means the New Year will be filled with new opportunities… and new challenges. Are you ready to turn the page and embrace all that lies ahead? To help you prepare, here are five ways I see customer experience evolving in 2015:
More companies will move to Digital 3.0. Marketers have long agreed that digital is their top priority, but it takes time for organizations to mature their approaches and truly marry digital to customer experience. Years ago, “moving to digital” meant simply getting your arms around all the relevant channels. Then, the next step was actually connecting with audiences on those channels. In 2015, I expect to see more and more companies achieve the third iteration; they’re going to start using data-driven decisions to segment personas and deliver tailored content. Digital 3.0 will be focused on meaningful engagement and the seamless customer experience.
The growth of technical roles on the marketing team will expand organically. Remember when “data” used to be the realm of a select few in the marketing organization? (It wasn’t that long ago!) Well, as marketing shifts towards Digital 3.0, there will be the growing expectation that everyone needs to be looking at the data and using it to drive better decisions. As a result, 2015 will bring increasing demand for marketers who can analyze data and apply it back to marketing programs. Likewise, you can anticipate mounting pressure for more integration and collaboration between marketing and IT, too.
How customers behave and digitally connect will become more important than traditional demographic parameters. Earlier this year, Brian Solis and I discussed this trend in detail. As Brian explained it, the addressable audience is no longer specific to traditional demographics like age. Sure, Millennials are the fastest growing segment of consumers, but it’s the way Millennial habits are being adopted by older generations that now drives consumption, purchase and interaction trends. Brian calls this newly created and ageless demographic “Generation C,” for the “Connected Generation.” (See more of my interview with Brian here.)
Exceptional customer experience will continue to become more affordable. Why? Because technological innovation is happening at all levels and that’s driving accessibility up and costs down. For the first time since the digital revolution began, marketing technology is well within reach of mid-size –and even some larger small-size –companies.
Customer experience will become increasingly integrated into everyday lives. Studies have shown that customers don’t mind marketing messages if they’re relevant and unobtrusive. So, as technology becomes more and more a part of who we are, what we do and even the things we wear (illustrated most recently by devices like the iWatch, i.amPULS, FitBit and GoogleGlass), it may become easier for marketers to reach their target audiences. I’m careful to say “may” there because no one is predicting marketing via wearables will be an instant slamdunk. First of all, customers need to invite you along. Then, you’ll need to earn –and continually nurture –their trust.