Customer Experience Predictions for 2019

By Kirsten Oelrich 4 min read

Study after study has shown that customer experience is the key differentiator for businesses today. The biggest of brands are already investing billions of dollars to enhance customer experience and the numbers are rising. A recent report revealed that improving customer experience was among the top priorities of 80% of business decision makers in the year ahead. But how will customer experience shape up in 2019?

Experts believe that there will be greater focus on personalization and immersive mobile experiences. B2B marketers will shift to a companywide approach to strategic accounts. But the biggest trend taking shape is customer data management. Companies will emphasize on building that coveted single view of the customer, across industries, and in an ethical manner to earn trust. And in their efforts to serve customers quickly and efficiently, organizations will be more intent on building an internal infrastructure that enables them to move at the same tempo as their customers.

More retailers will adopt experiential commerce

Nearly 60% of shoppers look up product information and prices while in stores, and that number is expected to grow in 2019. While e-commerce has traditionally been focused on offering consumers the best prices to sell inventory, the experience economy has shifted to a different mode of selling.

Experiential commerce is on the rise and content-driven retail commerce strategies will play a big role in 2019. As newer platforms such as voice and augmented reality grow in consumer adoption, brands will focus on integrating those experiences with other parts of the customer journey. Most brands will reap dividends of this strategy in their offline engagement as well. According to reports, consumers who shop both online and in-store have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. Mobile too will become a bigger digital touch point for consumers while they are in the store.

Creativity will be more data-driven

More and more organizations are moving towards integrating data and creativity. This means marketers will be able to create the right content faster, and deliver that content to the right customer, across the right channels, at the right time.

A recently conducted survey predicted that companies that integrate data and creativity drive two times the growth of companies that manage them separately. However, to achieve this, companies must have a unified single-screen view of the customer. With data democratization, teams will have the ability to instantly access data and this will translate into faster decision-making and agile teams. Another startling revelation was that many companies are looking to hire talent that is ambidextrous i.e. both left-brained and right-brained. Improved data capabilities along with a data-driven workforce are key indicators that 2019 will be the year of the data-driven creative. Experts predict that most organizations will invest in training their workforce on data and analytics training.

Personalization will be ethical and consent-based

Personalization has always been a top priority for marketers. However, experts believe that marketing is still at a very basic level of personalization. It is expected that personalization strategies will see a new wave of transformation in 2019 as companies begin connecting data and content to deliver one-to-one customer experiences. More brands will push for a unified view of their customers in 2019 and there will be an increased focus on unifying disparate data sources into a single source of truth.

GDPR will play an important role in defining brands’ personalization strategy. Other new laws such as California’s privacy law, which comes into effect in January 2020—means marketers must be focused on ensuring ethical data collection practices and earning consumers’ trust. In the future, when choosing partners to work with, brands need to look for products and services that protect the data that is entrusted to them. Organizations will respect their customers and give them control over how their data is being used.

More B2B marketers will go the ABM way

Even though account-based marketing is in its early stages, a lot of companies know and acknowledge its importance. Many brands don’t have the right skills and resources in-house, yet they will continue to focus on ABM in 2019 and build their strategies around it.

As organizations invest deeply into account-based marketing, they will realize that ABM is not just a marketing philosophy or a set of tools but a holistic strategy that can drastically transform a business. The process of defining a core set of target priorities and then building marketing, sales, and technology solutions to surround those targets is challenging and resource-intensive and requires complete commitment. But a companywide approach to ABM is not possible without a single view of the customer. Marketers will move towards smarter measurement systems and implement more efficient tracking for a true account-based approach.

The next steps in marketing transformation

Experts believe that in 2019, marketers will focus on revamping their marketing technology systems and technologies to enable smoother functioning and interoperability. The next chapter in the digital transformation story will feature customer experience management and the next iteration of marketing transformation could very well be a move toward agile.

According to a Gartner survey, 89% of companies are embracing agile in a limited way. Also, less than 25% of companies today embrace a fully agile approach to marketing. In 2019, significant forward momentum is expected in the number of companies shifting to agile marketing practices. While several global corporations have adopted agile in their technology and product development organization in the past, we will now witness an increasing number of embracing agile in the commercial functions of their organizations as well, like marketing and sales.

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Kirsten Oelrich

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Kirsten Oelrich