Unless they live alongside Nasa’s InSight probe on Mars, today’s marketers can’t fail to understand the importance of customer experience; a concept at the very core of industry rhetoric.
With 80 per cent of customers globally saying the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, attaining the ability to treat customers as valued individuals – predicting and meeting their every need to provide seamless interactions across an ever-growing number of channels and devices – is a central goal of brands all over the world. But while marketers rated optimising the customer experience as the most exciting opportunity for 2018 in Adobe’s annual Digital Intelligence Briefing, 2019 will finally be the year brands make the most of the opportunity to take action and put customer satisfaction at the heart of every interaction and decision.
Here are just a handful of ways marketers will drive customer experience improvements over the next twelve months:
Data insight activation
Data is a major asset that drives customer experience, allowing brands to really get to know their customers and engage in the precise targeting of relevant and personalised messaging across multiple channels. Inevitably, 2018 saw marketers paying close attention to their data practises, but as the fog of GDPR compliance clears Lindsay McEwan, VP and Managing Director EMEA at Tealium, believes the regulation is driving positive changes for data-driven customer experience.
“In 2018 the industry witnessed the seeming emergence of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) – designed to enable companies to harness valuable insight from consensually-collated consumer data and facilitate deterministic identity management. The platform can help equip marketers with the means to target consumers with relevant, personalised and convenient messaging – in real time – across all channels: connecting online, offline, mobile or static devices.
Although not strictly a new category in 2018, the rise of the CDP has indicated a fundamental shift in the marketplace. Subsequently, we anticipate that more businesses will employ CDPs in 2019 – not only to handle an explosion in the volume of data – but also to keep up with consumer demand for an exemplary customer service experience, both online and in-store.”
Direct consumer relationships
Delivering exceptional experiences is easier when brands can build meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with their customers, but the dominance of third-party platforms often prevents the necessary one-to-one interactions from taking place. Adam Singolda – CEO of Taboola – suggests that, over the coming months, both brands and publishers will seek to lessen their dependence on the duopoly and, in doing so, will take a more direct role in the customer experience.
“This year, we saw that Google/Facebook continue dominate digital spend. I do think we’re starting to see both advertisers and publishers trying to diversify their dependence on the duopoly and that they will seek more opportunities outside the walled gardens.
For publishers it’s more important than ever to own direct relationships with audiences. Publishers especially are looking for new ways to provide value through not only quality content but subscriptions, events and other tailored offerings. That need for a personalised relationship by publishers inspired our launch of Taboola News, where we create personalised news feeds wherever users have intention to discover things that are new and interesting, including integration with mobile carriers, OEMs, airports, cars, and others.
Brands on the other hand are beginning to act with content in mind first. It is no longer enough to simply exist; brands need to provide value beyond their specific offering, whether that be through information, advice or entertainment, if they are to reach and engage key audiences.
Perhaps one of the most influential industry developments of 2019 and beyond will be the movement of device manufacturers into content distribution, as they develop new and innovative strategies to give their millions of users the opportunity to engage with content they want.”
Innovative mobile-first interactions
The evolving role of mobile device manufacturers illustrates the power of mobile and the vital role it plays in customer experience. With UK consumers checking their smartphone on average every 12 minutes while awake, and almost two-thirds (62 per cent) saying they couldn’t live without their device, mobile-first interactions are essential in any strategy that puts customer experience at its heart. With developments in mobile technology and infrastructure, there are endless opportunities to create powerful mobile experiences and Luca Mastrorocco, VP Global Sales at Glispa, believes 2019 will be a year when interactive mobile formats will attract consumer attention and drive sales when used as part of multi-channel campaigns.
“Consumers are predominantly mobile-first — with mobile currently accounting for almost half (45 per cent) of all digital ad spend – and this is only set to increase in 2019. Brand advertisers are striving to find effective ways of not just reaching mobile audiences, but also providing experiences that cut through the media mass. See, for example, the huge success of IKEA’s augmented reality app, which allows shoppers to overlay digital images of furniture in their homes before buying. This year we’ve seen similar innovations emerging for apps such as Google Play Instant and, going into 2019, this movement towards interactive experiences will continue. Adoption of playables is also set to rise amongst non-gaming brands at a global level, as they recognise their ability to capture and keep consumer attention.
“Brands must be aware, however, that interactive ads are not enough to drive performance on their own. While highly effective — these ads work best as part of multi-channel and format campaigns. It’s therefore crucial technology vendors act as consultants to brands and consistently provide advice about which strategies to implement for optimal results on mobile and beyond.”
Rather like Nasa’s InSight probe, marketers are venturing into previously unexplored territory where the focus on customer experience isn’t just a concept they pay lip-service to, but something they actually put into action. Through advanced activation of data insight, a renewed focus on mutually beneficial customer relationships, and the inclusion of innovative, interactive mobile ad formats in multi-channel campaigns, 2019 will be the year the industry can finally fulfil its mission to turn the customer experience opportunity into a reality.
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