News Feature | December 11, 2017

2018 Will Be The Year Of Digital Customer Experience

Shoppers Satisified WIth Online Shopping Experiences

New Year will see CMOs scale up, integrate, and transform to become customer-centric.

The key digital trends of 2017 are a harbinger of things to come in 2018 and beyond. Increased adoption of mobile, video and over-the-top devices are poised to continue to transform how media is consumed and monetized, while in the digital world, consumers are increasingly controlling the flow of content and brand engagement, driving content owners to weigh subscription, ad-based and hybrid models as well as alliances with digital heavyweights such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.

Meanwhile, digital marketers and agencies are ramping investments in automation and programmatic platforms to power data-driven customer experience (CX). These trends will create high-growth business opportunities in advertising technology (ad tech), marketing technology (martech) and digital marketing services in 2018 and through 2021.

A new report from Technology Business Research, Inc. (TBR) has found that enterprises now accept digital as the new normal for customer experience (CX) and will rapidly scale up, integrate and transform to become customer-centric businesses. Beginning in 2018, TBR projects, CMOs will begin to radically change how their enterprises engage with buyers and clients by scaling up and integrating their advertising technology (ad tech), marketing technology (martech) and sales tools to improve engagement and demonstrate the revenue lift they can attribute to campaigns. This shift will put more power in the hands of CMOs, enabling them to become the chief customer officer with purview across the customer life cycle.

Among the report’s predictions are:

  • The rise of Artificial Intelligence and Data integrations to drive marketing in the moment. Driven by the expansion of data available to marketers and the advancement of machine learning, marketing measures will be able to better target and contextualize communications, resulting in the reshaping of the martech landscape via the next generation of software. Embedded into omnichannel marketing applications, these smart applications will engage consumers in specific contexts where conversions occur. According to TBR, “The key to the investment is the need to convert advertising and marketing spend into revenue.”
  • The dawn of the machine driven marketing is here, with platform agnostic services vendors set to succeed. As consumerization of business applications creates a conduit for automation-enabled marketing services, driven by an increase in voice enabled and AI systems and platforms that enable cross-channel customer data integration, interoperable, scalable and compliant customer data will help boost front, mid-, and back-office processes transformations. This will compel vendors to invest in process engines augmenting human service delivery and offering price competitive, secure advertising and marketing campaigns.

Among the digital trends to watch in 2018 include the rise of chatbots in customer service; voice-first interactive platforms that allow customers to go hands-free; the rise of artificial intelligence that can deliver more personalized customer experiences; the increased integration of Augmented Reality; and the shift from TV spend to Social Ad spend.

Chatbots are powerful tools because they can fulfill simple orders, provide customized help, and send automated messages to check up on customers. Since 2016, a number of major brands have released their own chatbots for messaging apps with positive results. Ninety percent of consumers globally want to use messaging to interact with businesses. It is estimated that by 2019, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service will mostly write scripts for chatbot interactions.

When it comes to voice-first platforms, it is estimated that by 2020, dialogue-based information platforms like Google Home and Amazon Echo will likely become more popular, and 20% of all smartphone interactions will be completed via a virtual personal assistant. Zero-touch user experiences will also be available across two billion devices and Internet of Things programs.

By 2021, an estimated 30% of net new revenue growth from industry-specific solutions will include AI technology. These tools will allow companies to run virtual assistants, gather predictive insights, and automate programs and machines for more personalized and effective customer service experiences.

Also, by 2021, an estimated 100 million consumers will shop using augmented reality, as more retailers actively incorporate the technology into their stores to make the buyer journey even more seamless and intuitive.

Social media advertising allows marketers to reach targeted audiences on their favorite platforms at just the right time.  Digital ad spend overtook TV ad spend for the first time in 2016, and that gap in spending is expected to widen.