Now that the second month of 2016 has come to a close, the year's customer-centric trends and developments are beginning to take form. Let's take a closer look at what February had to offer in terms of the customer experience, from technology to strategy and everything in between.
2016 deemed “the year of CX”
Industry analysts have been discussing the key role of customer experience for years, but a recent article from Forbes contributor Tim Clark officially named CX as the central competitive differentiator in 2016, pointing to Gartner research that supported the claim.
Clark reminded readers that today's customers are multi-device, multi-platform users who expect seamless experiences from their favorite brands. In order to lead their markets in the omni-channel revolution, strategists will have to map the customer journey, elicit user feedback and leverage this data to improve the CX in a targeted, ongoing manner.
Introducing the Chief Customer Officer
The C-suite is filling up with specialized roles, and considering the gravity of the customer experience, it's not surprising to see a CX leader in the boardroom. According to an article from Customer Think contributor Jeanne Bliss, the Chief Customer Officer is becoming a reality for more brands, and there are a few traits that qualify these leaders for the job.
For instance, CCO candidates should be part of the organization prior to their C-suite role. Only an internal member of staff knows nuances of the brand's customer experience and what elements deserve priority. Additionally, a potential CCO must have tangible CX experience, as well as the ability to develop collaborative partnerships within and outside the company.
Retail marketers reveal CX priorities
Every brand has different objectives as they relate to the customer experience, but 2016 is seeing a few common priorities emerge for retail organizations, according to eConsultancy contributor Ben Potter. He highlighted research showing that 25 percent of brands want to make their CX "as personalized and relevant as possible," as 2016 moves forward.
Respondents also wanted to boost the value of their customer experience, make it easy to understand and improve the safety and reliability of the processes. Shockingly, however, less than half of these companies (47 percent) use real customer data to fuel their marketing strategies, meaning that data-centric brands will surely have an edge over the competition.
Smartphone purchases take off
A major shift is occurring with smartphones starting to drive serious mcommerce sales growth. According to eMarketer, more than half (51.2 percent) of customers in the United States will use their smartphones to make at least one purchase by the end of next year. Currently, 50.6 percent of mcommerce sales take place on tablets, proving that customers are already comfortable with making purchases on mobile devices.
But it's not just about comfort, stated eMarketer retail analyst Yory Wurmser. "In order to get people to make purchases on their phones, retailers need to make it as easy as possible for consumers," he said. Now, it's up to CX strategists to understand the needs and intentions of mobile users in order to simplify and streamline mobile purchasing.
Data-driven marketing explodes
There has been a great deal of momentum in the data-driven marketing sphere in recent years, and things and are still building quickly. According to DM News, this market grew 35 percent between the years 2012 and 2014 - an increase of nearly $50 billion. Now, in 2016, the trend continues, as more segments and services emerge from this diverse arena.
The United States is leading the charge in data-driven marketing, setting a "gold standard for digital marketing operations worldwide," according to DM News.
CX leaders target investments
There's clearly a lot of cash being funneled into the customer experience revolution, but many decision-makers are not sure how to invest their money to improve CX outcomes. An article from CMSWire offered some guidance for brands in search of strategic direction. Contributor Antoinette Siu explained that companies must first identify their business objectives, then reflect on how CX investments can help reach those goals. By following the guide laid down in this article, organizations can be more confident in how they spend on the customer experience in 2016.
iperceptions blog article of the month: How programmatic media buying works
Programmatic advertising is reshaping the way digital media inventory is bought and sold and it is growing fast. But with such intense hype and money surrounding programmatic media buying, many of the tactics can be easily misunderstood. This month’s iperceptions blog post from J.F. Houpert helps unpack the different programmatic media buying tactics, their pitfalls and their strengths.
Infographic of the month: Customer experience - the path from fluff to tough
Simply having a CX strategy isn't enough - it needs to be a fully realized set of tools and tactics. In this month's infographic, the Temkin Group reveals the six stages of CX maturity, and maps out how organizations can climb the ladder of customer-centric strategy.