It's a new year, and the first month of 2016 has already seen a lot of interesting developments in the world of customer experience technology and strategy. CX strategists and advocates will want to know where things are headed as 2016 moves along, so here are a few of the biggest headlines and discoveries thus far.
CMO challenges in 2016
As the go-to leader of customer experience in most business contexts, the chief marketing officer is under the most pressure to realize a brand's CX vision. A piece from CMS Wire contributor Dom Nicastro highlighted some of the biggest CMO predictions for the next 12 months, with some interesting results.
For example, CMOs will have a lot more choice on the marketing technology front, with this industry expanding at an impressive rate. Marketing organizational structures will also grow under the CMO umbrella, meaning that smart delegation and multi-tiered leadership will be new parts of the job description moving forward.
Ad spending goes digital
For a long time, marketers in the United States have funneled the majority of their advertising budgets into search, with the aim of increasing visibility on platforms such as Google. In 2016, however, digital display ad spending will outpace search, according to a recent report from eMarketer.
The study, titled "US Digital Display Advertising Trends: Eight Developments to Watch for in 2016," revealed that display ad expenditure will total $32.17 billion this year - nearly $3 billion more than spending on search-based advertisements. This means that brands will have to redirect their market research efforts to the domain of display, while keeping a firm grip on their current search best practices.
The concept of personalization is deeply embedded in customer experience strategy, but a MyCustomer article from Srinath Sridhar explained that a new standard of personal CX is about to take the stage. What he calls "hyper-personalization" will bring an ever more customized and targeted experience to modern consumers.
Through the use of attribute analysis (highly detailed demographic mapping) and event sequence analysis (advanced customer life cycle tracking), today's marketers will soon have an unprecedented level of data to help target their messages. For now, brands must develop reliable channels of information to craft these models.
CES 2016 offers marketers value
While the Consumer Electronics Show is largely focused on raw innovations within the tech sphere, an article from CMO took a closer look at this year's event, viewing the major product categories through the lens of the customer-centric marketer.
The article highlighted developments in artificial intelligence, smart homes, automobiles and virtual reality, pinpointing how marketers can utilize each technology to their advantage. New surfaces, inputs and opportunities for personalization will all play into the next decade of marketing, thanks to these advancements.
Retailers face high return rates
The height of 2015 holiday season may be over, but according to Retail Touch Points, research from Retale showed that nearly a quarter (24 percent) of consumers are returning and exchanging their gifts. Customers stated that they either had no use for the item, found the product to be defective or simply preferred store credit.
While this only represents a 3 percent increase in returns from last year, far more of these transactions are taking place in the digital domain due to the widespread e-commerce boom.
This brings an entirely new set of challenges to retailers that operate large online stores, introducing issues with shipping, inventory tracking and other key elements of the customer experience. Brands able to deliver a truly hassle-free return process will likely see an uptick in business when next year's holidays come around.
Social media is now essential
The modern customer experience is multi-faceted by nature, and a recent article from Forbes highlighted the pivotal role of social media in this mix. Contributor Daniel Newman asserted that social media platforms are a key tool in the development of brand culture and the overall CX perception.
With the majority of the adult population using social media on a regular basis, it's not surprising that consumers have heightened expectations for brands operating in this arena.
Newman also offered a variety of guidelines and pro tips that should help any organization make the most of social. He emphasized respect for the audience, personalized messaging and responses to customer inquiries and comments. This should provide some much-needed direction for CX advocates on social media.
Infographic of the month: The ROI of customer experience
Strong customer experience has been framed by many as a key success factor, but what does a customer-centric strategy really mean for a company's bottom line? An infographic from the Temkin Group introduced some groundbreaking findings this month, proving that a better CX does in fact lead to increased buyer retention, more new sales and an overall improvement on marketing impact.
The graphic also examined the value of customer experience across a wide array of industries, revealing that the power of CX is truly universal.
iperceptions blog of the month: Top 5 customer experience trends for 2016
Predictions are a dime a dozen at the beginning of every new year, but only iperceptions could deliver a forecast pinpointing the major trends in customer experience technology and strategy. Co-founder Duff Anderson highlighted five developments that are sure to make an impact this year, including mobile maturity, advanced personalization, Internet of Things expansion and intelligent retargeting.
Anderson also emphasized the importance of customer experience analytics in the coming 12 months and provides a summary of his major points at the end of the post to point CX leaders in the right direction.