Going virtual takes marketers only halfway
Customer experience still needs to be holistic, by connecting via multiple virtual and physical touchpoints.
Whilst technology plays an increasingly bigger role for marketers to easily reach more consumers, meaningful connections are still crucial. In 2017, Scott Anderson, CMO of Sitecore, expects to see game-changing innovation as consumers push digital transformation to new heights. When widespread consumer adoption meets rapid technology evolution, expectations change. He cites a survey by Sitecore and Vanson Bourne, which found that six in 10 consumers expressed a shortfall between their expectations and the experiences that brands deliver.
“Whilst the survey revealed that missed expectations come with such negative consequences like shared complaints and lost business opportunities, 75% also expressed increased loyalty when brands get it right,” he notes. “Innovative brands are – and should – start to leverage on the latest technology to leapfrog old business models and provide enhanced services whilst exceeding consumers’ expectations.”
Immersive videos, Ar, and Vr Smriti Kataria,
director of research and marketing at Near, says that with customers spending more time on devices, and making more decisions on them, there will be an increased focus on driving holistic customer experience through multiple virtual and physical touchpoints. This means, Kataria says, many marketers will invest in data platforms that would enable them to make sense of the massive data available today – and act on it. “Videos will continue to grow through 2017 for the simple reason that they work. What will emerge in 2017 are the new ways of making these videos immersive.
This could vary from streaming them live to creating relevant and engaging video content.”
According to Marta Debellis, Adobe APAC vice president of marketing, technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and machine learning captured the imaginations of marketers globally in
2016 with the introduction of Nintendo’s new AR offering Pokemon Go. “AR and VR will change the way marketers can engage with consumers and drive experiences with what is possible today,” says Debellis. “The challenge for marketers will be to learn how to create content for these formats, to fully leverage the opportunities they offer.”
In addition, Debellis notes, machine learning and data science will offer significant productivity opportunities for marketers, allowing them to focus their time on their overall strategies and away from day-to-day analytics and data management. Debellis notes, though, that whilst data has given marketers the power to demonstrate return-on-investments and drive business growth, it is well worth remembering that creativity still plays a significant role.
Analytical marketing Eva Phua,
marketing director of SAS, says that whilst delivering personalised customer experiences may sound simple, the fact is many organisations are still struggling to get started. “The problem lies with multiple organisational silos, disintegration of online and offline data, rigid customer databases, as well as being locked into inflexible legacy systems – all of which only provides a fragmented view of the customer,” Phua notes. In 2017, analytical marketing will be at the forefront of business growth and soughtafter personalised customer experience growth.
But whilst the use of customer experience-related technology and processes will be a differentiator, delivering superior customer experience isn’t just about deploying machines and implementing systems, Phua notes. “The success of such efforts rely on the people who build and manage these systems,” she says. “We expect to see a higher demand for the marketers who will be able to unite the art and science of marketing, to engage customers the way they want it across multiple channels, devices and media, whilst still respecting the privacy of the customer.”
Apps are apt
The future is mobile and something that marketers will need to continuously consider, says Pamela Knaggs, marketing manager of Skyscanner. “We see this as not only central to our business but to the future of travel planning and booking. Our Travel Content Survey suggests that at least 49% of users in Singapore search for travel content whilst commuting,” she says. It is no longer just about “optimising” your content for mobile, Knaggs says, but the ability to provide customised user experience based on search preferences and integrated with a user’s on-the-go lifestyle. “Based on feedback from customers, we see a preference for integrated apps that can make the experience from search to booking flights, hotels, and cars as easy and seamless as possible.”