As we move into 2020 what does the year hold for brands and agencies when it comes to digital and CX? Based on their experience and market understanding, Forrester’s analysts have come together and share their thoughts in the Predictions 2020: On The Precipice Of Far-Reaching Change study.
Success in the age of energy
Essentially, Forrester saw 2019 as the year when brands focused on building their technology foundations to enable them to succeed in an ever-more competitive world. Moving forward the analyst house sees 2020 as being all about energy:
- Consumer energy – consumers are more demanding about the products, services, experience and values of companies they engage with
- Security energy – brands need to cope with a greater threat of cybersecurity breaches/hacks and other risks
- Technology energy – companies need to embrace the rise of automation and master the increasing use of data/AI in business
With the global economy slowing, brands must balance the risks of recession with the potential for breakout growth. All of this means brands will need to focus on adaptability to thrive.
At Kameleoon, we’ve looked through Forrester’s 11 predictions and focused on those that relate most to digital marketers. For ease we’ve grouped them into three areas - consumer-facing factors; technology and skills considerations and the challenges and opportunities of data:
1 Consumer-facing factors
Forrester makes three key predictions in the area of customer experience and customer relations.
The importance of meaning
Firstly, the report highlights that today’s consumers are searching for deeper meaning. They don’t just want to buy goods and services, but want to connect with brands in a more meaningful way. They make their purchasing and loyalty decisions based on whether a brand’s values align with their own – and that it lives up to them in its everyday behavior.
Delivering this meaning begins with understanding and measuring consumer needs and intent. Brands must then be able to react in real-time depending on how this intent evolves. When it comes to the online world, this requires companies to deliver a personalized experience that goes beyond simple segmentation to address people individually.
CMOs rally around customer value
We are now in the age of the customer, where the balance of power has shifted dramatically towards the consumer. This has disrupted traditional marketing, which focused on one-way, mass communication to large audiences.
Instead, brands need to focus on the customer as an individual and build the organization around them and their needs. Marketing needs to be able to differentiate between different groups and deliver a tailored experience across every channel – and this has to be led by CMOs who can drive a customer-centric mindset across their company.
CX continues to split between leaders and followers
While customer experience has never been more important, many brands are still not seeing ROI from their CX programs, due to the complexity of managing and improving customer relationships.
This will lead to 1 in 4 of customer experience executives losing their jobs, primarily at low-performing brands.
Yet at the same time, CX leaders will accelerate, widening the gap between best and worst, with a corresponding impact on revenues.
2 Technology and Skills Considerations
Forrester’s three predictions here all center on the importance of embracing – yet controlling – AI and automation.
CIOs focus on people
The rise of AI and automation doesn’t make people less important – on the contrary, it increases the need for high-end skills. While this applies to the IT team in Forrester’s report, it is equally true of marketing, where AI needs to be supported and controlled by those with strategic understanding and vision.
It is vital to remember AI is just a means to an end, it needs to be deployed to support use cases and meet business challenges, as our blog on measurement outlines.
IT becomes immersive and adaptive
The days of a standalone IT department that was set apart from the business are long gone. Today, successful businesses merge technology (particularly AI) into the whole organization.
We’re already seeing this in marketing, where deploying and mastering an expanding tech stack is crucial to operating effectively at scale. More and more marketing teams now include data scientists, providing the ability to analyze information and take relevant actions in order to meet changing customer needs.
Automation reshapes the workforce
Forrester predicts that overall AI will replace 1.06m jobs in 2020 - but will add 331,000 jobs amongst elite knowledge workers. That means brands need to focus on skills, and in particular the skills that humans do better than AI, such as empathy, intuition and mental agility.
Leaders need to empower their teams to be agile, data-driven and in control of technology, particularly in fast-changing areas such as marketing.
3 The challenges and opportunities of data
Data is the lifeblood of successful businesses - brands realize this but face challenges in using it effectively/legally as Forrester’s final three predictions make clear.
Data strategy unlocks transformation
Businesses are reinventing themselves for the digital world, and data is at the heart of this. Deploying technologies such as AI is pointless if the data it relies upon is inaccurate or incomplete. Organizing your information is vital to digitalization – the old saying, Garbage In, Garbage Out, has never been more relevant.
To underpin this, 40% of organizations will launch data literacy programs to ensure employees have the skills to understand and act on the data they hold. This is particularly key in marketing as decisions are based on fast, effective analysis of the growing volumes of data that brands now have access to.
Data and AI increase security concerns
As mentioned before, security threats will grow in 2020. This falls into two areas – firstly greater reliance on data opens up brands to greater cybersecurity threats, both from existing techniques such as ransomware and new ones such as deep fakes.
Secondly, privacy concerns are increasing. Consumers are becoming more educated about their rights and willing to take action to protect their privacy – Forrester predicts that class-action lawsuits about privacy will increase by 300% in 2020.
Greater regulations around consumer data
As the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) comes into force alongside the GDPR, brands will need to understand and meet greater regulations around consumer data. This will impact multiple areas - for example, programmatic advertising was ruled as not being GDPR compliant by UK data regulator ICO.