This year, looking for inspiration, I decided to crack open one of my older articles and discovered something unsurprising: I am very bad at predicting trends. That’s my disclaimer. Perhaps this will be the spanner that breaks the machine of poor prediction. We’ll see.
What is interesting to me is the proliferation of the idea of ‘customer experience’ across almost all industry verticals. It’s gone from being a catchphrase to a philosophy to a dedicated set of processes and methodologies to build customer journeys that are efficient, saving the customer time and the business money.
As far as marketing goes, we’re going to see agencies either embrace CX in full or ignore it completely.
The agencies that embrace it will shift away from labelling and siloing their services (ATL, BTL, SEO, and other acronyms) and start offering solutions that close loops and create relationships with the customer.
The other kind of agency will not exactly fail and die; they’ll just struggle a little.
Brands are increasingly facing complex challenges that require complex solutions; solutions that require due diligence, collaborative processes, and an agency divorcing itself from up-sell and cross-sell and instead moving into developing approaches that can scale upwards and downwards with ease.
What we’ll also likely see is a more long-term view when it comes to planning and expectations.
I’m being asked less and less for quick-win campaigns and more and more for plans that will extend well beyond 2023. This is heartening.
While the expectation for incremental growth is still there, brand teams are starting to look at the bigger picture. Best of all, the crystallising of what CX actually means has shifted us into a space where saying things like “we build relationships with our customers” actually begins to mean something because we finally have the tools and the mindset to accomplish that goal.
In a tougher economic climate, we’ll see budget cuts like never before. But with those budget cuts, we’ll hopefully see a rethink in approaches to communication.
A team that thinks less budget means less ad placements is a team that’s already failed. Hopefully, we’ll shift from a space of quantity to one of quality, and in so doing, we will all benefit, especially our customers.
What are the new technologies that will matter?
I can’t tell you what they are, but I can tell you what they’ll do. Any technology that improves a customer’s experience is a winner.
In my mind (and here’s the part where I may be a little bit contentious), that excludes the metaverse, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies.
Unless these technologies start delivering something that helps people make better decisions and get better assistance, they won’t make a difference. The metaverse is certainly making strides, but it’s still not there.
As I said, my stab at recognising trends is often amiss, but I think I’ll stand by my take on CX. I really don’t see any other way we could make 2023 a successful year if we don’t embrace it.