5 DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE & MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2021

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5 DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE & MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2021
Sinan Günal Sinan Günal |
Managing Partner
|

COOKIELESS WORLD: THE END OR THE BEGINNING?

2020 was a year of many debates on the future of third-party cookies. At one side, although technology platforms & “Big Tech” seemed to cooperate with the industry, they are clearly reluctant to be a part of an overall solution. On the other end, advertisers & marketers are also hesitant to take action to get out of their comfort zones of using “other peoples’ data” to reach out to audiences to convey their messages.

2021 would be the year to act on this, as only a year after, these comfort zones would vanish by themselves, leaving a big gap in ad targeting capabilities. Brands shall start building up their own data, targeting and omnichannel experience strategies from scratch. Audience targeting must start with first party data of advertisers, but not with “other peoples’ data” as they are used to. The “definition of data” must be restated for all brands, by enriching anonymous and known datasets; i.e. media impressions and clicks must be connected with complaint tickets in customer service or any commercial transaction with the customer. These audience segmentation capabilities should also be converted into targeting efforts, hence “all data collected must be actionable”!

Cookieless world is not the end of advertising! But it is the beginning of a new era for envisioned marketers with versatile advertising technologies. All collected data shall be turned into information and a connected customer experience must be built. 2021 would be an exciting start for this journey.

 

MARKETING OPERATIONS: TIME TO EXCEL IN EXECUTION

It is not only about building brands anymore but bringing in revenue! It is not only about “big ideas” & films, but multivariate execution in all channels!

Marketing was always thought to be an “awareness & brand building” game through “big ideas”, long or short films, creatives & media. Not anymore! Today it is all centered around the “customer” and managing the “experience” they get in all brand touchpoints. Unfortunately, this customer experience is not linear as it used to be, and it is marketers’ job to design and fulfill journeys for segmented audiences to accomplish customer satisfaction in their preferred channel. These segmented audience journey touchpoints include segment-based banners & creatives that they see, personalized emails & push notifications as well as web & mobile experiences, etc. at the same time.

In this complex world, there are multiple versions of creatives, htmls, forms, etc. for a single and simple campaign with a connected data model. Hence, today’s branding elevates with the experience audiences live through in this nonlinear journey.

So, in 2021, it would not only be about using social media creatively or try new platforms like TikTok or shoot great webisodes for your YouTube Channel or have big fat product launches. But it would be marketers’ job to work on this execution-first world in many channels simultaneously, understand the dynamics & process of this operation, develop a multi-skilled team with an understanding of positioning, advertising and technology at the same time rather than only brand marketers. It would be essential to create an ecosystem of AdTech, MarTech and partners (not agencies) to bring more revenue to the company, but not only a reputable brand.

 

EXPERIMENTATION IS A MINDSET, NOT A SCIENCE LAB BOOK

2020 was a very challenging and surprising year for everyone. The burden it brought to all organizations across the world also accelerated “Digital & Marketing Transformation” efforts, where on average, 6 years of leap had happened in just a couple of months, according to a Twilio research.

Consumers quickly adopted to the new reality and digital commerce surged, “everything remote” become the new normal. Hence, ways of engagement with a brand multiplied and once “left-to-death” brand web sites became the portal of freedom for consumers, along with mobile apps and social media.

In 2021, the shift in consumer behaviour will top & main task of a marketer would be to understand this transformation & respond. One important way of achieving this objective is to test many ideas as much as possible in the shortest available time. Testing & experimentation was only a middle school science class task, but now it must be a part of each marketers’ daily life. As technology has already democratized digital experimentation & testing, now it is time for marketers to adopt and create multiple test scenarios and “fall in love with the problems” to discover new insights but not move along with their pre-assumed legacy “beliefs” as solutions to new problems.

 

DIGITAL (e-, m-, s-, v-, …) COMMERCE IS FOR EVERY BRAND: DON’T BE LATE, YOUR COMPETITION IS ALREADY HERE!

The prefix in e-commerce has long been dropped; it is called digital commerce now and it is in every part of our lives! So, the question in 2021 is not if you need to open up an e-commerce site, but the real question is what form of digital commerce better suits to your brand strategy? Should you prioritize social commerce, or is there any outstanding opportunities for you in voice commerce, etc. Last but not least, only selecting the digital commerce platform is not enough but designing the right digital engagement & communications strategy should accompany your digital commerce strategy.

Defining your “Big Data for Marketing” and collecting it from online & offline sources with consent, prioritizing your own data over third-party data sets, segmenting these behaviours into audiences and then streaming these audiences into all engagement channels, either advertising channels or digital commerce platforms, or even a call centre would be the main goal of 2021’s Labrys Modern Marketing 2.0 Framework for all marketers. The main idea would be to create omnichannel experiences and finally engagements with the consumers to not only build your brand, but also drive revenue for your company.

So, 2021 would be the year of “engagement design” with the consumer, regardless of channel! Choose your method, your competition is already there, and you are losing ground!

 

HOW AGILE IS YOUR “CUSTOMER SERVICE” ORGANIZATION?

No doubt, since the beginning of 2020, pandemic has reset usual working habits for all departments, including customer service, and forced all processes to go remote, including problem solving & ticket management. Organizations which had not already invested into new generation & integrated CX solutions with digital customer service strategies before pandemic, were caught flat-footed and did suffer to migrate their customer service operations to remote.

As organizations shift to remote operations, getting information and solving issues can no more be done by calling up the name of the colleague sitting at the next table. Teams needed to discover new methods to collaborate, share data, provide efficient service to their customers by communicating in a virtual space. Automations, cooperation tools, employee coaches and knowledge bases available in the systems, and most importantly, cross-channel data integrated into a unified view of the customer is now more crucial than ever. At the same time, co-browse with customer functions, virtual agents, customer facing knowledge bases are also essential for a smooth customer experience on the flip side of the coin.

In 2021, by bringing right technologies that will help you to collaborate remotely for digital customer service, your organization can transform disadvantage of WFH into an advantage. Change in customer behaviour that brings in remote orders (digital commerce) into picture more & more would also raise customer expectations of an agile service organization that has a unified customer view across channels and a more agile, swift and empowered problem-solving customer service process.

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