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Three data-driven developments that will shape customer experience management in 2023

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Simon Spyer unpacks the growing role that data will play in the customer experience sphere in 2023, and outlines three ways in which it will influence CX in the coming year. 

10th Jan 2023
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With the global economy lurching into recession it’s not too much of a leap of faith to imagine that brands will prioritise performance-led, ROI generative marketing programmes over long-term brand building. More the short than the long of it, one might say.

And in the world of performance, that means data-driven: audience intelligence, precision targeting, personalisation and measurement.

With that as the backdrop, let’s look at what we think are going to be the key data-driven trends next year and why marketers should be on the front foot in thinking about and planning for them now.

1. The rise of the channel planner

It may seem odd to start by focusing on a human skillset when we’re thinking about data-driven trends.

Yet in a world where channels are exploding, data is siloed and martech stacks enable evermore automation, we have to recognise that someone has to be thinking about the overarching customer experience and to be responsible for the orchestration of that experience.

It’s all very well a brand whanging on about its purpose, but how a consumer interacts and participates with that brand is the acid test; it’s the memory of that experience that will determine whether they will buy again let alone trade up, recommend or just passively become dissatisfied.

Ultimately, the consumer doesn’t distinguish between an acquisition campaign, their product experience or the welcome journey that they’ve automatically been enrolled in.

With much of the interaction happening in earned (social) and owned (CRM, loyalty) channels, a rare breed of marketer is needed to design a truly participative experience, remove the barriers to participation, orchestrate that experience across disparate channels, strike the right balance between selling and serving and of course, ensure that it’s all measurable.

Despite what some martech vendors might tell you, that’s not a skillset that can (yet) be delegated to a machine.

Part data strategist, part communications strategy and part campaign manager, this is a skillset that’s going to be increasingly in demand.

2. CDPs come of age

From people to tech. 2022 has seen customer data platforms become mainstream; in 2023 we’ll actually see them delivering value.

For the uninitiated, data-driven marketers have always been chasing the promise of the single customer view: a cohesive dataset pulling together all customer and transaction data and blending it with demographic and attitudinal data that can then be used for analysis and performance marketing.

For scaled businesses, it’s very rare for this to actually be achieved – there will always be a platform somewhere (often customer service) that can’t be integrated or everything happens in batch updates by which time there’s significant latency that reduces the data’s value.

In theory, CDPs enable us to get the right message to the right customer faster.

A customer data platform (CDP) is a modern architecture that makes that dream more realistic with pre-built integrations allowing data to be streamed in close to real time so faster decisions can happen – in theory meaning we can get the right message to the right customer faster. Of course, speed is sometimes important.

With the post-cookie era looming and a greater focus on well-permissioned first party data, CDPs have found increasing demand.

In too many instances, adoption has been driven by IT departments rather than marketers. But, however they have come to be adopted, they are here and a valuable enabler for any performance strategy.

In 2023 we’ll see more marketing-led use cases for CDPs and a greater blurring of lines between marketing and product teams as CDPs allow more targeted, more personalised interactions.

3. Metaverse gets measurable

Is it gaming? Is it retail? Is it a fusing of on-and offline worlds? In 2022, more than enough has been written about what the metaverse is or isn't, its potential and who will be the true first mover.

While no one has got all of the answers to these questions it’s indisputable that the metaverse is an emerging channel and one that brands are sinking billions of marketing dollars into. With this level of investment and experimentation it’s not unreasonable to expect that data will need to be analysed and a ROI on that investment reported.

What’s indisputable, is that the metaverse is an emerging channel that brands are sinking billions of marketing dollars into.

At a tactical level, as brands test and learn with metaverse experiences they will need to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. I’d expect brands to be asking questions and setting targets around reach, engagement and the extent to which they are monetising that participation either through sales conversion or demonstrably improving brand health metrics.

But the strategic level is where this gets really gnarly and interesting. The consumer spending a few hours ‘metaversing' is the same consumer sharing their experience on TikTok or purchasing the real product in the retail store. In other words, it's all part of an overarching brand experience and how that gets measured and evaluated is going to be critical – and a little daunting.

Enter the channel planner and the CDP, and 2023 holds the tantalising promise of this being more than the art of the possible.

 

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