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Exploring customer experience management at Adobe CXM Space 2020

  • Posted on January 14, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Exploring customer experience management at Adobe CXM Space 2020

On January 23rd, I will be attending Adobe‘s CXM Space in Amsterdam, a half-day conference dedicated to the latest trends in digital marketing and customer experience management where Avanade will have a booth at the event. We’re also excited to have Avanade Netherlands’s Robbert Jacobs on-site presenting on the massive success of one of Spain’s leading ecommerce fashion companies. All of this got me to thinking about past and future technology predictions. 

The doomed martech predictions of the 2010s
But first, let’s look back at the tech predictions from a decade ago. In case you forgot, this is what technology looked like in 2010: The iPhone was already three years old but the iPad was brand new, Facebook was celebrating its sixth birthday, and Instagram was born. Much of what characterizes the technology and marketing landscape today had not yet been created, nor even conceived. But many big marketing tech predictions made in 2010 feel like nonsense today. I would like to take a look at some of them, because it is interesting to see why things did not develop the way trends predicted:

Trend 1: When was the last time you scanned a QR Code?
Let's start directly with a firecracker. The QR code made the promise of linking offline and online, but it turned out to be a spectacular flop and hasn't been able to spread its wings globally. If we look at China or Southeast Asia today, we can see the potential of QR codes. Here, they are used for everything from convenient mobile payments to brand activation and app installations. Meanwhile, in the West, only a few smartphones had a built-in QR code reader on board for the 2011 launch, but with a lot of pressure QR codes were placed everywhere. However, no one knew how to use them, neither users nor marketing strategists. The mobile web was still too much in its infancy, so the benefit for users was only marginal.

Trend 2: Have you ever worn augmented reality glasses?
Another super trend with a superflop was the prediction, "Augmented reality (AR) will be part of our everyday life." There were a lot of expectations and predictions about how this technology, through devices like Google Glass and others, would project augmented digital reality with an interactive dimension in front of all our faces. As a niche phenomenon, AR has established itself in the marketing of cosmetics companies, for example, to virtually try out make-up looks. Museums also set up virtual exhibition rooms and use the bulky face masks, for example, to recreate living situations from the 1930s. Despite some nice use cases, AR is still a long way from a marketing revolution.

Trend 3: Do you talk to your devices?
The next promised starter that hasn't picked up much is voice marketing. Intelligent speakers and voice-controlled devices have not yet grown beyond attractive novelties. For a voice revolution, consumers need to be offered more than just a slightly more convenient way of making a shopping list, for example. Perhaps one inhibitor is that users are not confident enough to speak loudly in public, but strong concerns about security and privacy have also developed, and simply no benefits are available through established use cases for this technology. Despite the large number of brands and agencies that are working on this issue, the technology fails to deliver any results. Voice marketing is not living up to its promise of being an integral part of the human-brand relationship.

Trend 4: Where do you shop online, but not in social media?
"The next big thing" is a phrase that promises a lot, attracts a lot of attention. It has also been used to describe social commerce. Numerous marketing forecasts of the last decade revolved around the merging of social media and commerce. Attempts have been made, such as Facebook Marketplace or "buy" buttons on platforms like Twitter and Pinterest. None have rocked. Interest went up after the release and faded away quickly. Maybe it was because the services were not developed end-to-end, so a buyer on Facebook Marketplace had to arrange a transaction privately, and there was no built-in payment mechanism until the advent of Facebook Pay in 2019. In addition, companies often copied their own official online shop 1 to 1 on Facebook. In this way, a user does not receive any added value, individual experience or emotional connection. No, this forecast was not "the next big thing" either.

Marketing technology predictions for the 2020s
What will be groundbreaking in the next ten years? I looked around, and here’s what I think.

Trend 1. Customer understanding becomes even clearer, enabling effective marketing
As social commerce has shown, it is becoming increasingly important for users to have smooth and well thought-out customer experiences. "Effective marketing" is key. People are at the center of the technology strategy, highlighting important aspects - what customers, employees or stakeholders want. It is not sufficient to make marketing decisions based on experience alone; customer requirements are so ambivalent and changeable that they have to adjust and get served on demand.

The approach to focus on people will be successful, but it requires a service level of the highest possible standard. If this is not offered, the user will find it elsewhere and be lost as a customer. This requires customer platforms that can: collect data from all touchpoints (on and offline), associate everything with customer or interest records, use clever algorithms to identify patterns in them and thus optimize the efforts of marketing and sales. The challenge will be how brands deal with the power of data-driven decisions.

Trend 2: Data protection awareness increases, creating opportunities
Data protection has been a hot topic for years, but only will it really gain momentum and, above all, bring powerful business benefits. People are increasingly aware of the loose handling of their data by social networks, technology giants and services. This inevitably leads to a growing awareness of privacy issues. On the one hand, customers will be more willing to make their behavioral (but also sensitive) data available for relevant purposes and thus for more personalization, simply because otherwise they will soon no longer be able to orient themselves securely in the digital universe due to the incredible mass of information.

Furthermore, users are increasingly frustrated by the inconvenience of free, advertising-based services. The price to be paid in the form of data protection violations with an overload of advertising messages will increasingly appear unacceptable. It can therefore be expected that customers‘ willingness to pay will increase across a wide range of services and applications. Legally, new regulations with stricter requirements and higher penalties will undoubtedly come into force in the coming years. Therefore, those companies working to reach the transparency threshold will gain by ensuring that they can explain why they collect and share certain data and that they can demonstrate that they have properly asked consumers for permission and informed them about data collection and processing.

Trend 3: The possibilities of automation become even more extensive
The technology trend of automation, already in Era 1, will go even further, and hyperautomation will surpass this by far. There should be a growing performance thanks to a combination of multiple machine learning, process mining, decision management, software packages and automation tools for work processes. Everything that can be automated will be automated. Processes of discovery, analysis, design and mapping will be made possible with a wide range of automation mechanisms. The basis of artificial intelligence (AI) will play a role almost everywhere where software is used. Development is already underway and even if some efforts currently still sound like fantasy, there will be an increase of technologies that perform processes and actions without human input.

Trend 4: The capabilities of technologies get closer and closer to those of humans
The use of different devices and apps is taken for granted by consumers, just as no distinction is made between online and offline touchpoints. The possibilities shape the expectation. As Gartner predicts,"Multiexperience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology.“ This will be compounded by a phenomenon known as "multiexperience" created by ultisensory and multi-touchpoint interfaces such as wearables (computer technologies that you wear on your body) and advanced computer sensors. Any media should merge into omni-channel user interfaces driven by creative marketing and experience creation. The multi-technology experience for the user should combine intensively and thus offer completely new possibilities for customer interaction.

Trend 5: Blockchain shifts from the basis of a non-controversial form of currency to a real benefit
Blockchain is also to become an exciting area. There will be useful applications for block chain technology beyond crypto-currency. For example, in the areas of food safety, intellectual property and license fees as well as asset management. 2020 could be the beginning of the true rise of block-chain-as-a-service, through precise targeting, increasing supply chain transparency and reducing counterfeiting and fraud. This is expected to offer a huge advantage, especially at a time when consumers are increasingly concerned not only about the quality of products but also about the integrity of the company and the processes that produce them.

Digital transformation is about more than the sum of its technological parts. Customer understanding and empathy is first and foremost a skill that marketing professionals must have. With this knowledge, strategic objectives and creative concepts can then be approached to ensure the best user and customer experience (UX/CX) for people.

I am curious to see how I will think and write about these visions in 2030.

If you’ll be at the Adobe CXM Space event in Amsterdam on 23 January, come by the Avanade booth and let’s talk about the next wave of digital experiences, and how marketing automation will play a role.

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