Aside from what I hope to be a much less absurd political cycle, 2020 is shaping up to be a landmark year, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. Their latest report highlights the intersection between technologies and customer trends and the ways in which 499 CMOs and senior marketing executives plan to shape their next four years.
The report, The Path to 2020: Marketers Seize the Customer Experience, has a section titled “Personalisation at Scale,” which I found was incredibly validating. Mid-way through the report, that section details marketers’ agreement that personalization across touchpoints is earning recognition as an essential feature for marketing departments. By now we know that relevant content and responsive communications aren’t just good ideas, they’re expected by the customer. Therefore personalization will continue to offer a bridge between the customer and the brand wherein timely, relevant content is welcome and actionable.
But what I found remarkable was the speed at which everyone was transitioning their focus from traditional, mass marketing and publishing to customizable channels like social media, because technologies inevitably differ in their delivery of personalization. Whether marketers reach out through media channels, email, mobile or traditional advertising like print or TV, they’ll be aiming to deliver branded messages to multiple audiences—not the same message though.
When they were asked about the top three channels in which customers experience their brand’s marketing efforts today, connected media like the internet, social media and email took the top spots. When asked the same question, but focused on the year 2020, marketers put an emphasis on the importance of social media while the internet declined. They state, “By 2020, mobile apps and mobile web will overtake e-mail as a top channel to the customer… this suggests that by 2020, the top three channels to the customer will be those that focus on personalization and engagement.”
Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication, will be essential to the growing priorities of mobile and social media. It’s preferences that will be able to drive the customization and personalization of your brand’s communications. Without customers’ preferences, we’ll struggle to identify which customers are opted-in to what channels and why.
Incredibly sophisticated preference management is possible, and it’s on the horizon for more and more marketers, but if you’re not using preferences yet, you should get started now. Before you know it, it will be 2020—and some people are already have their game plans together.