CMOs: Are You Ready for CX 2030?

December 10, 2019

By Wilson Raj

Peshkova/Getty Images

Today’s “buyer” is increasingly empowered, more sophisticated and totally immersed in consumer tech. Think iPhones, Alexa, Apple Watches etc. These technologies are upending the way brands and consumers engage and how customer experiences (CX) are created, measured, valued and shared. And the burgeoning use of consumer tech is causing two major strains on brands. First, it’s putting tremendous pressure on the technology needs of marketing organizations. For CMOs, emerging consumer tech is creating a “moving target” problem: it's hard to gain a leading edge on something that’s constantly advancing. And second, there’s a radical change in the consumers themselves. They expect more. Period. They don’t trust brands with their personal data but; yet, they expect brands to anticipate their needs and deliver personalized, targeted communications via their preferred devices.

But all is not lost. A new, global study from Futurum Research “Experience 2030: The Future of Customer Experience” provides insight into the mind of the future consumer and on the actions brands can take now to grow, evolve and thrive — well into the future.

The research found opportunities for brands in several areas, including:

  • Embracing the use of AI-powered automation in customer service operations to streamline processes and serve up better, more rewarding experiences for customers (and employees)
  • Empowering customer service agents to work alongside automation, adding a human element and empathy to customer communications and problem resolution
  • Enhancing CX by creating immersive and dynamic CX moments through the use of emerging tech like augmented and virtual reality


Automating Customer Engagement

The brands surveyed see a massive shift toward automation to improve agility — speedier decision-making and execution. Technology in the form of AI and increased automation will be increasingly available to help make fast decisions across all areas of CX and help with actual customer engagement. To this end, 82 percent of the brands stated that their ability to exceed consumer expectations is tied directly to the ability to capture and analyze data in real time.

Brands predict that by 2030, 67 percent of customer engagement completed between a brand and consumer using digital devices (online, mobile, etc.) that is completed today by human agents will be completed by smart machines. And by 2030, 69 percent of decisions made during a customer engagement today in 2019 by human agents will be completed by smart machines.

By 2030, marketing agility and extreme automation will become the twin pillars of customer experience, helping brands meet the expectations of the consumer. Speed will be a cornerstone and is crucial to creating great customer experiences. Automation will help reduce risk, improve consistency of performance, and increase responsiveness to consumer needs. Will you be ready?


Balancing Technology with Emotions and Purpose

But a word of caution. While automation can provide businesses the agility and speed they need for decision-making and execution, brands must balance the use of smart machines for performance with the empathy that the human element brings to the equation, and they must learn how to balance each within their organizations. Technology, especially if consumer-facing, should be a tool used to augment, not replace, humans.

The heartbeat of modern marketing is data and analytics; but the soul of modern marketing will still be human touch.


A New Operating Model

According to the report, brands are investing heavily in emerging tech to face new realities. For example, 54 percent of brands are investing in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) to help consumers visualize the look or use of a product or service remotely. And 53 percent of brands are pursuing AR/VR tools to improve product use and self-help.

Consumer tech will continue to pervade customer interactions with delivery drones, virtual reality fitting rooms, implantable wearables, and biometric payment systems and such, and brands should embrace it for the opportunities it affords to create immersive, and dynamic CX moments.

CMOs must be able to tie these new technologies to tangible business outcomes so that these new applications will be capable of ingesting, processing, analyzing, designing and deciding how to deliver multi-moment marketing that will continue to resonate into the future.

All these emerging and more complex customer engagement technologies mean that CMOs must re-think their data management proficiency, analytical optimization processes and automated decisioning capabilities.

For instance, effective data management provides the cross-business inputs for identifying consumers, which fuels AI-driven analysis of customer journeys, which then drives real-time recommendations and content, and ultimately optimizes a series of continuous, real-time CX flows that are most meaningful for the consumer.

Today's empowered "new buyer" is capitalizing on numerous immersive digital technologies and exerting tremendous pressure on the technology needs of marketing organizations. The real opportunity lies in CMOs taking strategic ownership of data, analytics and emerging tech components to respond to this new boss.

Wilson Raj is global director of customer intelligence at SAS.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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