Every year around this time, marketers and business leaders use data to plan their upcoming year. It’s a time of embracing change. That’s a good thing because there are a lot of major changes on the horizon. The future of marketing is not set in stone but based on these five statistics, you can bet it's going to be radically different from anything we’ve experienced before.
1. 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services
This insight from Salesforce's 2018 State of the Connected Customer report places marketing's role on equal footing with a brand's products and services. For many brands, marketing is traditionally viewed as the department that creates ads, posts on social media, and generates leads. But now brands must face the reality that there is no demand for their messages. The future of marketing lies in an experience-focused world, which means marketing must take on a new functional role and definition. Marketers must become the owners and sustainers of the customer experience from awareness to advocacy.
The focus on consistent experiences across the entire lifecycle also leads to greater revenue for businesses. A study by Watermark Consulting, looking at brands that focus on experience, found there to be a dramatic impact. Over a seven-year period, the stock price of auto insurance companies that focused on customer experience outperformed the Dow Jones Property and Casualty Index by 129 points. Experience-focused companies also outperformed customer experience laggards in their auto insurance vertical by three times. Even more compelling, this finding held true for 200 companies in more than a dozen sectors covered in the study.
For marketers, it's important to understand that experiences are a pathway to greater revenue.
2. 54% of high-performing marketing organizations lead customer experience across the business
The future of marketing lies in a radical change where marketing owns all experiences, from the first touch, through the sales, product, support, and advocacy experience. Marketing must become the bridge builder between all experiences and, to even begin to accomplish this, it means there must be a shared view of the customer – getting that accomplished is the near future for most brands.
3. Brands will use 45 data sources by 2025 to create cohesive experiences
The average marketing organization currently uses 14 data sources, and that number grows by about 20% year-over-year. By 2025, we should expect to see brands using 45 data sources, on average, if this trend continues.
It is no surprise marketers have access to more data; however, the future of how marketers use it will be very different. As the number of data sets grows and AI becomes more prevalent, many marketing tasks will simply fade away (e.g., persona development).
It is very likely that by 2025 you’ll no longer create personas, lists, or segments but will instead rely on data and AI to do that work for you. Smarter technology will provide a nearly infinite array of segments, empowering you to personalize marketing efforts and identify trends you may not have noticed before.
4. By 2025, 95% of all consumer interactions with a brand will be via artificial intelligence (AI) as it becomes a standard consumer application
It has been said that all great technologies fade into the background. Expect this to happen to artificial intelligence.
First, this means you have to prepare for new consumer habits, such as voice. Voice isn't a standalone technology. There are massive amounts of AI behind the scenes analyzing your voice, connecting your question to an answer, and delivering it back to you in dialogue.
Beyond voice, you have to realize consumers actually like your brand to have AI, such as in chatbots. A 2018 study found both Millennials and Baby Boomers think chatbots are the most effective way to get the answers to simple questions and get connected to the correct person to solve their issue.
Within the next five years, you should expect each person to have a personal bot, which will reach out to your site or your brand's bot to ask questions.
5. In 2018, only 25% of marketers were confident in their reporting ability
With the rise of data and AI, reporting will also change rapidly in the future. Just as the definition of marketing will make a radical change, so too will reporting. Reporting has long been focused on producing revenue, which makes sense why we see 72% of marketers focusing on revenue to show the value of their efforts. The focus on revenue isn't wrong; rather, it is difficult to pinpoint a specific marketing action and its effect on revenue given the complexities of modern marketing.
For instance, the average brand uses 12 tools and 14 data sets to create a cohesive customer experience. Not all of those tools communicate together or share data, making it very difficult for marketers to have a clear picture. High-performing marketing organizations have found better ways to showcase their value using three reporting methods: pipeline reports, satisfaction scores, and lifetime customer value.
For a deep dive into future predictions of marketing and what the next five years hold for data use, watch our webinar The Future of Marketing: 2019 Edition.