At RRD, we’re fortunate enough to sit right at the intersection of digital marketing and customer experience. Knowing that, clients will ask for our thoughts on digital marketing trends in 2018 and whether or not they should influence their CX strategy this year or next.
It’s a welcomed request and one that brings our research and CX teams together to talk about where things are in digital marketing and where they’re headed. Here are six trends on our radar for 2018 … There’s a good chance they should be on yours as well.
CX Strategy & Digital Marketing Trends
Demand for video integration
There’s a reason nearly 50% of marketers planned to add YouTube to their strategies in 2017. According to Google, 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index reports that in just a few short years, the internet’s video traffic is expected to be over 80% of all consumer internet traffic.
Yes, all roads lead to making video a key player in your marketing strategy moving forward.
Yes, all roads lead to making video a key player in your marketing strategy moving forward. We’re seeing successful brands (no matter the industry) recognize high-quality video as a visually rich platform to connect with customers. Paired with an on-screen call to action, video of that best-selling product or new-to-market service is not only compelling, but delivering better ROI.
Consumers are smart, not to mention impatient. That’s enough to make any chatbot (developer) sweat. And while consumers would rather connect with your company via live chat, chatbots do score major points when it comes to any-time, any-place accessibility.
An Oracle survey revealed most customer-facing businesses (80%) expect to have some sort of chatbot automation in place by 2020. The major question surrounding this support feature is no longer “how fast can we get it up and running?” Instead, it’s “how can it improve our customer experience?”
Going forward, you’ll see more brands take the necessary steps (e.g., usability testing) and time to ensure chatbots are properly designed to be helpful and conversational, rather than a nuisance or quick fix.
Tracking micro interactions
Back in 2015, Google first called out micro interactive elements as “micro-moments.” These experiences were defined by your customer’s expectation to access relevant information instantly using their smartphone. Today, brands need to get even more granular.
Going forward, it will be critical to take stock of micro interactions — e.g., expanding product descriptions, choosing a rating, and even hovering over links — because these inconspicuous details provide instant, positive feedback that an action was completed. This is so important to the experience. Brands prioritizing micro interactions when development starts (despite tight timelines) will find themselves light years ahead of the competition.
Personalization via machine learning
I recently read a stat that 94% of senior-level executives believe personalization is important (even critical) for reaching customers. I know; it feels like businesses have been trying to get personalization right for a long time.
For 2018, this perennial “trend” is still a must for brands interested in showing customers why you matter in their lives. However, this time around basing the user experience on the user doesn’t seem so far out of reach thanks to emerging technologies, i.e., machine learning.
For the growing number of marketers buying into this AI application, the return on this investment is yielding some pretty great results: a deeper dive into data stockpiles, valuable predictive analytics, and, ultimately, the automated generation of personalized content.
Whether on mobile or desktop, consumers aren’t dialing back expectations for more intuitive, more focused, more consistent experiences. This means interfaces across the board need to get better at saving the user time and reducing user error. Frictionless design will continue to lead the way in making that happen.
Whether on mobile or desktop, consumers aren’t dialing back expectations for more intuitive, more focused, more consistent experiences
It’s no longer breaking news that most consumers scan content, so don’t be surprised to see a redesign surge that favors stripping things down to the bolts even more to promote laser focus on areas that matter most. In fact, 2018 will most likely be a year that reinforces there’s no such thing as too much white space.
Brands currently maximizing white or negative space are moving their CX needle in a positive direction thanks to reduced distractions, lowered user cognitive loads, and improved user focus.
Virtual reality R&D
According to a recent PwC forecast, online video will overtake gaming as the largest segment of virtual reality (VR) by 2019. By 2021, the consumer VR market will generate more than $15 billion in revenue — with an expected 257+ million VR headsets in use by then.
While the talk around incorporating VR into a number of environments (from brand experience to assisting the sales process) will inevitably get louder, executing the technology effectively for widespread adoption is still a speck on the horizon.
Dedicating hours to understanding where VR fits — if it fits — in the brand experience will be crucial.
The main question chief marketing officers and chief experience officers will be asking for the foreseeable future: “Is it right for us?” Dedicating hours to understanding where VR fits — if it fits — in the brand experience will be crucial. Fortunately, in the coming year, significant strides in defining best practices in VR design will likely emerge. From stakeholders to service providers, the growing industry will ultimately help the C-suite engage in more meaningful discussions about this fascinating technology.
Beyond trends: create best-in-class CX now and forever
Digital marketing trends come and go. But when it comes to your brand’s customer experience, the reality is seamless sells — and that won’t change anytime soon.
In 2018, set better expectations for future interactions with your brand. Provide your customers with more learnable experiences, no matter the channel. Ensure task completion is faster and more efficient in order to achieve seamless CX optimization, regardless of the channel.
Cathy Zapata is the chief experience officer at RRD Marketing Solutions.
If you’d like to speak with a CX expert about conducting a cross-channel audit — or need help getting executive buy-in for one — please contact us.
This post was originally published December 4, 2017.