June 4, 2019
Customer Journey Marketing Trends for 2020
Martech is evolving at the speed of light, and individual disciplines are dissolving into a singular customer journey centric focus. Traditional product-focused marketing will take a back seat while the trends of 2020 will be more reflective of customer needs and experiences.
2020 is set to be an exciting year!
Trend #1: customer experience (CX)
Of course, when we're talking customer-centric, CX is front and center. With the rising popularity of customer journey mapping, conversion rate optimization, and digital analytics, CX has become a discipline that's on most marketer's radars.
Within the CX realm, 2020 will see more marketers focusing on:
- Fast, real-time experiences: the appetite for instant gratification is stronger than ever. Customers are expecting quick load time and responsive websites. In fact, a recent study by Google shows that 53% of mobile users will leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load — and I am one of them.
- Mobile-first: most marketing teams have caught onto the mobile-first trend, which by now, is less a "trend" and more of an industry standard. Mobile optimized websites are a standard route, but there's still more to do — AMPs (accelerated mobile pages), PWAs (progressive web apps), m-commerce, and SMS marketing are all increasingly important for reaching customers. If you haven't started optimizing for mobile yet, the time is now.
- Personalization: a key selling point of marketing automation software and autonomous marketing, personalization isn't a new trend, but it is an important one. Marketers’ personalization efforts are likely to become increasingly sophisticated in 2020, with every aspect of the customer experience becoming tailorable on a 1:1 level.
- Conversational user experience: the rise of voice search, chatbots, and next-best-action methodologies have all contributed to one important thing: conversational UX. A conversational approach to UX goes beyond design and looks at ways to smooth out the interactions between humans and technology — critical for a customer-centric digital experience.
#2 Content marketing, AGAIN
Content has been marketing's poster child year-on-year for a reason: it drives ROI. Its popularity is reflective of the rise of inbound marketing, and the fact that it's accessible to any business doesn't hurt either.
Top marketing teams are using content to drive organic search traffic to their website, but they're not stopping there. Really good content strategies support messaging across all touchpoints in the customer lifecycle, making content a fountain of value that can be continuously tapped into.
Just like in recent years, content in 2020 will be essential to drive visibility and convert leads.
#3 Say hello to improved AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence is continuing to make an impact in every part of modern society, and of course, marketing is no exception. Expect more efficient data analysis, predictive analytics, and improved optimization across the board.
The most exciting (and useful) part of AI is its ability to help bridge the gaps between data silos contained in digital channels and platforms. With AI systems interconnected across every part of the customer journey, data orchestration, experience architecture, and marketing logic will all become more practical to manage.
Considering the sheer scale of the customer journey (even today), AI will be a critical element for reaching customers on a 1:1 basis.
#4 Marketing automation and email marketing aren't going anywhere
Marketing automation and email marketing are still the powerhouses they've always been. They're super effective for B2C and B2B marketing — it's as simple as that.
Email hasn't changed much (and honestly, won't), but will become more central to enabling AI to perform its magic. For organizations that can't afford advanced AI options, marketing automation software is still extremely effective for improving the relevance, timing, and frequency of email communications. This leads to more personalized, more customer-centric emails.
According to a report by Forrester, spending on marketing automation is expected to grow to $25.1 billion per annum by 2023. So it's safe to say that it's here to stay.
#5 Big data is getting bigger
The tech and marketing industries have been going on about "big data" and "data-driven marketing" forever. And that's fair enough, since big data is a big deal.
In 2020 and beyond, data needs to be the operating system of your business. Without data, you don't know anything about your customer. And if you don't know anything about your customer… well… good luck creating customer-centric experiences.
Big data is only getting bigger, so there will be an increasing need for data skills in every business. Data scientists, digitally-driven marketers, and CTOs are all are looking towards a future dominated by information. Some data considerations in 2020 include:
- Data privacy: customers and organizations are more focused on privacy than ever. Just look at the GDPR and CCPA
- Machine learning: business leaders are always looking for ways to make insights from data better, and more actionable
- Data integration: there will be an increase in efforts to marry quantitative, qualitative, online, and offline data to create a complete picture of the customer
- Data security: data breaches are extremely damaging — not only to businesses and their customers, but also to the industry as a whole. Data security will continue to be paramount for the continued growth of data-driven marketing