2019 Insights & Predictions in Customer Engagement

By AJ Park, Content Marketing at Urban Airship

The start of a new year is a great time to take a fresh look at your marketing strategy for 2019. Is your martech stack fully equipped to drive results in this ever-evolving digital landscape? Do you have a plan that’s aligned with the latest trends and developments in customer engagement? What are you doing to make sure your brand stands out among the rest?

In this competitive landscape, marketers can’t get too comfortable in thinking they know what their audiences want. Attitudes, preferences and expectations change quickly, so brands need to be diligent in making sure they have the knowledge, resources and tools to not just keep up with the pace, but lead the race.

To help, we’ve gathered insights from marketing experts to understand what brands can expect when it comes to customer engagement in 2019. A few key themes emerged, which we cover in this blog post, as well as let the experts speak for themselves. Get all the insights in our “2019 Insights & Predictions in Customer Engagement eBook.”

Get Personal with AI

In a recent Salesforce survey, 50% of consumers said they are likely to change brands if a company does not personalize its communications with them. But personalizing a message goes way beyond just including someone’s first name in a greeting — it’s sending highly contextual messages to the right person in the right channel at the right time.

To do that at scale, AI is indispensable. “As inboxes, push notifications and social feeds get ever more saturated, brands will use AI to deliver better — not more — customer touches,” says Bateman Group’s Executive Vice President Paula Cavagnaro.

Using AI in marketing is already a growing tactic. In a survey conducted by Quantcast and Forbes Insight, 51% of marketers saw an increase in customer retention after using AI in their marketing efforts. Monte Masters, Executive Vice President of Solutions at Bottle Rocket expects it to continue to grow. “Consumer experiences will continue to be customized with AI, machine learning, and contextually relevant experiences.”

Dig Deeper into Data

From the implementation of GDPR (and soon the California Consumer Privacy Act) to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, 2018 was a year that had brands — and consumers — thinking more carefully about data than ever before. Evaluating which data is needed to create high-value interactions is an important conversation to have — and keep having.

However a brand decides to manage the data, in 2019 it’s imperative brands use it to create more meaningful customer experiences. To achieve that, marketers need to be able to use the data they do have “more quickly and effectively — and use it to predict their customers’ next steps and be there to meet them,” says Urban Airship’s CEO, Brett Caine.

Dan Mortimer, CEO of Red Ant, predicts more brands will dig deeper into data and “focus on delivering personalized experiences in real time as customers increasingly come to expect a personalized service based on intelligent use of their data.

Get Innovative with Voice Integration

2019 will be an even bigger year for voice assistants and smart speakers. eMarketer predicted that 74.2 million people in the U.S. will use a smart speaker in 2019, up 15% over 2018.

More evidence: recently, Amazon announced they sold a total of 100 million Amazon devices and Google revealed that Google Assistant will be available on one billion devices by the end of January 2019.

This year will be about the further advancement of voice-activated technology, especially “using notifications to tie voice and mobile apps together,” according to Tobias Dengal, CEO of Willow Tree. For example, imagine using notifications to tie voice and mobile apps together in one seamless omnichannel experience. You could ask your smart assistant, “Which movies are playing near me?” and then receive a notification from your movie theater app to select and purchase the movie tickets on your phone.

Adam Fingerman, CEO of ArcTouch, agrees that voice integration will be key for 2019. “Creating strong customer bonds through product innovation will be the next big thing — especially voice-based product innovation.”

Bottom line: the possibilities to integrate voice and notifications to make each more useful and effective are virtually endless.

2019 Is the Year to Be Bold

This is the year to be bold. The market isn’t going to be less saturated and the competition around capturing your customers’ attention will grow even more fierce. The brands that stand out will win.

Sylvain Perrier, CEO of Mercatus puts it this way, “Marketers need to stop trying to be just like everyone else. Customers want to engage with you because of your strengths.”

It’s also important to make sure you stay up to speed with your approach to customer engagement. Emily Buckman of Urban Airship says, “Marketers will need to continually evolve their strategies as more channels become mainstream. They’ll need to meet their customers with exceptional experiences for every stage of the customer journey and in every unique channel that consumers want to use.”

So this year, don’t be afraid to go big. Use data to create and send more meaningful, personal messages at each stage of the customer lifecycle. Take advantage of every channel to reach your audience where they are, at precisely the right time. Get creative by integrating what’s new with what’s been proven.

So what will the new year look like for you and your brand? To make 2019 a year of success in customer engagement, focus on personalization and creating memorable experiences for your customers. Use tools like automation and AI, and use data to use them wisely.

Download the eBook to get more of the great thought leadership on customer engagement in 2019.

Originally published at www.urbanairship.com.



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