Flashy predictions and trends are commonplace in the new year, as consumer spending is assessed and marketers attempt to determine the best paths forward towards revenue and growth. This year, we introduce unPredictions: a set of commerce priorities to help marketers cut through the noise and develop the strategies they really need to quickly build, launch and scale personalized campaigns that will drive results for their businesses.
Priority 1: Email - Personalization with context
The “death of email” has been predicted for years, but the channel is alive and well. In fact, a consumer research study conducted for Emarsys by Opinion Matters, shows nearly half (46%) of respondents said email was their preferred form of contact with the closest alternative coming in the form of text messages (16%).
It takes more than a preferred method of communication, however, to truly connect with customers. Personalization is key to making your emails relevant and data is integral to personalization. With consumer privacy concerns and a re-focus on trust, marketers must find creative ways to collect customer data, in order to personalize emails in the future. One example of this comes from Emarsys customer, Sports Direct, a U.K. fashion retailer. Sports Direct has proven it's possible to significantly improve the customer experience by helping consumers find what they’re looking for and make customer profiling fun and valuable for the shopper. On the Sports Direct site, the Emarsys AI Stylist, prompts customers to answer questions about the occasion they're shopping for. This selling tool empowers Sports Direct to make personalized recommendations, while relieving customers of analysis paralysis. Most importantly, it helps the company get unique information from customers to further enhance their shopping experience moving forward.
Priority 2: Customer Experience: Marketers drive the agenda
I truly believe that “everything is marketing.” Every time your consumers contact the Call Center, every time an agent has a conversation, receives an email, or sees an ad - these are critical moments that reflect upon your brand and a customer's perception of it. But making these experiences consistent, cohesive and positive, doesn't typically fall under the marketer’s remit. It’s time to collaborate with our peers throughout the organization to put the customer and customer experience at the center of everything we do. For an organization to win, marketers must feel empowered to make the customer experience a priority from an internal perspective, reducing silos and driving conversation around collaborations.
Marketers in 2022 need to understand what pieces of data live within other parts of the organization. Marketers typically own customer data, which is why they're in charge of making the CX better. However, companies that activate data from the marketing team to understand their customers and authentic ways to connect will inevitably increase customer retention by cultivating a satisfactory purchasing experience.
Integrating Artificial Intelligence
There has been concern that AI would be a threat to human job security, but when we asked a group of our customers about their biggest stressors, the number 1 was “resourcing and staffing.” AI shouldn't be seen as a threat, but rather embraced as a way to augment our teams who are being asked to do more. As staffing and work delegation has become the top concern among businesses, 94% of marketers see using AI to segment data as an important opportunity to save time and increase efficiency.
The staffing concern comes at a time when consumer expectations around personalization are at an all-time high. Intelligent personalization requires advanced segmentation based on behavior and purchase history, as well as understanding fully unified data sets. Personalized content needs to be delivered in real time, at the exact moment it will make the most impact and it will need to be done at scale as business increases - all which is nearly impossible to be done by humans. Embracing AI will not only empower marketing teams to meet their consumer expectations, but it will free them from the grueling, intensive data analysis that's needed for even the most rudimentary levels of personalization.
AI could never replace the human touch, but it should be woven into the fabric of marketing teams and trusted to assist productivity.
You can read unPredictions Commerce Marketing Priorities Powering 2022 on here.
 Opinion Matters, Emarsys, USA General Respondents, December 2021
 Emarsys, Retail Roadblocks: The challenges holding retail marketers back in 2021