As we enter 2022, it’s the ideal time to set our marketing goals, KPIs and targets for the year ahead. With such a seismic shift in customer behaviour and consumer expectations over the last couple of years, CX (customer experience) is now more important than ever before. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a product with a better customer experience. For the first time, businesses are no longer competing on price, but the experience throughout the customer journey.
So, which CX trends for the year ahead will shape marketing in the coming months?
A recent study of 2022 CX trends by Feefo found that hyper-personalised and one-to-one experiences were coming to the fore this year. A great example of hyper-personalisation is the streaming service Netflix, where 80% of their video choices come from recommended content based on each user’s viewing history, likes and ratings. Another is Nike’s ‘Nike By You’ program, which allows consumers to customise trainers on ten different parts of the shoe – giving each customer a unique pair of Nike trainers that they designed themselves.
One of the CX experts who contributed to the report, John Lamphiere, suggests that birthday discount vouchers are no longer creating true relevancy. Communicating using segments and cohorts isn’t enough — an example John provides is “giving [the customer] educational content around plant care if they’ve just bought a house plant”.
Predictive customer insights
Brands are now utilising the data they have available about their customers to analyse the customer journey and provide the perfect messaging at the right time to create a sales opportunity. Using previous customer data and AI (artificial intelligence) to create predictive data models, marketers can shape their communications to create “micro-moments” and hit prospective customers with the right messaging at exactly the right time in their journey.
This represents a shift in marketing and communications from “we think you might find this helpful” to “we know you like this”, offering a truly unique and tailored experience.
Trust, authority and transparency
One key trend that’s been visible in 2020 and prevalent throughout 2021 is the need to demonstrate trust, authority and transparency to customers. With more choice and competition than ever before online, it’s quick and easy for consumers to find a competitor brand if yours isn’t up to par.
A plethora of new businesses and retailers popped up at the beginning of and throughout the pandemic, leaving customers wondering how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Increasingly, customers are turning to reviews, recommendations and other trust markers for reassurance.
For brands hit the hardest by COVID-19 — such as travel, leisure and retail — Ian Crawford, Brand Manager of Holiday Hypermarket, notes: “Although we’re now starting to see the opening up of travel restrictions, I think we will continue to see a strong need for a lot of reassurance on all marketing and booking channels, as well as customers waiting to book late so they feel more certain that their holiday will go ahead as planned.”.
Using video to transform customer engagement
Finally, the demand for video has never been higher than during the pandemic. Alongside the need for trust, authority and transparency, video content has allowed brands to showcase their products in the most authentic way possible. In fact, research by Wyzowl has found that 84% of consumers have been convinced to buy a product after watching a video.
The rise of TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels has meant that video consumption is higher than ever before. With viral TikToks and Reels becoming responsible for product trends, a sales trend we’re witnessing is “small business packaging orders” where small brand owners pack orders and drive sales through the social media platforms.
In 2022 and beyond, it’s critical that marketers stay on top of CX trends to ensure that they’re meeting customer expectations. Whether it’s using data to provide a truly personal experience, demonstrating trust and authenticity, or making micro-moments with the right messaging at the right time, putting the customer experience at the heart of your marketing and communications strategy should be the focus for 2022.