Here are my Customer Data Industry Predictions for 2022

 In Business Inteligence, Customer Experience, Data-driven Marketing, Machine Learning, Marketing Strategy, Privacy

Yes, it has been another year of change, leaving many of us craving more predictable times. With 2022 quickly approaching, here are my thoughts on what next year will hold for the booming customer data industry.

  1. Prediction: Audiences will crave relatable and value based marketing. 

Attention is the real prize for businesses to win.  The way to earn buyers’ attention is not only to understand their purchasing preferences, but also who they are as people.  Diversity and inclusion matter and companies need to get it right.  What is marketed matters too, but HOW something is marketed is the real secret to connecting with customers.  This trend will put pressure on companies to know their audiences better than ever before and be able to deliver the right experience when it counts.  

  1. Prediction: Digital and physical experiences will feel more congruent.

The pandemic brought with it a lot of change… one being consumers did more online, like banking, shopping, working out, and even doctor visits.  Many of those new behaviors are more convenient and therefore, are here to stay. Now, the in-person experience will need to deliver the same value someone gets in a virtual environment.  There will be more blending of the two.  For example, I may go to physically get my haircut but I will want the convenience of booking the appointment and paying online.  Businesses need to observe their customers and ensure digital and physical systems connect so customers experience seamless transactions. 

  1. Prediction: In-person will be part of the mix, but safer.

It’s hard to replace the energy and connection live events bring.  In 2021, there were strong examples of events that were handled in a safe way.  Wearing masks, temperature readings, even touchless payments help reduce risk.  Many of these preventative measures will be adopted more permanently to enable more sustainable live events. 

  1. Prediction: Privacy and security expectations will continue the Great Digital Transformation.

With companies like Apple making it easier to turn off ad tracking, many consumers have become more savvy about how businesses use their information.  While this is an area that is still evolving country-by-country, it’s fair to say buyers value privacy and expect businesses to respect it.  Marketers will have to seamlessly weave privacy and security measures into their experiences with customers by developing value exchange solutions and increasing high value educational content. Shifting to a first party data strategy will be tablestakes in 2022 (no longer reserved for early adopters).  Brands will have to do more to understand their target audiences and deliver value.  Those who do not evolve will fall behind and likely fail.

  1. Prediction: Technology will grow at a fast rate, but so will business applications for ML and AI.

From the above points, it’s clear that businesses need to remain nimble and be able to dynamically respond to what their customers care about.  Attracting the fleeting attention of an audience, then delivering on their expectation is technically hard. Here is where the power of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) come in.  Understanding an audience in real time through data, then using ML to predict a behavior or outcome is the future.  While many organizations are using ML or AI based tools today, there is one critical factor that’s easy to overlook… the tools are only as good as the data being accessed.  Tools will get better, but companies must have a high quality data collection strategy to ensure complete and compliant data is collected so these exciting advancements can be leveraged successfully. 

If you’d like to learn more about the customer data industry and how to develop a thoughtful data strategy, check out our Definitive Guide to CDPs here.

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