9 Trends shaping the future of marketing and CX in 2019 – Interview with Jeremy Korst


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NineToday’s interview is with Jeremy Korst, President of GBH Insights, a leading marketing strategy, consumer behavior and analytics consultancy. Jeremy joins me today to talk about 9 trends shaping the future of marketing and CX in 2019, what we need to know and what we should be doing about them.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – What The Great Escape can teach us about Future Fit leadership – Interview with Mike Perk – and is number 289 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Jeremy:

  • These trends represent a combination of ideas from different sources: market research, board member positions, client work and the academic community, particularly at Wharton.
  • The trap that we fall into when talking about trends is that we discount continuing trends and only focus on the new. That’s a mistake.
  • The 9 trends:
    • 1. Clicks to Bricks to Clicks.
      • We continue to see large, traditional retailers close down stores, while smaller, digitally-native brands are opening brick-and-mortar locations for the first time.
      • To stay relevant, retail and direct-to-consumer brands need to stay agile, catering to changing consumer expectations to deliver a stellar digital and in-store customer journey, as well as consistent customer service and support across channels.
      • Stores that have transitioned from online-only to brick-and-mortar are succeeding in part because they better understand their customers — specifically, what they purchase and how they purchase.
    • 2. Changing role of the CMO
      • The CMO role is becoming an increasingly strategic role and a focal point for defining brand position, target customer, CX and revenue generation.
      • The CMO role is expanding so much that is requiring a bit of a superhero(ine) to fulfill it.
      • Therefore, the CMO needs to recognize the specific needs of the organisation and assemble the right leadership team and or external partners to be able to fulfill that increased expectation.
    • 3. Building a custom centric and data driven culture is a must to survive in the market.
      • Great CX starts with listening and the voice of the customer.
      • Customer centricity is the organization making prioritization decisions about which customers they are going to serve best.
      • Therefore, it’s not about serving all customers equally or trying to be everything to everybody. It’s about making conscious decisions around who you are going to serve and over-serve and why.
      • The challenge is that people double down on the data and they forget the accompanying behavior, including the human and customer insights, that come from actually going out and meeting people, talking to them and observing them.
    • 4. Understanding the customer journey and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) through real time data and analytics.
      • To be successful, brands need to capture VoC data in real-time, while using predictive analytics to drive, nurture and expand their customer relationships. Success on this front requires constant learning and experimentation.
    • 5. Turning Voice of the Customer insights into Action in Real Time.
      • Many companies start out with a great strategy, but they get caught up in analysis paralysis, or fail to turn VoC feedback into action.
      • At the end of the day, action is more important than precision. The key is to continually make changes to improve CX, while measuring the impact with customers. If you get it wrong, you can always learn and adjust again.
      • However, all of this has to be driven by a clear strategy.
      • The challenge is that many companies have not tackled the question: what is our experience strategy? Therefore, they have no clear idea about the experience they want to design and deliver.
      • As a result, they end up with a Frankenstein approach to customer experience, where individual functions are making locally optimal decisions.
    • 6. Personalization becomes increasingly important.
      • Consumers today not only desire better content, but also experiences that are frictionless, contextual and personalized to them.
      • While most companies have already moved to personalize products and CX though data, the reality is that many brands are still struggling to effectively scale personalization or 1:1 marketing.
    • 7. Balancing personalization vs. data privacy. Trust & transparency vital to brand success.
      • The issue of data privacy – how organizations collect and use data is one of the most important issues of our time.
      • Companies who invest in developing the right data collection strategies and are transparent with customers to build trust for their brand first, and then over time, look to personalize the experience for customers through data, will drive stronger loyalty and trust.
      • Big data is not necessarily good data.
    • 8.Investing in Technology Now a Leading Factor in Delivering Great CX. Machine Learning and AI are on the rise.
      • The rise of AI and other emerging technologies that deliver a more human experience is perhaps the biggest macro trend in tech right now. Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants are working to create the conversational UI of the future with smart companions like Alexa, Google Home and Siri (in addition to the rapid growth of AR, VR, IoT and other smart displays).
      • Brands who think outside the box to leverage tech in new ways will win. (vs the “frankenstein” approach of different teams investing in different point solutions that create a broken customer experience).
      • As people’s relationship with technology continues to evolve, marketers and CX professionals have an opportunity to deliver better marketing and experiences in the moment by using real time data and AI to learn and experiment at scale. (we should not overstate the role of AI. It is still very nascent for most organizations. Many will be better off just focusing on better using available data and insights).
    • 9. B2B companies increasingly adopting B2C best practices
      • To date, Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing strategies have largely been kept separate. Now with more data available to marketers and personal technology playing a bigger role in consumer decision making, B2B and B2C audience behaviors are converging, as are the marketing strategies to reach them.
  • Check out outreach.io, a sales enablement platform that’s been growing extremely rapidly and is very well-funded. They are doing some great things, are one to watch and are not one of the ‘usual suspects’.
  • Key questions:
    • Do you truly know who your target customer is?
    • And, do you feel confident that you understand what it’s is like to live a day in their shoes?
    • If so, are you helping lead the organization to make prioritization choices in order to best serve the customer?
  • The answers to those questions will tell you where the organization needs to focus.

About Jeremy

Jeremy KorstJeremy Korst, President of GBH Insights, a leading marketing strategy, consumer behavior and analytics consultancy. Jeremy is a former CMO and product management executive with leading brands including Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Avalara – with a proven track record of helping brands translate customer and competitive insights into marketing and product innovation. As President, Jeremy leads GBH’s strategic marketing and insights practice, focused on helping CMOs, Chief Product Officers and other organizational leaders solve some of today’s toughest marketing and business challenges.

Based in Seattle, Jeremy has deep experience covering an array of disciplines across small and large organizations. Most recently, Jeremy was executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Avalara, a quickly growing B2B SaaS company. Prior to joining Avalara, Jeremy was general manager of Microsoft’s Windows & Devices marketing group, responsible for the worldwide marketing and sales of Windows to consumers, businesses, and governments. He and his team lead the highly successful global launch of Windows 10, driving the quickest adoption of a new version of Windows ever.

Prior to leading Windows Marketing, he was at T-Mobile where he served as vice president and general manager for several business units, including founding the company’s high-growth mobile broadband and emerging devices business. Prior to that, he was Microsoft’s worldwide marketing lead for Enterprise Services, and also lead Business Management for Microsoft Exchange Server. Jeremy has also held leadership positions in marketing, product management and finance at AT&T Wireless, Standard & Poor’s and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Jeremy also serves on several boards, including the Board of Trustees for the University of Puget Sound, and the Executive Board for Executive Education at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also active in the startup community, serving as an advisor or board member for companies including Athlete Intelligence, Shoelace Wireless, Track Attack, as well as Ultra Mobile, which named the fastest growing private company of 2015 by Inc. Magazine. He is also a mentor to the University of Washington’s entrepreneurship program. Jeremy has served on Intel’s Communications Advisory Board, the IT Services Marketing Association Board of Directors, the CTIA workgroup on Emerging Devices, and as past Chair of the Seattle Metrocenter YMCA Board of Managers.

He received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating as a Palmer Scholar, and his BA from the University of Puget Sound, cum laude.

Check out GBH Insights, say Hi to them and Jeremy on Twitter @GBHinsights and @KorstJ and do connect with Jeremy on LinkedIn here.

Thanks to Pixabay for the image.


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