New year, new you? How about your brand and how you’re marketing, and your relationships with your customers, what New Year’s Resolutions have you made for them? Is it time your brand went on a health kick? We’ve all been there in early January, making unrealistic promises to ourselves. If you’ve at least got your finger on the pulse of what’s going to happen in 2017 then you’ll stand a better chance of making realistic commitments. So, here are our predictions for what’s hot in 2017.

Spoiler Alert: Happier Customers.

  1. CRM will rediscover what the C and R mean. If you make just one promise and stick to it in 2017, promise to focus on improving your customer relationships. This year CRM is going to go back to its original roots, to place the customer at the centre of brands. Being customer-centric is very different to talking about it. You’ll need a true outside-in approach which spans your whole business, all departments, and all customer touchpoints.
  2. Every brand is a service (not product). Product is so 2016. The days of pushing products are over. Your brand now only exists to serve your customers. Make 2017 the year your customers are being served, not sold to.
  3. Customer Experience is the battleground for competitive advantage. This is where customers will be won and lost.
  4. 2017 is the year of the customer journey.Journeys will become the main way brands will evaluate customer experience and try to understand customer needs and whether or not customer relationships are improving.
  5. Management of consumer data will become a competitive advantage. Enlightened brands will stop seeing how they manage customer data as a burden. The brands who recognise the legislation just helps them to enable customers to be in control and manage their own journeys with them will win in the year ahead.
  6. Marketers will become accountable for the end-to-end customer experience. The Marketing role will move beyond traditional campaign marketing. Marketers will be measured on customer retention, engagement, and Lifetime Customer Value, in fact any customer metric, not just sales and leads.
  7. Engagement Marketing will become an important marketing skill, where Marketers are able to invite customers into an ongoing conversation and engage those individuals in a progressively more personal, valuable relationship.
  8. Customer Engagement will become the front line of digital transformation in 2017. Customer engagement and digital transformation are joined at the hip, customer engagement delivers the ultimate value, enabled by digital transformation.
  9. Smart Tech focus will shift from Tech to Customer. It’s not what you’ve got it’s how you use it that will matter in 2017. Yes, the tech is very clever and ever-so exciting. But the real value of so called “intelligent” tech lies in how it can transform your brand’s ability to understand and serve your customers better. If you use this smart technology to coerce, collude and manipulate customers’ behaviour you will fail. If, however, you use the clever gizmology to enable customers to manage their own journeys with brands and foster better relationships, you will win.
  10. It’s the Customer’s Journey, not yours. All of this points to the fact that enlightened marketers who focus on the customer relationship, enable customers to manage their own journeys, use tech to enable all of this, and focus on serving their customer needs instead of controlling and pushing them around will win in 2017. Your brand is there to facilitate, serve and support your customers in their needs. Let them drive and see where they’ll take your brand this year.

Do yourself, your brand and your customers a big favour. Don’t promise the world. When it comes to your customers just put your money where your mouth is, and promise to focus on them for 2017.

If you thought that was good, these will blow your mind…