In our last blog we gave you our 5 Top Strategic Topics for Customer Engagement in 2018. Now it’s time to roll your sleeves up and get cracking with Customer Engagement, it’s time to walk the walk. In the Year of the Dog, it’s time to walk the dog. So, here are our Top 5 Practical Tactical Ideas for Customer Engagement in 2018.

  1. The Customer Journey Matures

As we predicted in our blog this time last year, 2017 was the year in which the Customer Journey became formally recognised as a key concept and a distinct market category with specific analyst coverage (Forrester WaveTM, Vendor landscapes, Market Guides, etc.) covering journey analytics, journey visualisation and journey orchestration.

In 2018, we expect to see brands progress their thinking beyond the customer journey itself to making the journey the foundation of their marketing and business strategy. This will be a strategy which will focus on delivering customer value. Brands will also understand that whilst journey visualisations are important, it’s the journey insights and orchestration that are crucial to creating value.

This means you will need to understand your customer journeys, and be able to derive actionable insights from them which help you to hyper-personalise the interactions customers have with your brand. Understanding the journeys your customers take, and listening to them, will allow you to establish a clear vision of what ‘good’ looks like in 2018. It’s the most important practical step you can take this year.

  1. Next Generation Marketing Campaigns

With the shift in focus to the long-term, in 2018 we’ll see Advertising and Marketing Communications move to a more holistic approach, giving campaigns an outside-in perspective. The priority will be to balance media types and investment from a customer-centric perspective, so we’ll start to see the end of siloed thinking, even ‘digital marketing’ as a concept. Marketing is an omni-channel discipline because brands and customers exist in an omni-channel world. Marketers will be required to think beyond campaigns and towards having genuine ongoing, two-way conversations which are hyper-personalised in-the-moment to each customer, happen in real-time, based on customer context, and are omni-channel. We call this a Campaign Supernova. To find out how to build a Campaign Supernova download our eBook.

  1. Customer Context vs. Attributes

As we say at Thunderhead, context trumps data and data attributes every time. Marketers need to rethink their love affair with data, and focus on context.

To drive customer engagement for more valuable customer relationships, understanding customer context is critical. Brands need to provide a tailored, adaptive and often predictive experience informed by customer context – without a complete understanding of the conversational context, there is no basis on which to make meaningful decisions about the next conversation or action, or to arbitrate between competing options.

In 2018 marketing technology will need to adapt to managing context, as opposed to managing ‘data’, as interactions without context are almost useless. Customer context will become front and centre of the Marketing agenda.

  1. Customer Managed Journeys

With the maturity of customer journeys this year, we’ll see far more enlightened Marketers, those who focus on the customer relationship, enable customers to manage their own journeys with brands which facilitate, serve and support customers in their needs. Adopting is a clear indication that you have acknowledged the need to become a customer centric brand and you will have recognised or evaluated the gaps you might have to achieving that.

  1. Dog Days for Inside-Out Marketing

2018 will be the year of decline for anyone practising marketing in a siloed way which isn’t focused on the customer and has short term, transactional objectives. Broadcast marketing campaigns, and similar practices will stagnate as they will no longer achieve the results brands and customers need.

To set you off in the right direction for the year and to help you get started with customer engagement, download our How To Get Started with Customer Engagement, a practical guide.

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