March 1, 2023
Why does a CX agency’s list of top digital trends for 2023 not include the king of AI tools ChatGPT?
Well, for a couple of reasons.
The first is that sooooo much has been written about “how the AI robots are out to eat your job” that yet another take on AI tools like ChatGPT feels a bit lazy.
The second is more nuanced.
If you had just landed on earth and started reading the marketing press (or really any press) over the last few months, you’d probably be inclined to think that ChatGPT was the first-ever AI tool.
That is just not true.
The use of AI within digital marketing in particular, has been around for a while:
So yes, 2023 will see AI tools jump from the fringes into the mainstream but that is obvious for all to see.
Let’s scratch a little deeper and look at some (maybe not so obvious) trends that will impact digital in 2023 and beyond.
In recent years, privacy has become mainstream and we’re seeing the shift as brands respond. It’s slower from those that lose out because of this change - hello Google, Meta et al. And quicker from the sides that stand to benefit - hello Apple.
Customers are no longer okay with being the product. They understand that giving away their precious data for free is more of a cost than a benefit.
The whole marketing industry has been talking about it because the writing has been on the wall for some time. This year marketers will be watching as we await Chrome’s deprecation of third-party cookies, continue to gauge the impact of Apple’s ATT (App Tracking Transparency) framework, and witness the EU clampdown on the collection of behavioural data without transparency.
These are issues that will fundamentally change digital marketing in 2023.
Take for example, Apple’s game-changing IOS 14 update. To the everyday iPhone user, it was just another annoying Apple update. But to digital markers across the world, it was the beginning of a slow and era-defining change in how the digital marketing advertising ecosystem works.
Apple’s ATT framework has made targeting and deterministic attribution more difficult, particularly in social media advertising - think Facebook Ads. Eric Seufert argues ATT has “created a recession within the social media advertising economy and certain other advertising-dependent categories”.
The only thing more threatening to the digital ad world than a post-pandemic economy is when the world's most popular phone no longer passes on the vital data that the vast majority of the industry needs to function.
Between Apple’s ATT framework and third-party cookies becoming an endangered species - digital advertisers are forced to consider what personalisation looks like moving forward. The result is that marketers need to make sure they take a tactical approach to increase conversion and ROAS, while also getting “closer” to their customers through first-party owned data.
From my experience, a lot of businesses are still paying lip service to owned data.
Yes, they are collecting email and CRM-based data, but from what we can see from the pivot underway in the AdTech landscape - so much more can be done.
While AdTech’s focus on privacy is not new, it feels like a tipping point as the changes come thick and fast for first-party data solutions.
Here are just two solutions from some of the big beasts that signal some serious momentum:
Data management platforms have been adapting to the post-cookie landscape by focusing on first-party data such as Publisher IDs allowing for greater end-user privacy while still delivering personalisation and performance in a post-cookie world.
Well for businesses, product owners and marketers who want to win - you’ll need to find ways of aggregating your first-party data, making it accessible and ready to activate in order to drive better customer experiences.
I know it's shocking that a CX agency thinks CRM and loyalty are hot trends for 2023….but hear me out.
This follows the “owned data” trend and does not require a massive leap of faith.
This year should see continued investment in data infrastructure - loyalty programs such as customer insight machines and AI-powered CRM.
You got me. AI had to get in here somewhere else right?
As Stuart McMillan said in Econsultancy’s e-commerce predictions for 2023, “I don’t think it has ever been more vital for businesses to look after their owned data as well as possible. That might not mean a new CRM program, but at the very least, they should be conducting an audit of what they have and have a data strategy.”
The eCommerce space is a great case study.
The boom of the COVID years has given way to the bust wrapped in the cost of living crisis and customers reconnecting with the outside world (read: return to bricks and mortar stores).
So “using” your owned data to drive insights into your customer and better utilise the technology available to drive lifecycle experiences that connect is absolutely vital. Sure, COVID increased the use of online, but to drive continued loyalty, it takes a dedicated focus on your entire CX across both real and digital touchpoints.
The pandemic had a massive impact driving more people online - but it was at a cost, one that in some ways is yet to be measured.
The term “Zoom fatigue” was coined in 2020 to describe the distinctive exhaustion of attending back-to-back virtual meetings. Despite our efforts to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, many of us still spend more time using technology as we work and attend events remotely than we did before.
Research by Twilio at the end of 2022 asked people, based on the previous 30 days, how they felt about this issue. Around 36% of consumers globally said they have experienced digital fatigue, which rises to greater levels for the younger generation – 47% of Gen Z.
More people online means more of everything.
Being online is more ‘noisy’ than ever before - more behavioural advertising, more algorithmic content feeds, more search engine UX in a world of SEO writing, more cookie consent notices (has anyone ever said no?!) and other assorted pop-ups; more ad networks and marketplaces; more services that require more users to create more accounts…
And I haven’t even mentioned social media yet.
Which by the way, seems less social by the day and more a tool of disinformation and unrealistic standards.
According to the Twilio study, more than half of consumers (56%) in the research said they would stop doing business with a company after a poor interaction.
How can marketers respond to this customer expectation while achieving cut-through amongst all the noise?
The enduring value of a great customer experience is more important than ever, it can reduce price elasticity and increase conversion. And to those customers who have PTSD from digital fatigue, simplicity is the key to great CX. User researchers and UX designers have long been operating under the principle of ‘don’t make me think’.
Understanding how your investment into customer experience contributes to customer lifetime value will be pertinent to reducing the digital fatigue of your customers. In times of economic headwinds the focus falls on the whole business to “be better”. Costs are cannon fodder in this debate. The year(s) ahead is the time to gain the support from management for your investment in CX to combat your customer's digital fatigue.
This will always be on my list of trends as long as I write a list of trends.
The saying goes "you can not see the wood for the trees" and this is never more true in digital. There are so many new things and developments that we can often forget about the value of great creative and great creative thinking.
Just reflect on the trends above or reference any list (of which there are a few). Very few, if any, ever really talk about creativity…they may talk about “learning from influencers to get better at short for video” or “focus on quality content”. All very useful I am sure, but in a world where we are overloaded we need more creativity not less.
We need space for creativity in marketing.
Space for serendipity, space to try that crazy idea, space to test that campaign, space to let things grow, space to fail?
Building this culture of experimentation into your digital marketing efforts this year is guaranteed to ensure you stay ahead of the competition.
But make it easier on yourself, don’t do it alone.
I’m curious, was this everything you expected out of an digital trends list?
Anything I got wrong? Anything I got right?
Let me know, email me at email@example.com.
Keep up to speed with insights from the frontier of customer marketing in Australia.
Developing a test-and-learn approach is critical to understand and validate the unique relationship between you and your customer.
Find out why this CX agency’s 2023 top digital marketing trends list doesn’t include ChatGPT.
Lead generation isn't always the answer to business growth. Lead nurturing is a long play that ensures sales leads success.
If you’re looking to build engagement at every touchpoint of your customer’s journey, we’d like to help.