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The trends and innovations that are changing the customer experience (CX) today are constantly evolving. Massive paradigm shifts in consumer behaviors continue to unfold in ways that make them difficult to predict. But one thing is certain: customers are looking for personalized and engaging experiences that are tailored to their needs.

In 2022, the race for success in customer experience is more complex and demanding than ever. It is vital that organizations embrace new technologies, develop insights and foster agile ways of working to continue to deliver value to their customers and grow their businesses.

We asked several of our experts to give us their thoughts on how to prepare for continued uncertainty and make your brand thrive in 2022 and beyond. Here’s what they told us:

1.Artificial intelligence and machine learning are taking CX to the next level

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are pervasive in consumers’ everyday lives and shaping the way customers browse, shop, bank and more. New capabilities are being deployed across devices, apps and digital touchpoints and raising expectations for everyday experiences. No wonder organizations are turning to AI as a powerful tool to automate mass personalization.

From a marketing technology standpoint, AI and ML are proliferating solutions as tools for digital marketers. Basic services, such as image and text recognition, are becoming more commonplace, making this cutting-edge technology more accessible than ever. As these technologies become ubiquitous in helping brands create engaging experiences, businesses can realize more value.

AI enables organizations to leverage data to tailor content and personalize customer experiences and, more importantly, do so at scale. And companies across all industries are incorporating this into their strategy. Even traditional sectors like banking are incorporating novel technologies like AI assistants to analyze activity and deliver tailored service recommendations to consumers. All for the sake of keeping up with customer expectations.

2.Unlocking time to market and innovation with the cloud.

Today, the cloud is a standard for infrastructure, applications and digital experiences. Adoption of cloud services and the cloud operating model will continue to gain momentum, and progressive companies have already taken the plunge. The powerful combination of well-designed product platforms and the right product stack will automatically unlock innovation for brands.

Complexity is increasing and successful cloud adoption requires strong engineering practices such as infrastructure as code (IaC) and cloud monitoring along with an agile operating model. More often, the challenges are related to ways of working, which hinders the full potential of the cloud. Traditional IT management processes and mindsets can prevent organizations from executing these experiences quickly, which is a problem in today’s ever-evolving landscape.

3. Obtain meaningful customer journey information in the right way.

Companies must carefully consider how they collect and use customer data. First, long-term data management strategies without a powerful customer data platform (CDP) will not be sufficient with today’s customer expectations and market competition. With an expertly implemented CDP, companies can understand their consumers in real time and meet them wherever they are in their journey. CDPs allow individual data points to be centralized into unified 360-degree customer profiles and go beyond traditional customer tracking. This sweeping innovation offers organizational as well as technological and next-generation changes in digital analytics.

Just as companies are developing a better understanding of their customers, customers also want to understand how and why their data is collected. This is an important part of earning loyalty and nurturing customer trust and should be part of data management strategies.

4. Taking customer journey management to the next level.

In the face of uncertain behavioral trends and competitive disruption, customer journeys are the primary avenue for delighting customers and fostering brand loyalty. But as Fritz Oleinek, senior director of marketing technology consulting at Netcentric, points out, “With the increasing type and frequency of touchpoints along the customer journey, it’s even more important than ever to ensure consistency across those touchpoints.” That’s how you get the most out of customer journeys.

Today, experience management is moving away from single touchpoint-based management. While the industry has been talking about connecting the touchpoints along the customer journey for years, we now finally have the technology to tie it all together and achieve a customer-centric view within the journey. In the past, websites, emails, in-app messages and other touchpoints were created and managed separately, often by different teams or departments. Marketing technology now offers simpler, more collaborative ways of working to maintain and manage customer journeys.

Customer journey management can be approached in two ways. The activation approach focuses on one or two main journeys and can be created in minimal time, completing the necessary steps of managing customer profile data, content templates and making offer decisions. Adobe Journey Optimizer is the ideal tool for this and can help companies augment their journey management and have the option to move to a data-first approach.

Key points to consider:

– Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming commodities in many solutions and tools and are raising the bar for customer expectations.

– Today’s competitive world demands a fast time to market, leading companies to invest in cloud technologies. To manage the increasing complexity and fully benefit from this technology, agile processes and strong technical IaC practices are crucial.

– Unified customer profiles and next-generation analytics enabled by CDPs mean that the roles of analysts and engineers are changing. This is opening up new opportunities in data management and customer experience to build trust through transparency.

– As customer journeys involve more and more touchpoints and brand interactions, creating consistency across experiences is key. New tools, such as Adobe Journey Optimizer, are making it easier for marketers and brands to centralize journey management.

In an age where flow is the new normal, the accelerating evolution of the customer experience means that brands and businesses must not miss a step to evolve as well. The key to thriving in this uncertain era is to differentiate your brand from competitors in a meaningful way through personalized customer experiences, in real time and at scale.

Source: Adobe Blog