As global competition has become more intense, most businesses have increased their efforts to retain existing customers. Acquiring a new customer can cost as much as 25 times more than retaining a current customer. To help them reduce customer churn and improve their retention rates, marketers have increasingly turned to CRM technologies. The unprecedented growth of the CRM industry reflects the importance of providing meaningful, engaging experiences to customers as well as the constant evolution of CRM technology. This evolution will continue to bring new trends and innovative technologies during the coming years, but there are several enhancements that you can expect to see in 2017.
1. An Increase in Bots Powered by Artificial Intelligence
Today’s marketers have access to massive amounts of data. However, mining the data to find insights and create relevant actions can be overwhelming. In the digital world, “always-on” customers are generating data at speeds that are impossible for humans to analyze and act on before the data becomes stale. AI-powered bots can harness predictive algorithms and machine learning to give marketers the insights they need to offer exciting, creative campaigns that help ensure greater success.
2. Contextual CRM Will Become More Important
Modern consumers have become increasingly adept at filtering out marketing messages. Instead of blanketing customers with generic ads, marketers will expand their efforts to build relationships through personalized offerings that will attract the individual’s attention at the proper time and on the proper channel. Expect to see a surge in CRM technologies that offer real-time, customized micro-targeting.
3. Social CRM Will Grow
Although social platforms have become immensely popular among consumers, the CRM industry has been slow to harness social media for marketing activities. With a growing interest in sentiment analysis and social influence as well as increased support from the social media platforms, the time may have arrived for social CRM to begin realizing its full potential.
4. CRM Will Embrace Omnichannel
The digital revolution has brought many changes to how consumers interact with businesses. Adult Americans have an average of 4.5 devices that can connect to the internet, allowing them to select their device based on where they are connecting as well as their personal preferences. Furthermore, they want a seamless experience across all channels and with all devices. With the still-exploding growth of mobile devices, CRM on mobile will become more robust. Marketers cannot afford to ignore the importance of omnichannel communications, so CRM solutions will increasingly offer omnichannel capabilities.
5. CRM Solutions Will Increase the Focus on Integration
Although 2017 will not see a major breakthrough in this area, developers will continue to focus on integrating technologies. The conundrum has been the trade-off between cloud solutions that support specific platforms and the demand for fully integrated solutions. Expect to see additional efforts to merge the two approaches, but do not expect to see a definitive solution soon.
6. Predictive Analytics Will Finally Reach CRM
Marketers have realized the benefits of predictive analytics for many years, but most CRM systems provide little or no PA capabilities. During 2017, expect to see CRM platforms offering true PA integration, allowing marketers to calculate future value more accurately.
7. CRM Will Support Verticals
Customers have begun to expect more from their interactions with brands. CRM platforms will increasingly offer customized solutions for gaming, retail, financial and other verticals. These solutions will cater to the different monetization and business models specific to each vertical, including product-centric methods for retailers or extended time horizons for customers of financial services. Retention marketing based on accurate, timely data has become a necessary part of business success. During 2017, consumers will continue to demand intelligent communications that encompass context as well as the individual’s preferences. A robust CRM can help marketers achieve greater success and maximize the return on their investments.
Author Lisa Carolan
EX Squared, VP of Operations
Lisa Carolan has over 20 years’ experience in IT consulting. For EX Squared she has managed high profile projects for Bank of America, Network Communications Inc., Lennar Homes, TeleDynamics, TaylorMorrison and many more.