Forresters authorised South African research partner JOAN OSTERLOH takes a look at the macro research into customer behaviour, motivation and intent as we hit our stride in 2022.
As the focus of digital transformation shifts and we enter a privacy-first world, it will become more important for businesses to have a clear view of customer behaviours, motivations, and intent.
In addition, the end of the third-party cookie as well as the rising proliferation of opaque artificial intelligence (AI) has prompted a new series of Forrester reports which look at how firms are rising to these marketing threats and even turning them into opportunities.
The pandemic-driven shift to a more digital lifestyle has seen more consumers engaging online. As part of the Predictions 2022: North America report, Forrester notes that just a few months into the pandemic in 2020, 49% of UK and 63% of US digital consumers had indicated trying a new online activity, such as attending a religious service or exercise class online.
While the higher online participation is good news for many digital businesses, the unintended consequences have been a steep increase in customer expectations. The North America predictions report further notes that 56% of US consumers “… believe that companies should have figured out how to handle pandemic-related disruption by now” and that 80% of consumers see the world as digital, with no divide.
In the Predictions 2022: Customer Insights report, Forrester analysts note: “If 2020 proved to companies that customer behaviour could change at the drop of a hat, 2021 proved that change is constant, and the new “normal” is continually evolving … Companies that wish to excel at customer insights will need to invest in new data sources, emerging analytical techniques, and more agile operational models.”
The report goes on to pick five customer insight predictions for 2022 aimed at helping businesses and marketing professionals prepare for the year ahead
- Insights-driven organisations will be three times more likely to outperform their competitors
Data from the Forrester Analytics annual survey shows that those organisations which boosted their data-driven insights for decision making during the last two years have prioritised employee development, CX and revenue growth at three times the rate of firms that lowered their reliance on data-based insights during the same period. More importantly, the company says these companies are three times more likely to outperform their competitors in key financial and customer metrics in 2022.
- The rising role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO)
The report highlights the disconnect between the IT and marketing departments. According to Forrester’s 2021 Global Marketing Survey, CMOs cite the lack of access to data as well as poor data quality as two of their biggest challenges for the year ahead. In addition, analysts note that the attempts to fill these gaps by marketers has exacerbated the poor relationship between CMO and CIO and led to ‘technology sprawl’. Forrester predicts that in 2022, CDOs will step in to help bridge the divide between departments and create strategies that help govern data and analytics capabilities, recommending that forward thinking organisations rely more heavily on their CDOs to help with the marketing departments’ growing need for high quality data.
- Design researchers and data scientists work more closely
The pandemic shifted user behaviour, making predictions all but impossible and degrading predictive model performance. Forrester points out that we have yet to attain a stable ‘new normal’ and successful companies will place more emphasis on a deeper consumer understanding by bolstering quantitative data science with qualitative research methods such as ethnography.
- AI gets more transparent
How machines reach decisions can be exceptionally complex. This ‘opaque AI’ is often not auditable and can lead to decision-making criteria that can be prejudicial. For example, banks have historically relied on variables such as income as a primary credit risk predictor, which can end up treating certain demographics unfairly. Forrester predicts that there will be a 20% increase in the number of companies relying on transparent, or Explainable AI (XAI), to debias their models and ultimately extend their total addressable markets.
- Brands collecting zero-party data will double
The end of the third-party cookie and rise of other privacy laws has limited the richness and breadth of data firms can collect. To counteract this, Forrester says brands will increasingly rely on zero-party data, or that data which customers intentionally share about their preferences and interests. The company cautions, however, that there will need to be a clear benefit to customers if brands hope to entice them to share information.
For more predictions and marketing insights contact Joan Osterloh, Forrester’s authorised research partner for South Africa. In addition to the marketing forecasts, Forrester has also curated ICT trends from across the globe in the 2022 prediction series, which aims to shed light on where pressure and opportunity will arise in 2022.
As the focus of digital transformation shifts and we enter a privacy-first world, it will become more important for businesses to have a clear view of customer behaviours, motivations, and intent
Companies that wish to excel at customer insights will need to invest in new data sources, emerging analytical techniques, and more agile operational models
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