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Caroline McGuckian, CEO at Meshh, gives her customer experience trends and predictions for 2019…

In a bid to attract customer attention, this year saw more brands leverage the power of data to help deliver more engaging and sophisticated customer experiences. and an increase in the usage of experiential marketing. Both trends are likely to continue, if not intensify during the next year. This will be supported by a move towards spatial analytics, all resulting in a reduction in the digital divide between the online world and its physical counterparts.

By leveraging the power of data, marketers have been able to completely overhaul what it means to understand their customers – providing a more in-depth analysis of target audiences than ever before and having a more holistic approach to customer engagement. But simply gathering more data does not guarantee a better understanding of customers.

In the coming year, more companies than ever will be looking at how to make data work for them by asking the right questions and being consistent in collecting information. In tandem, investments in advanced analytics tools have been another driver in transforming the customer experience, arming marketers and sales teams with relevant tools to provide enhanced and personalised experiences. This is also likely to continue next year.

Another trend I’ve noticed this year is a heightened focus on experiential marketing as part of the customer experience strategy. Although UK investment in experiential marketing has been rising continuously for over four years, this year the trend has been strengthened by brands increasingly viewing experiences and events as vital to fostering stronger bonds with audiences. However, as consumer attention becomes divided in the marketplace of experiences, brands will have to work even harder next year to refine their approach and stand out.

In addition,  spatial analytics will be on the rise next year. New technologies that help companies learn more about visitor behaviour and the effectiveness of various activities in physical spaces – such as passive measurement – can support organisations in engaging with existing and prospective customers. Subsequently, this will help organisations to measure brand exposure, improve experiential marketing engagement, demonstrate ROI and ultimately engage new customers. For businesses that want to grow their customer base next year, passively understanding consumer behaviour with the help of the latest technology solutions will become a must.

And finally, next year, we’ll witness the digital divide between the granular, data-driven world of digital and the manual approach that currently determines the ROI of physical experiences decrease as more brands employ a more digitally-led strategy for customer engagement.

As event organisers, brands and agencies are already collecting a lot of data about their visitors, next year we’re likely to see them use this data with more direction and purpose. Personalisation will also help bridge this gap, with more companies realising that the one-size-fits-all approach rarely works.

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