Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at the evolving roles of AI in marketing, and demands for more accessible customer service.

Key news

  • A survey conducted by YouGov found that 32% of Brits aren’t actively looking for sustainable products or brands when shopping online. However, outside of the festive season, the data revealed that shoppers are still concerned with sustainability as a broader topic. There are growing consumer expectations for businesses to be greener.
  • Despite Google’s announcement that it will begin phasing out support for third-party cookies in Chrome at the beginning of 2024, 63% of marketers still have no clear strategy for cookieless personalisation. That’s according to a survey from Optimizely that highlights the urgent need for marketers to reassess their personalisation strategies for 2024. Currently, 83% of marketers feel that their current personalisation efforts are primarily based on assumptions about customers rather than data-driven insights. To prepare for the future, marketers will need to re-evaluate their personalisation technologies and transition from using third-party cookies to utilising first- and zero-party data.   
  • Etsy is cutting 11% of its staff, or roughly 225 employees, as part of a broader restructuring. In a letter to employees, CEO Josh Silverman said the company’s current business model was “not a sustainable trajectory.” Silverman also said Etsy’s marketplace had doubled in size since 2019, but gross merchandise sales have been “essentially flat since 2021,” amid rising employee costs.

Commentary news share: Twilio predictions

Predictions from Twilio CX Consultant, Sam Richardson

AI will get back to creative problem solving

“We’re starting to see a renewed focus on getting ROI from tech spend. Businesses are re-directing their attention towards creative problem-solving to improve customer engagement, efficiency and value to customers. Looking ahead to 2024, there will be a more mature understanding that AI is one tool to support a well-considered engagement strategy, not the silver bullet to success without a strong tech stack more broadly.”

Brands will need to adapt to a value mindset 

“The question of value will become an existential one for customers – it was always there to some extent, but it’s now arguably the most important factor in many buying decisions. In adopting any new technology, whether AI or otherwise, brands shouldn’t forget about the bigger picture and purpose behind what they’re doing. Ultimately, the key lies in establishing a full understanding of who customers are and how they can deliver value. This could be anything from an unexpected reward to an engaged customer community.”

Big picture thinkers will drive more engaging experiences

“Success in 2024 will be less about technical capabilities, but an organisation’s ability to know where the pain points are and creatively solve them. It’s more important than ever for brands to have a ‘dot-connecting’ leader at the helm. These individuals should know what’s happening across the breadth of the business and be able to identify opportunities to escape the ‘sea of sameness’ we often see from brands.

“Big picture thinking will make sure the organisation is moving in the right direction, but this needs to be backed up by speed of action. Customer expectations are changing at a rapid pace and they are starting to outstrip brands in terms of their own digital-savvy. For example, we know that many consumers want to use WhatsApp to engage with brands, but adoption and effective usage of this channel is not moving as fast as customers would like it to. 

“Even small changes can have an immediate impact on customer experience, so decisiveness and speed of action will become the cornerstones of company success.”

Almost 60% of organisations are implementing or exploring generative AI in marketing

The majority of marketers (62%) believe that generative AI will augment human creativity, enhancing unique human qualities such as intuition, emotion, and context understanding. Organisations already investing in generative AI for marketing dedicate 62% of their total marketing technology budget towards it, seeing this breakthrough technology as a catalyst for creativity and innovation in marketing. That’s according to Capgemini Research Institute’s latest report ‘GenAI and the evolving role of marketing: A CMO’s Playbook’. It reveals that half of organisations have already set aside specific budgets and 47% have allocated teams for the implementation of generative AI in marketing. 

The report found that 57% of marketers expect generative AI to act as a catalyst for unlocking new creative possibilities, particularly when collaborating between human and AI-driven innovation. 55% foresee this motivating teams to think beyond conventional boundaries. In the next two to three years, marketers already using generative AI expect it will be applied across data analysis (90%), search engine optimisation (89%), customer services (89%), content creation (88%) and image and video generation (86%). As a result, marketing functions are actively establishing practices to use generative AI across marketing domains.  

According to the research, organisations believe that this technology can help in building a unique brand image (67%), accurate analysis of customer and market trends (65%), reduction in marketing costs (66%), and increase efficiency in generating content and results (65%). 

Addressing ethical and regulatory issues will be key 

As AI algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, marketers will continue to face complex ethical considerations around issues such as the responsible use of customer data, the transparency of AI-driven decision-making processes, and ensuring algorithms do not reinforce social inequalities.  

The research indicates that only 30% of organisations have implemented clear guidelines for the use and oversight of AI systems and less than half consider attributes of trust, privacy, and responsibility when selecting AI systems for marketing activities. Less than half of organisations (42%) are implementing measures to protect themselves from challenges related to the use of generative AI in marketing, such as monitoring or searching for AI-derived versions of their work, including logos and artwork.  

Bridging the generative AI skills gap 

According to the report, the majority of organisations (71%) anticipate that certain marketing roles will be significantly or moderately impacted by generative AI including SEO specialists, digital marketing and creative directors, PR/communication specialists, copywriters, and customer insight specialists.   

The majority (63%) of organisations recognise that the demand for generative AI skills in marketing significantly outstrips supply. To address this skills gap and harness the full potential of generative AI in marketing, organisations are implementing internal and external strategies. On average, 53% of companies are planning to provide generative AI training for their marketing teams in the next six months, with companies in the Netherlands, India, Australia, and the US most likely to implement this initiative. Sectors such as media, insurance, automotive, and life sciences also show higher-than-average commitment to generative AI training for their marketing teams. 

One in four consumers demand more accessible customer service phone numbers from banks

26.5% of UK adult consumers believe that making phone numbers more obvious on financial services websites is key to improving customer service – according to a revealing survey commissioned by Odigo.

Equating to 14.01 million UK adult consumers, the research executed by Censuswide highlights the vital importance of live conversations with customer service agents for banking customers. The findings come at a time when one in eight UK bank branches are set to close by December 2023 in an effort to cut costs and drive customers to online self-service channels, such as FAQs and chatbots.

The research also highlights the importance of good customer service in customer retention, with two-fifths (41%) of consumers stating it is one of the main reasons they stay with their bank. Additionally, the survey found that 28% of UK consumers believe making websites easier to navigate is a clear way for banks to improve their customer service, whilst 18% believe more detailed FAQs are needed, and 18% said chatbots should be easier to use.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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