Brian Solis, #CES2015 & the Next Chapter in Brand Engagement

Ces 2013

On Wednesday, Brian Solis of Altimeter Group published a list of the technologies he’s watching for 2015 and the years ahead based both on his expertise as an analyst and his observations in the run up to this year’s CES. I agreed with many of his points but these three were creepily on the mark in my book:

Wall Street becomes influential again, forcing brands to trump customer experience for revenue.

Shareholders are definitely some of the most – if not the most – influential people to a brand, and as Brian called out in his presentation at Brand-Innovators, many companies (even those like JetBlue) can be forced to bend to shareholders’ willregardless of if it goes against the founding principles of the company.

As Wall Street comes back into power, executives are going to face a harder time standing up to the demand to prioritize revenue over customer satisfaction and experience. At Sailthru, we believe these two are connected and that, when done right, a contiguous customer experience is actually the key to increased revenue. I’m especially curious to see how this trend impacts younger brands looking to maintain their ethical and cultural integrity. Everyone has growing pains but it’s certainly interesting to watch what happens to glean best practices.

Your privacy is gone: it was traded for perceived security and also better customer experiences.

We talk often about how there’s a new kind of exchange happening between consumers offering up their personal information (be that browsing behavior or actual transaction data) and the brand relationships they develop as a result. We see this as an active and mutually beneficial exchange that comes with benefits for the consumer when brands deliver superior experiences. While I wouldn’t say privacy is totally gone, we’re especially conscious of this trend, and we’re honored when clients credit our commitment to preserving data privacy as a reason why they chose us over our competitors. It’s so easy for brands and marketers to collect customer data, and there are very few regulations that dictate what they can do with it.

Our commitment to this runs deep, and one of the reasons we’re sponsoring the Online Trust Alliance’s Data Privacy & Protection Days happening across the country over the next few weeks.

Mass personalization and full funnel marketing suites reset vendor landscape and change how brands “think” and work.

I had a conversation the other day around mass personalization and how – while we’ve been doing it for forward thinking marketers for the last 7 years (eons in the marketing world) – for many they still consider it a pipe dream. Brian goes on to say that “Brands must think like their customers,” which is a core belief I founded my company and product on.

Customers want to be treated like the individuals that they are, wherever they’re interacting with your brand. Prioritize that kind of activity in your marketing activities and freely acknowledge that customers are choosing your brand over your competitors because of the experience, not how many times you shout a slogan or Facebook retargeting ad at them.

Now that anyone with an internet connection can complete an online transaction, brands must learn to cater to each individual’s needs at a much more personal level than believed possible by generations past. I can tell you with absolute conviction (and ROI data!) it’s doable and it pays for itself in spades.

Neil Capel, CEO & Founder of Sailthru