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Three Marketing and Customer-Experience Trends You're Bound to See in 2016

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With the start of every New Year comes the opportunity to re-evaluate your business, marketing, and customer-experience strategies. It's a chance to start planning what you can do to up your game in the year ahead.

As you begin 2016, consider what these three customer-experience and marketing trends have in store for you this year.

1. Customers think holistically; you should, too

In 2015, companies continued to suffer from a silo mentality. Employees operated solely within their jurisdiction, not understanding the totality of a customer's experience with their brand. In 2016, get ready to see the walls between your departments come crumbling down.

2016 has no room for barriers between departments. The experience your customers are expecting to have with your brand extends far beyond their call to your customer service hotline. Get ready: Every touch point your customer has with your brand or service will be considered a part of their customer experience.


What they are seeing, feeling, and experiencing will become the responsibility of every individual at your organization.

2. Deliver great experiences—not just claims

In the past, the emphasis of a good brand experience was based on the strength of your claim and promise: "Our product can meet all your needs." But, to relate to your customers in 2016, you will need to shift your emphasis from being "claims-driven" to "experience-driven."

What you have to say about your product no longer holds up against the experiences your customers are having and sharing with their connections across social media.

Don't get me wrong, marketing and clever advertising are still essential; but customers now hold the megaphone and will not hesitate sharing their in-store, online, and app experience with anyone and everyone. The opinions they voice can far outweigh the claims your brand makes.

Every day, your customers are going to tell you exactly what's working, what needs to be fixed, and what should be considered in the future. As we start the new year, position your business to offer a customer experience that far exceeds any claim you could make.

3. Design is your new best friend

When you hear the word "design," what comes to mind? Graphic design? Websites? Print? Uber?!

Uber is a logistics company that has tapped into the design world to make your life easier and make you feel special. You don't need cash, you don't have to tip, and you can call everything from a sedan to a limo. Its customer experience is designed to take into account that we now carry our mobile phones more than we do cash. It understands we like to ride in clean, comfortable cars, and that we want a car to come when you need it—whenever and wherever.

That is what sets Uber apart—its ease of use and elegance of design.

In 2016, customers are going to expect you to recognize their needs and demonstrate that you know them. They want tailored online shopping experiences and apps that auto-populate content of interest to them. In short, customers are growing accustomed to being recognized as humans and demanding experiences designed with their humanity in mind.

I touched on this in a previous MarketingProfs article, but it is worth reiterating as we head into a new year: Your success will come from embracing human-centered design (HCD) and taking the time to understand your customers.

HCD focuses on the actual needs, behaviors, and wants of people. It doesn't just assume or sell. It works to develop a thorough understanding of what goes into every aspect of the customer's experience. And it ensures actual consumers and users are involved throughout the design process.

If your business is to attract and maintain the interest of consumers in 2016, you will need to demonstrate that your organization has moved beyond listening. You will need to actively design experiences that demonstrate an understanding of their needs, wants, and behaviors.

2016 is going to be a great year

We're only a couple of weeks into the New Year. Now's the time to start planning how your business or organization is going to get on board with these marketing trends...

Here's to a successful, non-siloed, human-centered 2016!


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Chokdee Rutirasiri is founder and CEO of Story+Structure, a Boston-based innovation-design firm. He has been designing human-centered user-experience solutions for the private and public sectors since 1995.

LinkedIn: Chokdee Rutirasiri

Twitter: @chokecity

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