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By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 11, 2014

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to bid adieu to bad habits and resolve to do better in the year ahead.

For customer-facing individuals and organizations that means delivering consistent and continuous experiences between your various contact center channels as well as your website; leveraging internal and external big data to deliver more relevant messages, offers, and solutions on the marketing and product development fronts, and arming contact center agents and sales people with customer information so they can more quickly address the needs of, close the deal with, and upsell customers; and embracing automation to affordably expand customer service resources (via tools like chat bots), and quickly create, disseminate, and fine-tune marketing campaigns (via automated marketing tools).

That last part, involving automated marketing, has become a particularly hot area of activity lately. Indeed, International Data Corp. recently released a study indicating such marketing software solutions are expected to grow from approximately $20.2 billion this year to more than $32.3 billion in 2018.

"Marketing organizations are rapidly adopting new technology to better serve their customers, increase efficiency, and drive measurable business performance," said Gerry Murray, an IDC (News - Alert) research manager. "As a result, there is enormous market opportunity for suppliers. However, the market will see a number of transformations as it evolves from point solutions to platforms to marketing as a service. The full potential of this market will only be realized when technology, creative, and technical services come together. How that happens will determine the winners and losers."

Here’s a sampling of what some of CUSTOMER’s other sources expect in 2015 and beyond.

Omer Artun, CEO of AgilOne:

“In 2015, there is going to be a shift from focusing on marketing to acquire customers with campaigns such as large, blanketed discounts to marketing that focus on retaining customers. Acquiring new customers is five to eight times more expensive than retaining customers. This goes hand in hand with customer personalization and understanding our customers through data. Once you understand who your valuable customers are and what it takes to retain them and keep them engaged then it is easier to create marketing that is data-driven, cost efficient and effective.”

George Gallegos, CEO of Jitterbit:

"In 2015, we are going to see a greater emphasis on using analytics to gain insight from the countless data points that power the modern company to engage customers in new ways. In order to set the foundation for meaningful analytics, every company is searching for ways to connect the massive amount of data coming from thousands of applications and devices across the organization. Real analytic insights require a great data integration strategy, and we'll see more people in the coming year who need solutions to connect and harmonize their data together with a single, unified integration platform.”

Jonathan Gale, CEO of NewVoiceMedia (News - Alert):

"In 2015, we envision that businesses will increase their investment in omni-channel contact center solutions to successfully meet this customer service demand. Organizations can achieve this by looking toward cloud contact center technologies which enable them to use the rich customer data stored in Salesforce to make intelligent decisions on how to handle, treat and route customer interactions – regardless of channel.”

Nilay Patel, CEO of Selligy:

"Moving into the new year, the next big wave in business software is data-driven sales. Instead of just recording what salespeople did last week, CRM applications will start telling salespeople what's their best next move. Data-driven sales tools will optimize which customers to call, which tactics to use, and which to avoid. Just as algorithms and analytics have revolutionized digital marketing, data-driven sales tools will deliver dramatically better sales performance."

Clint Oram, CTO and co-founder of SugarCRM (News - Alert):

“CRM has shifted far away from pure sales force automation. Today’s modern CRMs help the individuals who actually work with customers get their job done so that businesses can deliver a consistent and extraordinary experience throughout the customer journey. In the coming year, we believe the most innovative CRMs will focus on delivering a killer user experience and integrating collaboration tools and contextual intelligence into that user experience. All of this will turn every individual into a customer expert by uniquely personalizing their interactions and driving customer loyalty.”




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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