Marketers will need to transform from campaigns to real-time, continuous interaction with customers via intelligent agents.
So says Forrester Research VP and principal analyst Brian Hopkins, co-author (with Adam Silverman) of a new Forrester Research report, The Top Emerging Technologies to Watch: 2017 to 2021 ($499 for individual purchase).
It’s about the top 15 developing technologies that will help businesses become more customer-obsessed over the next years.
Forrester is obsessed with customer-obsession, which it says is essential to a modern brand and which is characterized by several key principles. According to the research firm, such a customer-focused company is led by insights from and about customers, responds quickly, and is thoroughly connected everywhere. The report chose 15 technologies for their impact on companies employing these principles.
For marketers, real-time interaction management — one of the 15 – involves the strategizing, analysis, creation, and administration of the many intelligent agents that will increasingly populate our lives. Chatbots are the most visible form, but this kind of exchange might also include, say, an ongoing interaction with your smart car.
Real-time interaction management is “starting to allow companies to transform marketing into an ongoing dialogue,” Hopkins told me, as opposed to marketing’s previous goal of pushing messages in a campaign.
This is potentially much more complicated than campaigns. Real-time conversations, for instance, mean that customers and would-be customers become engaged, perhaps emotionally engaged, with chatbots and other such agents. But, to avoid scaring off or boring customers, the conversation needs to be conducted in such a way that brands engage with people and add value to their lives, not constantly badgering them with, say, suggestions they order a pizza.
The challenge here, Hopkins noted, is to analyze the patterns in many conversations to understand what works best, and then apply a new kind of predictive analytics to suggest the best, non-alienating approach to sell something.
On another marketing front, the report sees augmented reality (AR) as having a bigger impact on customer-obsessed companies than virtual reality (VR).