10 Business trends for 2017
4 MIN READ
Trend 1 – Connected Brand Experience
The consumer journey has changed dramatically in recent years. Trends in Europe show that consumers pass from social to brand-owned then to offline touch points throughout the consumer journey. A third of consumers globally report that brands don’t deliver the same level of service online as they do offline. In 2017, successful business will rely more on delivering a consistent experience across touch points, and less on the number of touchpoints used. In addition, businesses will focus on connecting customers rather than on selling to them, as it is an instant turn-off once they sense any type of selling. What’s working are apps and services that connect people to the information and services that they want. We are in the connection economy!
Trend 2 – ‘Trust me, please!’
Fact versus fiction has been a big talking point in the second half of 2016. In an increasingly fast and connected world how do you know what and whom to trust? Businesses in 2017 will need to address trust issues directly and work to win consumer trust in every interaction. The issue affects all industries.
“Marketers will need to push transparency and clarity in their interactions and connect much more directly with consumers”
Jennifer Putney, VP Marketing at Prudential.
Trend 3 – Privacy & Security
Privacy and security continue to be critical as we debate the ethical, economic and political tensions between the need to be safe and our right to privacy. The web of leaks and hacks is mindboggling for citizens and marketers alike. Customers feel vulnerable and want real evidence that you’ll keep them safe and own up to it and fix it when something happens outside of your control.
Trend 4 – Personalisation
In 2016 we saw the urge to stereotype sweep across the media and political landscapes. Where politicians seem keen to group people together, it is vital businesses treat customers as individuals. The make-up of societal roles has changed and customers want to feel as though a company or brand truly understands them. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is null and void. For some businesses, this will mean personalising communication and propositions. For others, it will mean streamlining the purchasing process and making it more responsive.
Trend 5 – VR & AR
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are transforming the way individuals interact with each other and with software systems creating an immersive environment. For example, VR can be used for training scenarios and remote experiences. AR, which enables a blending of the real and virtual worlds, means businesses can overlay graphics onto real-world objects. Immersive experiences with AR and VR are reaching tipping points in terms of price and capability and, over time, may expand beyond the visual to include all human senses.
Trend 6 – AI, Machine Learning & Chatbots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning have also reached a critical tipping point creating intelligent systems that can learn, predict, adapt and, potentially, act autonomously rather than simply execute predefined instructions – like chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversations with people using AI. They can transform the way we interact with the internet from a series of self-initiated tasks to quasi-conversations. According to Forrester, these applications are going to move the needle further in 2017. The cell phone is now officially in control.
Trend 7 – Fintech
According to the World Fintech Report 2017, half of banking customers across the globe are using the products or services of at least one fintech provider. Emerging markets have led the adoption. While FinTech providers continue to have a disruptive market presence, traditional financial institutions still hold some advantage when it comes to fraud protection, quality of service, and transparency.
“Rising customer expectations for more personalized and advanced digital experiences, advancements in technology and lower barriers to entry have created fertile ground for growing FinTechs, but many lack the transparency required to earn the trust of their consumer audiences to capitalize on these opportunities.”
Penry Price, VP Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn.
Trend 8 – Expansion of Digital Payments
A strong foundation is in place for digital payments. Consumer awareness is at an all-time high and early adopters are already avid users. Most of the time, cash counts, cards swipe, chips insert and taps pay—but payments experiences could be better. Digital payments breathe new life into paper and plastic, giving consumers control over balances and offers, loyalty and rewards, and more. Tomorrow’s providers will use the payments channel to curate experiences that consumers want and up-sell and cross-sell to them. The industry is at a point of no return.
Trend 9 – Challenger Banks
If challenger banks are going to drive significant numbers of customers to change financial relationships, they must convince consumers they can be trusted to deliver on their promises as well as security and privacy.
Trend 10 – Intersectional Futurism
Intersectionality is the idea that different social issues overlap and intersect, and that one issue can only be understood in the context of others, producing complex results. Our economies are becoming more intertwined, political trends spreading, and media keeping us all connected. With all this happening, it is impossible to view any issue, injustice or cause as other than interrelated. Current issues filling the media related to race, sexism, classism, xenophobia etc. all exist in relation to one another. At a time when the world can feel divided, there is an opportunity to focus on the very real points of intersection. To consider what impact your product and business has more broadly in the community and culture. How can we tap into the intersectional issues that draw us together, link us together for understanding and insight?
Report by Richard Waring
Sources: Forbes, Forrester, Capgemini, LinkedIn, TheFinancialBrand.com, Accenture, Gartner, Marketing Week, CMO.com, Kantar Millard Brown, Inc.com, The Guardian.
All efforts were made to ensure that the information in this article was accurate at the time of original publication. The content of this article do not constitute financial advice.
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