An emotional connection with a brand can be a powerful motivator. In fact, brands considered to be the “most intimate” in the US outperform other companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 lists in terms of revenue and profit, according to research from agency MBLM.

Who are those most intimate brands?

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Woman peering into a box

Let me start by saying: I’m all about the data.

I’m an advocate of one-to-one marketing. I think behavior-based targeting is an essential part of the marketing mix. And, I’m certain that machine learning and other forms of AI will become so core to marketing as to be a virtually invisible element of areas such as personalization.

But, please, marketers, I implore you: Don’t get so caught up in all that contextual personalization has to offer that you overlook the art of discovery.

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Millennial and Gen Zers expects businesses to be responsive and relevant, according to “The Digital Lives of Millennials and Gen Z.” The study, conducted by LivePerson, surveyed more than 4,000 people ages 18 to 34 from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the United States.

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breakfast sandwich on bagel with egg bacon cheese

Good morning! One bacon, egg, and cheese or two?

That’s how I’m welcomed whenever I walk into Andrew & Frank’s Deli in Astoria—even when it’s more like lunchtime than breakfast hour. And, believe me, this place has far more frequent customers than me. Even so, the guys who run the deli know my favorite order, and know there’s an equal chance I’m getting breakfast just for my daughter (long after I’ve eaten) or for both of us.

That’s the kind of one-to-one experience many marketers strive to deliver at scale, and that Don Pepper and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., predicted would be reality—at scale—in The One to One Future. For years, Don and Martha’s message changed the outlook and career direction of countless marketers. Based on recent conversations I’ve had, it still does. In fact, to me, one-to-one marketing has never been more possible, relevant, and in this time of ever-rising customer expectations, vital.

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Blurred city scene

CX is a whirlwind of change.

  • Personalization is improving areas such as marketing communications, promotional offers, and recommended next-best actions.
  • AI and machine learning in marketing (e.g. retargeting) and service (e.g., chatbots) is helping companies to provide more relevant experiences.
  • Vendors impacted by business model changes such as the growth of the subscription economy and by disruptive competitors are increasing their focus on customer success to improve retention.
  • Mobile is spurring and supporting the growth of proactive service and support.
    And so is AI.
  • Customer journey mapping is experiencing a resurgence, buoyed by new supporting technologies and access to more and better data.

These are just a handful of the trends impacting customer experience leaders and their organization’s CX practices.

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When it comes to marketing, creativity and data are inextricably linked.Marketing is data AND creative

Two areas under the spotlight in marketing today are creative and data. In the past they were often dealt with in silos: The stereotype was that the creative team worked on projects such as gut-based branding and ad campaigns, while the data analysts focused on tasks such as market mix modeling and segmentation—rarely collaborating on campaigns. Today creative and data are two sides of a coin that double its value.

jamie-gutfreund

One marketing leader who’s a proponent of the creative/data partnership is Jamie Gutfreund, global CMO of Wunderman. During her upcoming session at DMA’s &THEN 2016 conference in Los Angeles she’ll be pulling back the curtain on trends to watch in 2017 and beyond. I caught up with Gutfreund jetting between meetings and asked her for a preview.

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