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7 Trends to Boost Your CRM in 2018

From spiced up email campaigns to combining online and offline seamlessly, these 7 trends should help shape your 2018 CRM strategy

2018 promises to be a pivotal year for the CRM industry. The constant growth of technologies that have become a vital factor on the road to success are already enabling marketing professionals to find increasingly efficient and personalized ways to communicate with their customers.

Going beyond the oft-repeated guesses and predictions around what 2018 will bring, we gathered some of Optimove’s experts to help you understand what to take from the past, what to revamp in the future, and what to focus on while crafting your 2018 CRM strategy. Here are their tips:

#1 Digital…wait, is it 2012 again?

Yep, that word again – Digital. Online retailers will continue giving brick-and-mortar brands a run for their money, for sure. As online retailers have already adopted effective personalization techniques, they will aspire to improve the loyalty of an engaged customer base. Connecting the online and offline journeys of customers has always been a point of focus for retailers, but 2018 will be the year in which fresh online brands will turn the old-school journey on its head and start owning the realm. Traditional retailers better keep up!

#2 Online and offline, united at last

Alibaba, China’s largest online retailer, is constantly reinventing their business and regularly challenging their competitors. Just a month ago, Alibaba decided to revive the good old mom-and-pop shops in China, and a few months before that, they launched the ‘Hema supermarkets’, that are already setting the tone for how to integrate online and offline shopping, flawlessly. This model will become a trend in 2018, especially with Amazon already joining the trend by acquiring Whole Foods. Many more online retailers that are looking to grow their physical presence will adopt the concept: shoppers will enter stores with only their phones and apps, they’ll scan barcodes and make payment with a click or a wave – and their purchases will be delivered to their homes later that same day. Away Luggage is another great example of this idea, with a beautifully designed, almost empty store in Manhattan, combining that online and offline shopping experience seamlessly. Personally, I can’t wait for this trend to become the norm!

#3 Customer-centricity will be center stage

Keeping the customer satisfied was a concern for Simon and Garfunkel even in the 1970s, and 2017 was no different. In 2018? Customer satisfaction will only continue to grow in importance for brands across the board. Knowing one’s clientele is crucial for brand durability and success; the growth of data-driven marketing, marketing automation platforms and the larger role of mobile are going to make this knowledge the ultimate factor in the survival of brands. If you haven’t began shifting to a customer-centric model, the time is yesterday.

#4 Your brand should be reusable, not replaceable

It will be much more difficult for traditional brands to retain customers, long term, by counting only on one-off sales. Online retailers will have to consider shifting their business models and offering subscription-based products and services. Since 2014, subscription company websites have grown over 800%, to around 37 million visitors in April 2017, making them a first choice for many consumers. But getting customers to subscribe is a whole different skill, one that retailers will have to master.

#5 Don’t reinvent email, just spice it up

You’d think that by now there would be a revolutionary, effective way to communicate with your customers, and although many new communication channels have emerged, email marketing is still going strong. This year, email campaigns will get more sophisticated, and more personalized – from advanced segmentation to location-based emails to the use of video content and dynamic social feeds. Emails have come a long way, yet “Hi [your name],” emails won’t disappear any time soon. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, try taking the existing one to the next level.

#6 Treat them like royalty to gain their loyalty

The obvious shift in the importance of loyalty programs and exclusive clubs directly corresponds to the rise of tools and platforms that help brands and marketers understand the unique desires of their customers, and how to use their existing data to give customers what they want. Tailored bonuses and discounts, special members-only content and hyper-personalized offers should be front of mind for all marketers. After all, who doesn’t like feeling special?

#7 Let the influencers influence

Whether its audio, video, podcasts, infographics, social content or any other format, there are few trends that will rule 2018 like influencer-based content. What once was in the hands of luxury brands is now a common practice across all industries. All brands that are looking to grow are hoping to leverage influencers as another medium to deliver their message in an authentic way. Finding an influencer who truly believes in your product, and bringing them on board, can help drive tremendous growth.

In conclusion: These trends will be pivotal in many brands’ 2018 marketing strategies. By leveraging these seven methods, businesses can integrate new opportunities in tech, data and digital marketing to enhance their capabilities for the coming years. If you haven’t started yet, now is a good time to use these exciting new possibilities to start planning and budgeting your 2018 strategy.

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