Four Trends For 2021

How can businesses set themselves up for success in Q1 2021 and beyond? They must prepare for the changes that are coming to the world of customer journeys. In this blog, we lay out our 2021 trends based on years of experience in the customer journey space. With massive changes to customer demands and business needs, corporate leaders need to keep the customer experience front and center.

Four Predictions For 2021

Woman in a business meeting discussing 2021 trends

2020 was a difficult year for many businesses and individuals, but the lessons learned throughout the year have carried into this one. While many businesses are still impacted by the global pandemic, these 2021 predictions are based on trends that transcend any one event.

Marketing Will Continue To Drive Omnichannel Growth

Marketers have long realized that customer experience is the key to build a full marketing funnel. With this in mind, we predict that CMOs will lead the charge for omnichannel growth in 2021. To reach customers wherever they interact, with the right message, marketers must invest in cross-channel communications that are consistent and coherent on any channel.

Forrester Research found that marketers will increase loyalty and retention spending by 15-30% in 2021. As we have seen the drive engagement and retention use case continue to grow, the 2021 trend will be for marketers, and CMOs in particular, to take a greater role in building customer journey programs for their organizations. This in turn will lead to greater adoption of omnichannel techniques, the breakdown of more data silos, and a turn towards journey management. 

Demand Will Increase For Journeys as a Service 

This image shows a team making decisions about their journey management.

2020 demonstrated the importance of customer experience at every scale. As businesses of every size realize the importance of customer journeys, they will begin to invest in journey management. This will lead to a growing need for software and services to support these organizations. We predict that in 2021, Journeys-as-a-Service will emerge and come to reshape the fractured journey marketplace.

Enterprise-scale businesses will continue to lead in the sophistication of their customer journey projects, but journeys will become more accessible to the midmarket. Brands will invest in journeys because of the impact even simple journeys have on CX. We have seen in the past that cross-channel journeys like connecting email with web activities can result in 3x improvements in engagement. This trend will accelerate in 2021, as more businesses begin to make interconnected experiences. 

Voice of Customer Data Will Grow To Include Voice of Process

In 2021, businesses will continue to invest in understanding their customers’ needs. To accomplish this, brands will begin to include more Voice of Customer data into their analytics. Current Voice of Customer projects often rely on experience or NPS scoring collected from surveys. This will begin to change in the coming year. In fact, the next generation of VoC will be more significantly more sophisticated. Brands will begin to listen not only to what their customers say but also to what they do.

Kitewheel calls this type of analysis Voice of Process. That’s because brands will begin listening to the data that customers already generate through their behavior. The benefit of this practice is that often consumer’s statements and their actions are not aligned. Knowing when they are or are not aligned allows for greater control and refinement of the customer experience. 

Journey Management Will Be King

The trend for 2021 will be towards more surveys in VoC, but also the inclusion of data and underlying behavior online.

Gartner reported last year that fragmentation in the Journey Analytics space continues to confuse marketers. In 2021 unfortunately, brands will continue to struggle when deciding which journey providers to trust. Luckily, there is an answer emerging. Kitewheel predicts that in 2021, brands will realize the need for strong full-lifecycle journey management. Beyond simply unifying data, analyzing the customer journey, or even automating interactions, journey management as a solution will emerge as an answer to the question “How can I build a great customer experience at my business?” 

There is no doubt that journey analytics, journey orchestration, and journey mapping will remain useful tactics and business tools. Better still, in the new year, they will be consistently used together. This will require organizational change and a shift in perspective, but our 2021 prediction is that businesses are ready for this change. 

2021 Trends: Journey Adoption Drives Business Results

Fundamentals Journey Management Cover

If 2020 taught businesses anything, it is that customer experience can turn disaster into opportunity and growth. As we enter 2021, brands will see the greatest results when they can deliver great experiences to their customers. The best way to do this is by investing in the customer journey.

If you want to get started with a customer journey program at your business, or are trying to improve your existing customer experience, check out the Kitewheel Fundamentals guide. It’s full of great tips on how to advance your customer journey, identify a key use case, and build a better experience for your customers.