Carrie Johnson, senior vice-president: research at Forrester, shares some of the company’s predictions for 2018, and her interpretation of them.
When we put together our 2018 predictions, four overarching themes caught my attention: separation, speed, money, and time.
* Separation. The uncertain fate of many companies seems at odds with the reality that most economies, labor markets, and industries are relatively healthy. But firms born with or driving customer-led, digitally centered strategies are separating themselves from the pack. There is a nerve-wracking separation between customer expectations and the experiences most firms can deliver. And digital platforms are increasingly disintermediating brands, separating them from customers.
* Speed. The pace of change is quickening for customer behaviours: As proof, the adoption of intelligent agents will outpace the adoption of mobile. Firms that are successfully driving digital transformation operate at a different speed than other firms. Conversely, the pace of change for operationally transformative technologies like AI and blockchain is far slower than marketers’ ambitions and hype.
* Money. The issues of separation and speed are now affecting financials. Unmet customer expectations are resulting in churn; the lack of digital transformation is translating into loss of market share; industry lines that protected some are crumbling; and longstanding, durable business models are failing. And CX transformation is struggling to drive the kind of financials that it promises.
* Time. The window is closing for firms slow to adapt to market changes; for them (and there are many of them), a smooth, methodical transition is no longer possible. They must find a strategy — whether that’s acquisition, new leadership, or something else — that changes their speed to change the game.