Data-first connections should be key priority for retailers and brands this year

A majority of consumers (80%) are more likely to do business with companies offering personalised experiences. For retailers and brands this means that they must do more in order to ensure customers aren’t leaving stores empty-handed.

According to the latest 2019 forecast by Signal, which provides real-time customer onboarding and identity solutions, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality will lead the way in convenience and customisation in 2019.

The prediction is part of the company’s latest From Digital-First to Data-First: 2019 Marketing Predictions report.

The report also suggests onboarding as a key strategy among marketers this year. Personalisation is already driving data onboarding for many brands. Yet, 70% of brands still fall short of delivering personalised content or ads at scale.

“By continuing to work with early onboarding entrants, such as media platforms or third-party onboarders, marketers will realise how much time and money they’re wasting on incomplete and outdated data assets. Onboarding directly with Facebook or Google, for example, offers massive scale but traps user-level insights within their ecosystems,” the report states.

Another key trend for 2019 will include marketers and brands collecting their own data as part of a fully managed and transparent process. Signal suggests that taking responsibility over customer data is a critical step in 2019, given a wave of data breaches over the last two years. Customers want to be reassured that their data will be handled safely.

“Data and identity are the connection point between all customer engagements, online and off, past and present,” said Mike Sands, CEO of Signal. “In 2019, we will see brands prioritizing their data like never before. It’s the decisive factor separating the interactions consumers crave at critical moments from the outdated, irrelevant and overplayed marketing ploys they ignore.”

The lines between offline and online are becoming increasingly blurry and many stores have lost sight over where customers are shopping. In 2019, retailers will likely expand or build customer identity solutions to merge bricks and clicks driven purchases even more.

Interestingly, Signal also predicts that less traditional CMO candidates will be hired by big brands. More specifically, this talent could come from the digital gaming sector.

Overall, brands should focus on adapting to work out any data issues in order to become data-first brands.

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