Tactis Managing Director Todd Coen talks about ways to help prepare for and manage the quickly changing communications landscape.
Moore’s Law – the observation that the numbers of transistors on microchips double every two years – has for the longest time been the predictor of technological growth. Despite recent trends showing a slight flattening of that curve, what cannot be disputed is that the by-product of this law – the compounding evolution of the communications landscape – forges ahead unbounded. As Tactis, DC’s fastest growing customer experience agency, looks at the evolving communications landscape, it is clear that the companies we partner with need to be flexible and prepared to manage the quickly changing communication channels and user preferences. To address these changes, I see several key areas emerging that might impact many of our clients.
The first of these is cognitive technologies that allow companies to personalize and contextualize interactions between their products and services and users. I predict that these will in the near future become increasingly important. With the explosion of mainstream and niche communication channels, it is imperative to use technology to derive insights from vast amounts of data, provide persistent monitoring across channels, and provide always-on services that users demand. Using cognitive technologies, like machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing, to assist staff offers cost-effective alternatives to hiring more staff. It also allows existing staff to spend their time on higher-value and more thoughtful activities. Fortunately, more technology companies are building cognitive features into their platforms, making them more accessible and reducing the need to have niche expertise on staff.
Human Experience Platforms
Human experience platforms will play a critical role for companies in how they orchestrate communications and interactions in an omnichannel environment. In many ways, the drive for more cost-effective and efficient solutions driven by technology has inherently de-humanized users’ experience with certain brands. However, the rise of more effective cognitive solutions and personalization has begun the move towards experiences that ‘feel’ more human. Advances in emotional AI, natural language processing, facial expression tracking, and sentiment analysis will give brands new opportunities to take into account a user’s emotions and state of mind at the time of the interaction.
Reading the Digital Room
I believe that access to more data will also help us better understand the psyche of our users, their beliefs, values, and ambitions, thereby adding another layer of context. In fact, these inputs can help guide how we automate a more human response. The success of this still rides on designing omnichannel solutions rooted in human-centered design principals. We need to develop user journeys that evaluate all touchpoints with users. At the same time, these need to define the utility of the interaction aligned with the emotional and data attributes that will ultimately make each interaction a success. Additionally, we need to recognize when we are dealing with high attention and high expectation moments – moments where technology can fail us. We also need to be prepared – and know when! – to pass the interaction on to an actual human to address the user’s needs. Based on the data we collect; we can route these points of possible failure to a person who is best suited to deal specifically with that individual’s unique needs.
Technology you Can Trust
With cybersecurity risks at an all-time high – eroding confidence in the system, and concerns over privacy – ethical technology and trust should be a significant consideration for all brands. One of the leading causes for non-response for many companies is mistrust of the Government, whether rooted in cultural experiences, values and beliefs or other factors. The brands that have the best chance to bridge this divide are ones that are transparent about their practices and how they build their technology solutions. Success requires a brand’s culture to buy into enforcing ethical choices at all levels. Even the smallest infraction or sense that the brand is not living up to its stated practices and principals will undermine trust with groups who have a reason to doubt you.
Convergence across traditional and digital channels continues to be a significant trend in how media content is distributed and accessed. This trend will allow companies to more effectively use programmatic buying approaches to address even the most niche digital and traditional channels. The brands who achieve the best results in this area will still rely on smart marketing communications strategies crafted based on audience insights that combine digital and traditional platforms into a cohesive approach. As the number of addressable channels rapidly expands, audience research will become even more critical and more complicated. To address this, brands should utilize many syndicated and proprietary research sources in the planning process to determine the right mix of media, and what emerging channels and tactics will perform best.
Flexibility and Agility
Lastly, companies need to be both flexible and agile to deal with the ever-changing rules and regulations as promulgated by both government and relevant governing bodies that might have an effect on different communication platforms. Unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic change around how individuals, companies, and the Government perceive and interact with various communication channels. In some cases, this has led to changes in policies by the channels that can impact the norms around how brands interact with a channel today versus how they will interact tomorrow. Moderation changes by platforms like Facebook and Twitter or the security concerns raised around platforms like Tik Tok are examples of this. Predicting these changes is difficult, so brands must create flexible and agile processes to quickly pivot resources to address those needs. Tactis uses agile methodologies in every aspect of our work to ensure that we can easily redirect resources, but that the idea of expecting change is ingrained in how we work.
To learn more about ways to prepare for changes in the ever-evolving communications landscape, contact us today.