Sunday, December 24, 2017

Consumer and digital marketing trends for 2018

Hello!! It is almost 2018 and as the new year approaches, many websites publish trends for 2018.
I have collected a couple of links to the most valuable consumer and marketing trends in 2018, so once you are done reading this blog post you are completely up to date and you can continue your party preparations for new year's eve!

The first one I would like to share is a trendwatching video from trendwatching.com.

Trendwatching describes consumer trends as "a new manifestation among people in behavior, attitude, or expectation of a fundamental human need, want or desire." meaning that this video goes beyond short term (product) trends. To work with trends it is important to uderstand what trends are and how they are created. This video explains this as well. Besides this explanation, 5 trends are described and altough the words below might seem familiar I still encourage you to watch the video as the trends themselves are explained differently then you might think, when reading these 5 trends topics below.

Watch the video below where these 5 trends are explained, I think the complete video is well worth watching.

Trend #1  A-Commerce
Trend #2  Assisted development
Trend #3  Virtual companions
Trend #4  Forgiving by design
Trend #5  Transparency

This linkedin post is also a good read in how customer trends are created. Good to read before moving on to the rest of this post.

How consumer trends are created
How consumer trends are created

Key Digital trends for 2018

A 90 slide presentation with key digital trendsd from Ogilvy. If the slideshareview does not work, I have also uploaded the file at my dropbox (direct download here)
They actually look back to last year's predections and tell you if they were right or not. 

Email Marketing Trends 2018

Then we move on to the world of email marketing. Email marketing is still rocking, especially in the western world. The people of E-consultancy always release very well written insights and reports and this one about email marketing is no exception.
There is direct access to the report here via my dropbox account. No hassle with login's or registrations. Use this report to gather some idea's for email marketing within your business. The trends are written by 14 email marketing experts and they write about the following trends:

  • Increased regulation (GDPR, data protection, Canadian anti spam law, but also very important consumer expectations. They will expect more then the legal minimum)
  • Email rendering (about the usage of JSON, interactive emails, and emails interpretation of HTML and CSS and some best practices including screenshots)
  • Device friendly (short chapter about mobile friendly emails)
  • Intelligent personalisation (building persona's and connecting behavior triggers)
  • Sophisticated segmentation (about subscriber fatigue and the relation to an increasing spam score)
  • Subjectline effectiveness (subjectline and preheader, emoji's, conversational language, self optimizing subjectline tools, subjectline attribution etc)
  • Writing for emails (email writing is so different from website or book writing and related to the customer experience, read about the customer centric calculator and more)
  • Deliverability (already important but even more important in 2018)
  • Code like it is 2018 (stand out of the crowd with email coding and css, vs animated gif's etc.)
  • Marketing automation (predictive intelligence in relation to GDPR and marketing automation)
Email marketing trends 2018

SEO trends in 2018

As for SEO trends of course, one of the leading search engine sites, searchenginejournal has a nice blog post.
For short they see these important trends in 2018 

  • Mobile-first
  • Voice search
  • Schema
  • Featured snippets
  • Content
  • Machine learning and AI
  • Speed
  • Technical SEO
  • Links

Go click here for in depth information and more SEO trends written by various leading SEO experts. Watch this focus at UX, Voice and branding trends!
E-consultancy also has an article with SEO trends in 2018

And if you just want to click a bit around and learn about SEO trends, you can click no less then 29 times at this slideshare presentation below or direct download here.

Still not tired of clicking around? My favorite source of SEO information, MOZ, also has provided a slide deck with SEO trends in 2018, an additional 66 clicks! Downloadable version here.


Altough it is not a specific 2018 trend video, I would like to share this video about how brand building and product selling is changing due to Google and Amazon and this will continue in 2018. It includees a section about voice search that really explains the direction.

Selling at Amazon , requires special techniques and one of them are the Amzon ranking factors. Here Amazon listing optimization techniques to use in 2018.
Talking about branding, purpose is a subject that is strongly connected to this. Marketingweek informs us about the changing purpose trend in 2018.


The chatbot industry will enter a new phase in 2018 and will become more mature. It's time to test with chatbots, to learn, to see what it can do for you. But think beyond just chatting, think about getting customer's insights, data, or use chatbots as a landingpage for your campaigns such as email marketing. Chatbots are for sure something to experiment with in 2018. I have become very enthousiastic about chatbots en their future after visiting some marketing workshops in 2017 like this one:
More about chatbot trends here:

Customer Experience

We all know by now the experience is the brand. A few links to websites informing you about customer experience trends 

Experience Matters writes about going beyond the NPS metrix.Reconfigure your CX measurement programs. To my opinion very important, think for example about an emotionmap per touchpoint. 
But they also write about changing customer feedback pulls and 14 other trends. Click here to go to their list.
Ameyo writes about the IoT and blockchain where of course complete books are written about. They will both impact the customer experience directly and indirectly more and more in 2018.
The Drum writes about trends in customer experience and the so called "unconsumption' strategy. Trends where the end goal still is a sale and a returning customer, but not at the same day or in the same physical space. 


Besides hypertargeting relevant video's something that already takes place now, there are more trends in videomarketing for 2018. I could not really find many well written posts about it, but this one is nice to read. I would also recommend to keep on reading this website in 2018 as they have always good videomarketing insights.

Voice controlled AI and facial recognition payments in 2018 in China

The (digital) future comes from the east. Baidu, released this video a few weeks ago at their Twitter account about voice powered AI and facial recognition payments:

Make the Forbes webmarketers happy

Now let's make the forbes webmarketers happy in the last section of this post. Forbes writes a lot about consumer and retail trends and with every search I did, i found new pages about trends at the forbes.com domain. They have a lot of quick to read pages so click this link and quickly read their preview of next year's trends. I guess Forbes like to create many pages, as they also have another they have another page where they write about app trends in 2018. You might want to read this as well. So make their webmarketers extra happy by giving them aonther final click to read this article about ecommerce trends in 2018 from them as well.

For me, one final thing to say to you all:

I wish you a great , healthy and digital 2018! 

Alex his happy digital 2018 fireworks

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Digital Conference Barcelona: short list of ecommerce solution vendors

Last week I visited Club Ecommerce it's Digital 1 to 1 conference in Barcelona. I had a great time! Very well organised (compliments to the organisation) and it gave me many new insights in tooling, solutions and the ecommerce in southern Europe.

On the lookout for new digital tooling at Digital 1 to 1 in Barcelona

The event consists of more or less 2.5 day in a conference/hotel in Barcelona.
During the days there are generic sessions and presentations but also 1 to 1 sessions with potential vendors or other webshops that are open for collaboration.
The 1 to 1 sessions take 25 minutes each and it looks like this:

In the evening they organise a big party including a casino, DJ and quiz! I even learned some new dancing moves at this party! :)


I did not plan to write a blogpost about the event but I do mention a few vendors in this post that I met with very interesting solutions, for easy reference in the future and since I did not write something for a long time.

Last year's startup winner in Spain "TheMotion"". Based at a product feed and a template they can generate product video's (that convert) for dynamic facebook advertising.

SevenSenders is one of the companies that help to give customers a seamless experience with delivery updates and also help to give webshops more data and insights to improve the customer experience  by adding an integrated NPS delivery survey (directly after arrival of the parcel).

For years I am brainstorming (mostly with myself) about an integrated service that uses user generated content of the products that are bought, combines them and integrates this in a webshop. But after that also use these customers content as some kind of affiliate construction, a non technical way for everybody to earn loyalty points, money or whatsoever by sharing products that are bought from a webshop. Now at this event, I found Photoslurp who is able to do so!

With the increasing demand of consumers asking questions 24/7 in more and more detail, it is almost impossible for customer service agents to answer everything in great detail (think for example specific techincal questions about cell phones or detailed questions about a travel destinations). Iadvize has a service called ibbu that finds experts at a certain topic. Depending at the question/time you can route the question to a normal service agent or to an ibbu expert to get it answered (from your brand name). It's like using a community to help your customers without having the community yourself.

Case study from Ibbu from iAdvize used by TUI

Content and UX are extremely important in ecommerce. However analysing this in an easy way is something else. ContentSquare  provides a solution to easy analyse content and ux performance.
I got a personal demo during the 1to1 sessions and this tool really helps contentprofessionals to get the most out of their content. See in the slide below how verychick uses contentsquare in their contentstrategy:

UX strategy including ContentSquare


Qubit was also present at the event. Qubit can be used to personalise content (show different content to different segments) and therefore making the web experience much better. It is not in particular about product personalisation but can be used broader. The tool itself also identifies segments automatically and gives recommendations.

We all know payment providers (especially the big ones) are not the most customer friendly and flexible organisations. HiPay can be a friendly alternative that really works together with clients to get the most out of your payment strategy.

Also I got some really professional SEO advice and had an interesting SEO discussion with improove.

Machine learning is taking a flight as well, there where a lot of companies providing services that use machine learning to serve customers better. Loop54 in terms of product recommendation and Ahwy is focused at webchat and chatbots. Very interesting to dicuss with them their roadmap to understand the way things go in the near future.

Of course there were more very interesting vendors but these ones I wanted to share.

Now time to go into Barcelona again. The sun is out!

Current view at Barcelona (Tibidabo)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Customer Journey and Experience Mapping: a collection of templates and examples

Recently, I followed a great 4 months course about customer journey and experience mapping.
Although I cannot share these slide decks, I will write down a few take aways and I decided to just browse the internet, collect templates about customer journey management and share them here.

Customer journey and experience managenent, will get increasingly more important for brands to attract and to keep customers. There is a declining trend in transactions for ordering at all those "mini" brandend webshops. People more and more directly at marketplaces and platforms like Alibaba, Amazon (in depth video), WeChat, FB messenger, Instagram, Google Shopping. Most brands will have less and less control on their purchasing channels. In this video for example the impact of voice search at Amazon is demonstrated. Amazon will decide which products it will offer to it's customers, even more so then is the case at this moment.

So how to create an excellent customer journey and experience? 

In order to know how to map your customer journey, you need to know a few things:
  • What is your brand purpose? Why are you here? What are your brand values?
  • What is the persona (or persona's) you are targeting? I don't mean a traditional marketing persona, where you can discuss hours about in meeting rooms with traditional marketing people, what you need is a persona you can use in a more agile way, since working a more agile way is often the only way to really add value for both the user and the company. A great tutorial about how to write these persona's can be found here.
  • Get some creativity and knowledge of all the latest ecommerce and digital marketing trends (you can start here if you like :) as you need this to create an outstanding customer experience.
  • Get some information, user feedback, analysis about your current customer journey. Think about research that you already have, direct feedback from customer service, analyse user behavior or data from your webanalytics software. Just don't forget not always to do what the custoner asks, and also don't assume that you now best and ignore the user. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Now for some templates/examples to get started with customer journey mapping.


An example of a customer experience map, this one is from Rail Europe. The idea is that you look at the journey against criterea, persona's, value propositions. Click here to download a HiRes PDF file. It includes "Think, See, Do Feel" often also used in writing user stories.


This template can be used to start a cross channel touchpoint inventory.


A great slidedeck with a customer journey including emotional mapping. Direct download here.


Another powerpoint file (i.c.w. excel) you can use to map your customer journey.
Direct download here.


There are also online services where you can map your journey, like https://realtimeboard.com/examples/customer-journey-map/ or https://www.blankcanvas.io/ are providing.


A template for customer journey mapping from the DesignThinkers.

Then just a few takeaways of customer journey and experience management:
  • Make sure you add branded peaks in your customer journey.
  • Look beyond your direct competitors, compare also outside your branch, they might set the trend that your customers or prospects also expect from you.
  • Some companies make mini projects of parts of the customer journey, for example a "stop the churn" customer journey project.
  • Bring empathy and emotion in your customer journey (welcome back, or congratiulations with your purchase etc).
  • Once you mapped your customer journey and connected it with customer emotions, the natural reflex is always to start improving the most negative one, but do realise that this is not always correct. Optimize the touchpoints that add value for the company and the user. Which touchpoints contribute most to an effictive customer experience? 
  • Use Google Analytics or other software to measure direct performance but also don't forget to listen to the "soft"feedback and new sources of data like the IoT. It is really important to listen to your customers when they call your call centre, to see how they behave after usage of a touchpoint via a tool like hotjar. Bottom line, there are many ways to get customer feedback. Don't focus at only one the success of single touchpoints in your journey but analyze the complete journey as well.
  • If you are working internationally do take care of cultural differences and process them in your customer journey's and touchpoints. They do matter and can really help you moving forward faster.


PS Can't wait to experience the customer experience in this shop, I passed by this morning here in Seminyak, Bali. Unfortunately it was still closed. They must have a big family :)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review "Simply Brilliant" and more about customer experience, businessmodels and employee satisfaction

First of all I wish everybody a great, creative and customer oriented 2017!
I started the year great, in St Anton, where there is lot's of sun (but not so much snow). I traveled here by train this time, so I had time to read again. I do like to share again some of these reads.

Me in the new flexenbahn in St Anton am /A

This time I did not read a direct ecommerce or digital marketing related book but a book about doing business in a new way, about examples of traditional companies that have changed the way they do business. The book is called "simply brilliant" and the subtitle of the book is: How great Organizations do ordinary things in extraordinary ways and it is explicitly not a book about the sillicon valley type of businesses, but how traditional organisations are also able to change and succeed.

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