Dynamics Shaping the Future in the “Age of the Consumer” -Forrester


Picture Credit: NASA/ GSFC (artist rendering of solar winds on Mars)

Forrester highlights the dynamics shaping the future (in 2017) of the consumer experience and the changes are coming quickly and overwhelmingly like a the solar wind shown above. Navigating the change is going to require a blend of business reassessment, idea leadership, a focus on the customer experience and intelligent application of technology to transform business. The customer-led, digital-centric market is being driven by widespread adoption of “Millennial-like” behaviors (hooray!). CRM expert Kate Leggett cites Forrester Research that 21% of US consumers are “Progressive Pioneers” that lead the demand for innovation. Cliff Condon declares that Forrester’s  Empowered Customer Segmentation shows that “more than a third all US online adults want new and engaging digital experiences. They will switch companies to find these experiences.” So this signals a tsunami…


Picture Credit: French Senate (senat.fr)

Forrester cites these examples:

  • Banks try to innovate before digital banks become formidable competitors;
  • Big-branded retailers confront the digital threat with store closings and amped-up omnichannel and mobile efforts;
  • Manufacturers get serious about their digital business;
  • Relationship-driven investment firms try to adapt to the encroachment of tech titans; and
  • Utility companies launch customer experience (CX) initiatives to influence consumption habits and change their operations

IAI believes that the reinvigorated focus of businesses on the consumer is bring driven forcefully by technology firms looking to dramatically re-engineer customer engagement processes. Branding is being deeply embedded in technology data acquisition tools to customize routines but these approaches should all require customer “consent” and “opt-outs” and not collection of privacy-intrusion data. Facilitators offering end user “dashboards” should engage clients like fiduciaries and can embrace anonymized meta data collection approaches to earn client trust, creating a shared trusted advisory network (STAN). IAI believe that the concept of “propagation velocity” can be applied to STAN deployments.


Picture Credit: CORDIS European Union (cordis.europa.eu)

Forrester points out some striking trends underway:

Widespread Restructuring: One third of businesses are restructuring by devolving operational controls to brands and divisions to move closer to the customer experience, at considerable risk;

Customer-driven Matrix Structure: Replacing traditional silo-based functional relationships, these new matrices will “leverage shared functions to protect margin”;

CEO Turnover in Half of Firms: Forrester research shows a clear correlation between the quality of customer experiences and revenue growth and affirms that emotion is a core driver of customer loyalty and spending.

“Whole Brained” CMOS Needed: They must embrace both a right brain understanding of the customer experience and left brain embrace of technology and analytics. Marketing Measurement assessments by Forrester show low adoption of analytics by CMOs (Forrester Wave evaluation) ;

CIOs “Grab the Brass Ring”: B2C and B2B firms will need CIOs to lay out technology adoption strategy paths in an environment where tech budgets are forecast to grow at just 1.4%- a tall order: and

Trust is the core element: CX professionals must build client trust into every process when designing experiences that delight customers and contribute to P&L performance.

To learn more, download Forrester’s predictions guide. This guide is the front-end to 16 unique predictions that executives can use to budget, prioritize, and plan customer-obsessed strategies.



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