We’re all seeing the flood of 2020 predictions right now, which we also know will become obsolete in the not-so-distant future. With the speed at which technology and customer expectations are evolving today, the one thing that is certain when trying to see into the crystal ball of brand customer experience (CX) is that marketing organizations need to be future-proof.

This point is reinforced by the key learnings that came out of 2019. Brands are no longer just battling their competitors for their customers’ attention; they are competing against all digital experiences. Every time your customers encounter a better CX, it sets a new bar for your brand to meet. Like it or not, we’re all competing with the Amazons of the world.

The best approach for 2020 is to stop being reactive to the next big prediction in digital marketing and take action to set up your marketing organization to easily adapt with your customers.

We can’t always predict what new digital marketing trend will impact customer expectations – which you’d then have to personalize content for -- but here are insights on how you can be ready.

The latest in personalization: Automatically scale with AI

At our flagship event in November, Sitecore Symposium, we announced the first solution to provide automated personalization. Our new Sitecore AI is designed to automate your personalized digital experiences across channels. The key benefits of incorporating AI into your content process is having the ability to know what’s working and driving conversions. Your organization can analyze customer behavior, learn where each person is in their journey, and continually optimize their CX automatically.

It is important to understand that, even with AI, perfecting personalized content is crawl, walk, run. As a leader in the CX space, we’ve been listening to our customers around what the biggest challenges are that brands face when perfecting personalized content. There is no one right answer to addressing those challenges, but it takes having the right content, right data, and the right omnichannel delivery system all working together. We advise our customers to start with strong foundation with the right system in place to scale, provide accurate reporting, and empower business growth.

With Sitecore AI added on to Sitecore XP, all your data is brought together into a single source of truth, and it’s designed to be nimble so you can add more channel data as your business grows. It is the key foundational platform for enabling your marketing team to make data-driven, strategic decisions around content. Plus, you have insights into the automated personalized content decisions carried out by the AI technology for informing key stakeholders. To learn more on this topic, I invite you to read the First look at Sitecore AI – auto personalization.

Get ahead in personalization

If you’re not already advancing your personalized content strategies, or your organization has deprioritized it, here is data you should know. In recent findings from The SoDA Report On Trends in Personalization, which surveyed more than 300 marketing executives and leaders, more than 80% of respondents increased their investments in personalization last year. Respondents pointed to data and analytics (41%) and technology platforms (36%) as the top two areas where they are currently spending the most money to fuel their personalization initiatives.

Even if your marketing organization is still working on a digital transformation that involves personalized content, your brand still needs to understand that the risk of not providing your customers with a 1:1 digital experience could mean they switch to a competitor. No matter your approach, we know that getting to the “run” phase in the crawl/walk/run process can involve tackling a variety of possible obstacles. To help you overcome the biggest barriers to perfecting personalized content, explore our “How to guides”:

How to get past personalization paralysis — This step-by-step guide is designed to help your business kick start (or restart) your personalized content journey. The guide includes key insights on how to begin or improve your personalization, demonstrate ROI, and turn personalization into a competitive advantage.

How to overcome barriers to personalization — In this guide, we’ve compiled the top five barriers brands face when trying to advance their personalization efforts. We share how other organizations view these obstacles, and practical tips for success.

Stay up with top insights in 2020

Whether you’ve mastered personalized content or still have a way to go, it’s important to keep a pulse on the trends driving CX. We are starting off 2020 with a strong lineup of events specifically structured around powering human connections through digital experiences. As you continue on your digital CX journey, we hope you join us and keep an open dialog with us and our community of customers, partners, and long-time Sitecore users.

Sitecore Experience Europe — Our biggest digital marketing event in the region is on March 4, 2020 in London. This 1-day conference is ideal for senior marketing leaders looking to gain insights on the latest trends in content management and help lead their organizations to becoming a digital-first business.

Sitecore World Tour — An event ideal for your whole marketing team. This mini-conference series has stops planned in over 20 cities across the globe between January and April 2020. Join us to get high-level learnings that were shared at Sitecore Symposium in November and see what’s ahead with new Sitecore products.

Sitecore Symposium 2020 – We’re taking our biggest digital marketing event of the year to Chicago from Oct. 26-29, 2020. We’ll be opening early bird registration this summer. Visit the Symposium Online to see videos and read blogs from the 2019 conference. Expect helpful takeaways from analysts, customers, partners, and long-time Sitecore users.

Mohan Kasibhatla is Vice President of Product Marketing at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn.