Forget New Year’s resolutions! Sure, finally reaching Inbox Zero or packing a Whole30 lunch for work every day sounds noble. But ultimately, New Year’s resolutions are like fad diets… sooner or later headed for a major relapse.

Instead, adopting new habits has proven far more effective for achieving significant long-term changes.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” wrote Stephen Covey in one of the best-selling self-help books of all time, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Inspired by this must-read productivity guide – trusted by 25 million readers and counting – we have identified The Top 5 Digital Marketing Habits to Adopt in 2020. Jump right in for strategies to optimize your workflow towards meeting this year’s digital marketing trends and beyond:

1. Embrace Data Privacy

Until this year, marketers and companies in the United States could “softball” their customer data privacy measures; even in the face of the European Union’s GDPR, which already brought sweeping changes in 2018. The Los Angeles Times simply shut down website access to traffic from the European Union. A blunt move that did the trick – but not anymore!

The arrival in January 2020 of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) jumpstarts a new era of data protection, with more states working on similar legislation. While a November 2019 poll conducted by Egress found that only 30 percent of US organizations are compliant with this sweeping privacy bill, there are no excuses.

Consumers are more privacy-minded than ever and marketers need to win their trust in 2020. Be transparent in all your requests for data, empower users to opt out, and communicate a clear quid-pro-quo – like personalized offers and heightened customer service – in today’s data-value exchange.

2020 Marketing Habit: Only ask for data you are actually going to use and protect it at all cost.

2. Recommit to CX

Remember how ‘omnichannel experience’ was the major buzzword five years ago? Going into 2020, it’s a given that all CX is omnichannel. What’s more, customers downright demand their experiences to be seamless and personalized across channels – or they’ll take their business elsewhere.

What’s new this year is that brands are not expected to engage with customers on every single possible channel. But they are expected to fully integrate those touchpoints they do cover into a holistic experience.

This means serving personal relevance – based on real-time data (see 5.) – at every turn. It means orchestrating all touchpoints to tell consistent brand stories and aggregating consumer interaction data across sources into a single 360-degree view. And it means designing customer journeys, supplemented by AI-driven personalization, to meet every imaginable customer need.

2020 Marketing Habit: Engineer premium customer experiences by asking, ‘How would I like to be treated as a customer?’

3. Focus on Moments-Based Marketing

Blink and you might miss it. Your customer needed your help – or had a problem your product could have solved – a minute ago. But someone else fulfilled that need and the moment has passed; the customer moved on.  

Real-time marketing re-emerges as a major buzzword in 2020, because increasingly impatient customers demand that brands know who they are and what they need right when the situation requires. To make the connection, marketers must optimize their search ad campaigns and location-based marketing to appear first in searches for specific scenarios.

Then it’s all about maintaining the connection and guiding the customer towards conversion, whatever the channel. Employ chatbots and AI-based recommendations to lead the way. Empower contact center agents with real-time profile data to provide individual service. And deliver personalized website experiences to land that sale – before the moment is over.

2020 Marketing Habit: Design customer journeys that anticipate customer needs as they arise in a specific moment, and seamlessly guide customers towards conversion.

4. Go Mobile: Adopt a Mobile-First Strategy

With more and more customer interactions happening in the moment, the majority also happen on mobile devices. More than 70 percent of people read their email in a mobile app and product discovery has also become a mobile-centric endeavor. EMarketer estimates that more than nine in 10 smartphone users in the U.S. searched on those devices in 2019.

Optimizing websites and emails for mobile display is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2020, marketers need a mobile-first strategy because no other channel combines a customer’s individual preferences and purchase history with in-the-moment, situational needs.

Going mobile-first means connecting location data with customer profiles in real time to know what your customers need when they’re out on the go. Use mobile engagement via SMS or push message as part of synchronized journeys at the right time to maximize the brand experience and follow your customer’s every step.

2020 Marketing Habit: Mobile lets you follow customers wherever they go, so make every interaction count to earn this privilege.

5. Make Data Matter

If you only have room to adopt one new digital marketing habit in 2020, let it be this one: Make your customer data matter, as it holds the key to your entire marketing success moving ahead!

Start by attaining a 360-degree customer view by connecting all touchpoints into your customer data platform, preferably in real time. This allows you to analyze, filter, and leverage everything you know about your customers and deliver the kind of personalized experience they demand.

Transform your data into personalized website and mobile experiences, delivered at scale. Use data-driven insights from A/B testing to fine-tune campaigns for laser-focused impact. Rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to turn data into personalized recommendations that hit home, instead of advertising something they already bought yesterday. Because that’s so 2019!

2020 Marketing Habit: There has never been a time where marketers could draw on more customer data, so use it wisely at every step.

Speaking of using data wisely, one profitable strategy lies with identifying your most loyal, high-value customers. Research has proven again and again that loyal customers constitute the majority of any company’s business – up to 65 percent – so they deserve to be recognized and rewarded.

Heading into this new decade, loyalty not only represents another area that marketers should always resolve to improve. Our free Customer Loyalty Playbook shows that offering exclusive, top-shelf customer experiences to select VIP customers will also make your brand more attractive to new prospects. It’s yet another virtuous cycle, fueled by the overwhelming power of adopting positive habits.

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Customer Loyalty Playbook

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