This post originally appeared on destinationCRM

The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled digital disruption — an obsession with understanding, connecting with, and serving customers. Forrester’s recent research, summarized in our CRM playbook, spotlights the six key challenges you must navigate in 2013.

Trend 1: Digital Disruption Roils Industry After Industry

Thanks to digital platforms, your customers live in a world of heightened expectations and abundant options; they can get more of what they want, in more places, at more times, than ever before.  A new breed of competitors is on the scene that uses digital tools and platforms to get closer to customers and engage with them in deeper and novel ways. Digital disruptors threaten to make your organization irrelevant by delivering a more compelling product and service experience than you can and at a lower cost.

Trend 2: Companies Transform To Become Experience-Driven Organizations

More organizations need move beyond empty goals such as becoming “customer-obsessed” and instead begin to define clear, actionable, and disciplined customer experience (CX) strategies. CX leaders define customer management strategies from the “outside in,” articulating a strategy defined in customers’ terms that can be used to guide organizational improvement efforts.

Trend 3: Social Engagement Moves Into The Mainstream

The key to adding value to social customer engagement is to be clear about your objectives: 1) listening — to better understand customers; 2) talking — encouraging customers to spread messages about the company; 3) energizing — supercharging the power of word of mouth; 4) supporting — helping your customers help each other; and 5) embracing — enlisting customers to help design products and improve your processes.

Trend 4: Marketing Tech Drives Customer Engagement Innovation

Once relegated to the province of direct mail teams and analysts, customer data and marketing technology are now essential to every marketing function, from strategy to creative development to execution. Defining a road map that matches short-term and long-term marketing goals with specific technology solutions to help meet those goals is a critical priority.

Trend 5: Mobile Applications Empower Employees And Consumers

Our latest research indicates that 52% of firms are providing more support for employees who work out of the office, and 44% are focused on providing more mobility support for their customers. Technology vendors are rushing to provide solutions that work across all mobility platforms and support all device form factors. These solution will enable “write once, deploy on any device” capability. But assembling the components of an effective mobile CRM solution is a complex task.

Trend 6: Explosion Of Data Increases Customer Analytics Complexity

Organizations across industries increasingly view analytics and measurement as key capabilities to improve firms’ understanding of customers, continuously optimize marketing campaigns across channels, and enhance the relevance of customer experiences using data-driven insights.  But, there are many types of customer analytics to use and master such as: marketing analytics, digital analytics, social analytics, loyalty analytics, and customer analytics — all for the purpose of getting smarter about customers, campaigns, and channels.