CIOs, CMOs, and customer experience leaders will rally to achieve customer-obsessed growth by adopting human-centered design and data analytics to deliver exceptional experiences, according to Forrester Research, Inc., which today unveiled its 2016 predictions for Asia Pacific business leaders.

“2016 will be a pivotal year for companies adapting to digitally savvy and empowered customers. Companies moving along the age of the customer path will begin to thrive, while laggards will begin the slow descent to failure,” said Dane Anderson, Vice President, Research Director and Region Manager for Asia Pacific, Forrester Research. “Strong leadership is essential, and collaboration is necessary between CMOs, who must step up and lead customer experience efforts, and CIOs, who must accelerate the business technology agenda.”

For 2016, Forrester’s top predictions and their implications for Asia Pacific are:

For Marketing & Strategy (CMOs)

  • Digital marketers will embrace eCommerce initiatives as core responsibilities. Marketing professionals will be pressured to deliver measurable business outcomes, driving the need to formalize the customer’s path from digital marketing engagement to purchase. This is especially apparent in China where the link between social media and eCommerce is much stronger.
  • Mobile innovations will fuel opportunities for improved customer experiences. Mobile services are expanding into office service delivery — online to offline (O2O) — and this will continue into 2016 as customers demand a more seamless mobile-first and fully digital experience. This is also evident in the mobile payments space as digital wallets gain traction across the region, with players like Alipay and WeChat in China, as well as tech giants Samsung and Apple, fighting for a larger share of the consumer’s wallet and expanding their ecosystem of brick-and-mortar merchants.

For Business Technology (CIOs)

  • CIOs will embrace design thinking. Facing pressure to ensure that they are adopting a business technology (BT) agenda to win, serve, and retain customers, CIOs will need to show empathy for customers and understand how BT will create effective and compelling customer experiences.
  • New platforms and services will flourish. Technology leaders like China’s Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT), as well as digital software-as-a-service startups, will roll out new platforms, mostly cloud-based, that create opportunities for CIOs and the BT agenda.

For CX Leaders

  • Asia Pacific firms will exploit MNCs’ localization failures to gain market share. International companies that do not seek to localize their CX initiatives will face increased competitive pressure from Asia Pacific-based companies, who will recognize the need to improve their customer experience across all customer touchpoints.
  • Human-centered design methods will fuel CX excellence. More companies in Asia Pacific are realizing the need to place the customer at the center of their businesses and organize their service design around them.

In addition to its series of market predictions for 2016, Forrester has also identified the top 10 critical success factors to determine who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer. For more details, see this blog or contact to obtain a media review copy of this new content.

The full set of Forrester’s predictions briefs for 2016 is also available here.