How our customers across travel, retail, and more are approaching 2023
We recently wrapped up our User Advisory Board for 2022 with another insightful session with 15+ participants across some of the most well-known and innovative brands in the world. Like many customer advisory groups, our goals for each session are to learn how our customers navigate challenges, identify pain points they are trying to solve (whether that’s specific to demand intelligence and PredictHQ data or not), gather product feedback, understand what they are prioritizing and discuss overall trends they are focused on as a business.
I joined our final meeting of 2022 to lead a roundtable discussion with our customers to discuss 2023 planning, challenges and opportunities. What we uncovered was that no matter your industry, there are a couple of big areas that businesses are thinking about for next year:
Business won't be operating “as usual” in 2023, and being disciplined will be key
What the past couple of years has taught businesses, is that the term ‘usual’ may not hold much weight anymore. I won’t rehash what we have experienced (first or second-hand) throughout the pandemic and during the latter part of 2022, including supply chain shortages, labor issues, global conflict, and more. But what I will say is that many businesses have become increasingly resilient over the past couple of years and this resiliency will need to continue as we enter 2023.
What we started off agreeing with as a group is that we feel confident that 2023 isn’t going to be a repeat of 2020, nor the two years following 2020. While there are certainly challenges that lay ahead and tough decisions to be made, the world has come out of peak-pandemic times with a different outlook. Yes, there have been overly optimistic CEOs and industries who may have overspent or invested in areas that ultimately didn’t lead to the right decisions for their company – but for the most part, companies seem to have a handle on how to prepare for tough times, and understand where to cut spend and increase investment to get the best results. Especially for the businesses that invested in digital innovation.
Much of this agreement with the group came off the back of discussing some key trends identified by a recently released report by Forrester. The “2023 Planning Isn’t Business as Usual” report surveyed more than 380 respondents in the US from companies with 500 or more employees and found that a majority of companies expect to see an increase in investment. Specifically, over 80% of product management, marketing, and customer experience leaders surveyed are expecting investment increases, and less than 10% are planning for decreases.
Rather than just approaching budgets with slight increases across the board with the mindset of growth, selecting a few areas to place bets and put resources towards will be the key. The survey states: “2023 budget pressure will be intense, and blindly planning for modest spending increases across the board will backfire. To come out on top, you’ll need more discipline and precision to prioritize investments, trim waste intentionally, and place smart and bold investment bets.”
Within our customer group, similar themes were discussed. Focusing on areas that improve the customer experience (drive increased customer value), reduce costs, and increase revenue. Now you may be asking: Isn’t that what we are trying to do year in and year out? And the answer is yes, but 2023 is becoming more about taking calculated risks while continuing or putting a renewed focus on the things you do well – and the differentiators you have against your competitors.
Maybe that’s implementing a complementary strategy for product-led growth when you have historically been a traditional sales-driven organization; perhaps it is investing in your customer success/experience function (as a 5% increase can increase revenue by 25-95%); or investing in new marketing strategies to target the right customer.
For example, one of our travel-focused customers spoke about how much travel has changed and how consumers are approaching travel in general. The desire to travel hasn’t gone away and it won't go away in 2023, but a looming recession may mean a family will be more likely to pay for 1 tank of gas versus 2 for a road trip. How do they take this information and focus on creating a customer experience that resonates with where the consumer is financially, knowing that many consumers are prioritizing experience over products coming out of the pandemic?
There will be pressure on budgets, but it's what you decide to do with this pressure that will dictate your success
“Cutting costs” can seem like a daunting task and may feel like failure but the reality is that this provides an opportunity to reallocate your spend in areas that are succeeding and that you want to double down on, and remove the noise and resources from the areas that are costing your business more than it's worth.
A great example of where many businesses have seen massive increases in productivity and will continue to see this in 2023 is by making changes to how they’ve traditionally approached forecasting. Adapting to the real world in real time has proven to be crucial but incredibly hard as seen with the wrench thrown into our world the last couple of years, making getting forecasting right that much more important.
Part of this shift from traditional approaches has led to making decisions to—in some cases—reducing the amount of third party data sources but bringing in only the highest quality data or maybe making choices on where teams allocate data science resources. The group agreed that ruthless prioritization on proper forecasting was a key focal point for next year. Several of our customers mentioned that more granular forecasting will be more and more of a focus going into the next year, which will of course require high-quality, accurate data and intelligence.
Along with accurate and granular forecasting, there are several other areas businesses should be thinking about reallocating spend or cutting costs around, including: technical debt, focusing on underperforming markets, and unnecessary spend on software and tools across the entire business.
PredictHQ wants to help you not only save money, but also make money in 2023
As the Director of Customer Success here at PredictHQ, it’s integral to my role that I deeply understand our customers' needs and ensure we’re working alongside each customer to be prepared for whatever market conditions are to come.
An economic slowdown can feel daunting for businesses as they think about the upcoming year. The key will be discipline, focus and choosing a few key areas to place your bets. We’re proud to be working alongside our customers to help place these bets. No matter where you and your company decide to invest in 2023 – make sure you are thoughtful in the approach and don’t be left on the outside of capturing the demand in the marketplace. As our CEO Campbell Brown puts it, “there’s a revolving door of pent up demand and it’s up to you as a business to understand how to capture it.”
Please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about PredictHQ, demand intelligence, or if you want to learn more about what our customers are doing with our data.