In some cases, tunnel vision is an impairment, a limitation of someone's peripheral vision. In the case of Lisa Loftis, it is a strength, allowing her to clear away the hype and the noise in the business world to focus on the one thing that matters: the customer.

Lisa brings this singularity of focus to her work advising clients as a principal management consultant at SAS Best Practices, and to her monthly columns, where she's covered the disappearance of the cookie, the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the customer experience realm and more. Her 25 plus year career grounds her perspective, but she still imparts a sense of excitement and potential for the customer experience space in every column she writes.

What excites you about your field today?

That the frenetic pace and sheer magnitude of technological advancement has opened up so much potential for innovation in customer experience. Who knew that one day we would be able to discern sentiment, pick up emotions from voice and video, and design products and services that can use AI, AR/VR and IoT to create intelligent, immersive experiences that bridge the digital and physical worlds. I can’t wait to see what creative marketers and CX pros will come up with next.

If people could use only one word to describe you, what word would you want them to use?

Ten years ago I would have said fun and meant it. But age and circumstances take their toll, so today I would want to be described as compassionate.

What’s one lesson that we collectively can’t seem to learn?

That kindness, basic human dignity and compassion for others beats bullying, name calling and what’s-in-it-for-me in every circumstance.

What work-related trend will you be watching in the year(s) ahead?

I am still watching the CDP migration (or mutation – J). In the last year we have gone from a fairly uniformly accepted set of characteristics for a CDP (data ingestion, data unification/identity management, audience segmentation, insight provision) to a classification system for CDPs that spans the gamut from more simplistic customer data bases through to enterprise multi-channel marketing hubs. Virtually every industry analyst firm has rolled out their own CDP classification method and they are all different from where we started the year. One thing is clear to me however: the popularity of the CDP hasn’t waned and I think there is more market shakeup (or shakedown) coming in 2022.  

Learning Opportunities

What’s one work-related trend that surprised you? (could be from any point in your career)

I am pleasantly surprised at the surge in DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) and ESG (environmental, social and governmental) efforts from brands today. I am proud to work for a company, SAS, that has always in my tenure promoted these principles, (e.g. our participation in the Data For Good movement, our green campus, our ongoing DE&I education programs for employees) but now many other companies are following suit.

The CMO survey found a 10.6% increase in spending on DE&I efforts last year, with 68% of participating CMOs expecting these goals to continue to be a corporate priority for the next 5 years. In its 2022 predictions, Forrester stated that brands will take bold actions to advance ESG goals and Deloitte’s 2022 global marketing trends tout authentically inclusive marketing that will win customers with DE&I. I personally hope that these predictions become sustaining reality for many years to come.   

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Advice from my father (we called him Pappy) who by example illustrated the importance of laughter and a sense of humor.  When my parents retired to Prescott AZ he told me “I live in Yavappy county now (he pronounced it Ya-vappy). That makes me Pappy from Yavappy.” For months I told everyone we knew how funny I found it that they had moved someplace where he could be Pappy from Yavappy – until my mother overheard me telling this story and said “you DO know it is Yavapai (as in Ya-va-pie) right?” I did not — lol. He has been gone for 4 years now but we all still refer to him as Pappy from Yavappy.

If you could make one wish for your industry for 2022, what would it be?

I wish that marketers will finally take privacy seriously. First we had the ePrivacy directive in the EU (now known as the cookie law), then came the GDPR and the CCPA, and this past year it has been the Apple privacy reports and Google’s announcement that it would stop supporting cookie tracking. Each of these successive announcements sends the marketing world reeling. It is time to switch from reactive mode to proactive. That means transparency in data collection and using first party data to provide real value to customers so they continue to engage.