Adobe has released its 2017 Econsultancy/Adobe Digital Trends report, revealing the key trends around customers experience, content, data and culture.
According to Scott Rigby, Adobe’s head of Digital Transformation, investing in the right technology is crucial but businesses are also recognising the importance of a customer-oriented, agile and collaborative company culture.
Adobe received double the amount of responses to its survey this year, with more than 14,000 marketing and digital professionals around the world taking part.
“At Adobe we believe amazing customer experiences are a blend of art and science: art in the content and science in the data,” says Rigby.
“Data is the voice of the customer and content is how you respond.”
The survey found that while customer experience (CX) has topped the priority list for a few years, this year prioritising the foundational elements needed to deliver it has fallen.
Moreover, in order to deliver differentiated customer experiences, businesses need to create an experience-focused company culture, Adobe believes.
The survey showed design is the strategic weapon in building emotive and evocative customer attachments to your products and brand.
Additionally, the survey revealed there is still a strong mobile app and social media focus in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).
About 20% of respondents rank optimising the customer experience as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead. These respondents are looking beyond mobile to focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
“Yet some companies have taken their eye off the customer-experience ball: the role of data has fallen way down marketing’s priority list in 2017,” says Rigby.
“But without strong data analytics, marketers will fail to understand their customers and this will hinder their ability to optimise the all-important customer experience,” he says.
This year’s survey reveals a surprisingly clear split: 12% of respondents said building a cross-team culture that keeps the customer at the heart of all initiatives was their toughest task, while 13% said it was the easiest.
Rigby says this split suggests a gulf between how organisations master this element of customer experience delivery.
“Companies that are smaller and nimbler and/or those born digital have the customer-centric approach embedded in their DNA, while more traditional organisations may struggle,” he explains.
Design and creativity
Some 82% of organisations value creativity highly and about 75% are investing in design to differentiate their brand.
However, about 40% say they lack the processes to achieve a design advantage – in fact, 36% of respondents say well-designed user journeys that enable clear communication and a seamless transaction are difficult to master.
“Understanding data enables a company to refine its customer segments,” Rigby says.
“This process requires additional creative content in real time to engage these new segments – what we call content velocity.
“This is where design-centric businesses with robust technology will outperform those that haven’t invested in the resources,” he says.
Mobile and social
With the strong adoption and stickiness of mobile apps in APAC, Rigby says it’s not surprising marketers have prioritised mobile app engagement above their peers in North America and Europe.
“Facebook is starting to add e-commerce and service capabilities that have been available in apps such as WeChat for a while now,” he explain.s
“In some APAC countries social apps are the preferred customer engagement channel – 31% of APAC marketers are more likely to view social media engagement as a top priority compared with 28% in North America and 27% of European respondents.”