The link between sales and revenue is straightforward. Products or services go out, money comes in, and the top line goes up. For companies that want a clear path to growth, it’s only natural to invest directly in tactics that boost sales directly.
Revenue becomes harder to trace when it’s driven by word-of-mouth or improvements to the customer experience, both of which are less tangible sales drivers. However, these both play a major role in inspiring customers to engage with a brand, but only recently have businesses started to appreciate the extent of their impact.
Customer loyalty is difficult to secure. Companies are learning the hard way that making one sale doesn’t necessarily mean the same customer will come back for another. However, incredible experiences do drive loyalty, and across every industry we’re seeing businesses adapt to this reality.
Three Success Stories
Take Everything Everywhere (EE), the UK’s largest mobile network. The company’s success has largely been the result of its commitment to doing things differently from the competition. Its website is highly dynamic, allowing EE to draw insights from data on subscriber behaviour and adapt its online experience to each customer’s needs and preferences. This personalisation has helped the operator to better serve its 31 million subscribers, and just as importantly to boost its online conversion rates.
Hotel giant Marriott is also doing something different. After ripping up its previous, fragmented marketing strategy, it brought its 30 brands together onto a single platform. Today, Marriott can roll out personalised mobile experiences to its 100 million+ members, tapping into their preferred means of engagement and delivering unique brand experiences that build long-term connections.
Major players in the financial services industry are also seeing the benefits of an experience-led approach. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is integrating its physical and online experiences to deliver targeted, just-in-time product and service information to customers on whichever channel they prefer. Combining this with advanced analytics has given RBS a 360-degree view of each customer, allowing it to provide more relevant experiences and boost conversions. In the words of Giles Richardson, Head of Analytics at RBS, “We don’t expect customer trust—we earn it”.
The dawn of the experience business
At Adobe, we’ve long believed that the future belongs to what we call “Experience Business”, and it’s encouraging to see these companies prove us right. Though they serve completely different sectors and offer completely different services, they have all elevated the customer experience to the point of making it a clear differentiator.
And they’re not alone. More organisations than ever are looking at ways to create more personalised customer experiences. Research we conducted with Forrester revealed that companies using Adobe in the media and entertainment industry created 40 percent more personalised campaigns in 2017 than they did the previous year, and generated 2.4 times more traffic.
An even more pleasant surprise for these organisations it that this traffic has led to more engagement, with personalised campaigns driving an average of 223,000 conversions.
What is an experience-driven business?
Roughly 30 percent of EMEA enterprises qualify as experience-driven businesses, by which we mean they show a commitment to delivering the best possible customer experiences through their people, process, and technology pillars.
These companies may remain in the minority, but they have proven that this approach contributes to healthy growth, and it’s safe to assume more businesses will follow their lead. Our research found that optimised experiences lay at the heart of a whopping $128bn in customer revenues through 2017, a 30 percent increase on the previous year.
Experience-driven businesses have not only seen increased conversions and a healthier bottom-line, they’ve also improved conditions for their employees. Experience runs both ways, after all. The same tactics organisations use to personalise the customer experience can also help them to tailor the working experience to each employee’s needs and preferences.
The discrepancy between experience-driven businesses and their competitors is significant here too, with companies in the former group that use Adobe Target saying they saw a 1.8X increase in employee satisfaction.
Consumers have made it clear they care more about experiences than things. Any businesses that focusses solely on sales will have little chance of winning peoples’ loyalty in the long term. Instead, they need to shift their priorities and think like Experience Makers. They need to make personalisation a priority and ensure they have all the right pieces in place to bring more engaging customer experiences to life.
We’ve already seen a number of major brands shutter their doors in 2018 because they couldn’t keep up with changing nature of customer engagement. Clear daylight is now emerging between pioneers like EE and Marriott Hotels and the rest of the pack, and it’s up to brands to adapt or fall on the wrong side of history.
Read more about the Forrester Report commissioned by Adobe here.
 Source, Forrester.