Our latest Digital Intelligence Briefing is out and promises to bring a broader-based perspective to understanding digital and marketing trends. We saw a record number of respondents this year with over 14,000 people around the world sharing their thoughts and opinions.
The 2016 report, which you can view here, described a year where digital integration appeared to decelerate as companies sought to develop strategies and toolsets to deliver customer experience.
In our new report, we highlight a few shifts indicating that digital transformation is on the move again as companies and agencies make customer experience a top priority again in the coming year.
The Push for Customer Experience Continues
A compelling customer experience and the content to support it continued to be a leading priority as over one-fifth (22%) of client-side respondents ranked optimising the customer experience as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead. This category came in ahead of creating compelling content for digital experiences (16%).
The excitement is seen in the list of marketers’ top priorities:
- Content marketing (29%)
- Social media engagement (28%)
- Targeting and personalisation (25%)
While most of the priorities make sense, there are some potential disconnects revealed in the responses. For example, “optimising the customer experience” ranks as the single most exciting opportunity, but data-driven marketing lags behind with only 12 % citing this area as an opportunity. Marketers must have the right data to get great customer experience, and they cannot afford to under-invest in capable data analytics.
Design: The Not-so-secret Strategic Weapon
Marketers consider design as the next level on the path to digital transformation, with 86% of survey
respondents agreeing that design-driven companies outperform other businesses. This design-centric mindset comes as no surprise considering that those surveyed place the highest emphasis on creating customer experiences that are as personalised, relevant, and valuable as possible.
While marketers acknowledge the value of design in their marketing strategies, many report challenges yet to be navigated in this area. 82% believe that creativity is highly valued within their organisations and 77% of them are investing in design to differentiate their brand. However, just over two-fifths (41%) of those surveyed don’t think that they have the processes and collaborative workflows to achieve a design advantage. In fact, 36% of client-side respondents rate having well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction as difficult to master.
Organisational Structure: The Foundation for Success
Organisational structure and a firm grip on culture, collaboration, skills, data, and technology is also vital to getting customer experience right. Client-side marketers consider improving data analysis capabilities (63%), optimising internal collaboration between creative and marketing teams (53%) and optimising internal workflows (53%) to be ‘very important’ for delivering a great customer experience.
The results indicate that some progress has been made regarding the level of digital integration across an organisation’s marketing activities. A small majority (53%) of organisations have made a great start by optimising collaboration between creative and marketing, but it is only a start. If organisations really want great end-to-end customer experience they will need to break silos across the entire enterprise, not just between two teams.
Marketers have also set their sights on multichannel marketing. Optimising the customer experience across multiple touchpoints will be the single most important opportunity for organisations in 2017, according to 22% over client-side marketers and 18% of agency respondents.
The report highlights some regional differences. Marketers in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are more likely to prioritise mobile app engagement, with 14% citing this area as a top priority compared with 12% of North American respondents and 9% of European respondents. This is not surprising given the prevalence of the mobile internet and the presence of WeChat and other advanced mobile apps in the region. APAC marketers are also more likely to view social media engagement as a top priority (31% vs. 28% of North American respondents and 27% of European respondents).
Looking Ahead to 2020
It appears that 25% of marketers are most excited about engaging audiences through virtual or augmented reality as well as the Internet of Things and connected devices.
Regional comparisons reveal that marketers in Asia-Pacific are slightly more excited about using enhanced payment technologies such as mobile wallets and e‑receipts compared with their European and North American counterparts, while European marketers are on the whole more excited about using artificial intelligence/bots to drive campaigns and experiences.
Overall, payment technologies and voice interfaces such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are regarded as less exciting prospects for 2020, with 15% and 6% of marketers indicating their anticipation respectively.
Read the report today for a more detailed analysis and additional insights.