We are undoubtedly in a period of huge and rapid change in marketing. In Adobe’s 2013 Digital Distress survey 76% of those asked felt “that Marketing had changed more in the past 2 years than in the previous 50”. Our trends reports of the last two years suggest that this sense of rapid evolution has not diminished. If we can say anything, there is a sense that it is becoming more focussed. It may seem counter-intuitive but the key ideas and issues are at once both inflating and converging.
In 2014, customer experience emerged as one of marketers’ top priorities. In 2015, it dominated that list. Now, in 2016, it has begun to define other priorities. This is the mark of a real trend, a trend you want to follow. It develops from genuine need, then grows until other initiatives are pulled into its orbit.
With more than 7,000 professionals participating in the survey, this year’s report really tells the customer experience story. For example, when asked what respondents thought was their single most exciting opportunity, the top three answers were ‘optimizing the customer experience’, ‘creating compelling content for digital experiences’, and ‘data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual’.
Much of the ‘modern marketing’ memes are areas of business that are driven by, and dependent on data. Businesses are increasingly recognising that, along with creativity, data has the potential to drive a competitive advantage. It’s crucial to customer experience and data should be underpinning any customer interaction, from advertising through to service. In this year’s study, we see that the marketing community understands this opportunity and is working to overcome the obstacles to achieving it.
When asked to identify their strategic priorities for 2016, more organizations chose ‘data-driven marketing’ with their top vote (53%) than any other. That’s a huge majority, but again, when you look at this information in the context of the larger study, it becomes apparent that marketers are prioritizing data-driven marketing because of customer experience, not instead of it. Without a mastery of their data, they simply cannot provide the kinds of experiences they aspire to.
In parallel with the evolution of the connected, consistent and collaborative communication required to deliver excellent customer experience, there is clearly a huge challenge about what internal teams, processes and structures are required to deliver the potential of marketing technology.
The 2016 edition of the Trends report sees a new emphasis on workflow and collaboration. This is an area that we believe will be getting a great deal of attention as marketing continues its digital maturation. Tools, technologies, and even innovation itself are only as useful as the processes to put them into the field. That means people, teams and companies working together more effectively.
Clearly the respondents agree. Ninety-four percent say that optimizing creative workflows will be important in delivering a great customer experience. Further, 91% say the same about the importance of improving collaboration between creative and marketing teams.
The 2016 report is drawn from a bigger audience sample than ever before. This participation shows the degree to which the audience feels these topics are important. Marketing is expanding its remit and converging with other traditionally siloed parts of organisations to write a truly compelling description of how businesses will grow and thrive in the coming years.
Read the full report here: The Adobe 2016 Digital Trends Report