I was speaking to an old school friend recently and they reminded me about a game we used to play when killing time in class. The aim of the game was to collaborate on drawing a picture of a figure. First, one person drew the head before folding it over so the next in line couldn’t see what had been drawn before. Then the next collaborator would draw the torso before once again folding it over and passing it along, and so on, until the last person in line had drawn the shoes. The fun lay in opening the paper to reveal a chimera of a person. Different parts of the body would be executed in various colours bearing no relation to each other; Drawn, as they were, in isolation.
Well, it struck me that this game is an apt analogy for how digital customer experiences have traditionally been executed. Rather than working together in true collaboration towards a single, unified view of the customer, the various functions that inform customer experiences have been siloed.
A platform for growth
What’s exciting, is that thanks to cloud customer experience leaders, we are breaking away from this model of separate parts, and businesses are benefitting hugely as a result. This trend was one of the highlights of the Adobe Digital Trends Report 2018, which found that top-performing customer experience businesses have invested in integrated, cloud-based technology stacks to meet their business goals.
According to the survey, organisations that employ tools that allow for streamlined workflows between creative and content marketers and web teams are 62 percent more likely to have exceeded their business goals. Similarly, the survey found that businesses that commit to the customer experience through a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives are nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin (20 percent vs. 11 percent).
For me, this makes complete sense. As you will know, customers today are demanding personal experiences across every touchpoint, and brands must deliver if they’re to stay in business. What’s needed today is a set of technology-enabled capabilities across data and content to build, manage, and deliver an experience that delights customers and drives impact. The experience must be built up around the customer and fuelled by deep data and insights that are fully integrated across the full range of relevant functions.
At Adobe we’re clear what this means: you must bring together everything into one platform, combining the best content with robust data and science to turn insights into action. Businesses that do this right will become experience businesses: Organisations that have transformed their operations to meet one goal: Delighting the customer.
Of course, there are barriers to any successful transformation on this scale. In this case, the first is skills: As businesses rebuild themselves around digital experiences they will need to invest in the right digital skills. This is something that businesses recognise and are working to resolve. In our survey, three quarters of respondents agreed that digital skills are essential to success given the digital platforms now in place.
The second barrier is compliance: Businesses need to find ways to create data-driven customer experiences while respecting all relevant privacy and data regulations. Reassuringly, however, the vast majority of respondents (89 percent) in the report stated that they feel that they’ll be able to comply with current and future regulations.
This year’s report is very encouraging. It suggests we’re heading into a golden age of customer experience, driven by cloud-based digital technology. It shows the benefits of true, seamless collaboration; Of bringing all experience functions together on a single platform and unifying it around the customer. The future of marketing – to adapt my earlier analogy – is clear: Everyone working together at the same time, on the same paper, using the same ink and drawing a single, seamless picture. The results will be exponentially better than anything we’ve seen in the past.