It’s been eight years since we first launched our Digital Trends survey, in collaboration with Econsultancy. We’ve seen the ecommerce boom give way to a mobile explosion, mobile give way to omnichannel and, most recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerge as the future of customer experiences. Roughly 13,000 people responded to our 2018 survey and we hope even more of you will get involved this year.
What can we expect in the year ahead? We’ve reached a critical juncture for the advertising and marketing sector. Brands are racing to explore the promise of new technologies like AI and advanced analytics but are also wary of getting their approach wrong and turning customers off, or falling foul of data protection regulations.
Last year’s survey revealed that nearly one third of companies were planning to invest in AI within 12 months. Now is the time to see where this investment has gone.
How far along are they in their AI journey and what are their priorities for the technology moving forward? We also want to know how data privacy regulation like GDPR has affected their investment in analytics and customer understanding – do they see it as an opportunity or a challenge? Has it changed their plans?
The survey takes just 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and as usual you’ll get a copy of the full report and our take on the findings next February. Click here to get started.
Let’s also take a moment to look back at some of our findings and predictions from the beginning of 2018:
This year, brands saw the quality of their customer experience as the single most exciting opportunity to drive sales and differentiate themselves, followed closely by the promise of data-driven marketing and the ability to create compelling content for digital experiences.
Creativity was also key, revealing that digital platforms and technologies have allowed brands to be more creative than ever in the way they develop, manage, and deliver content to audiences. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said they were investing in design to differentiate themselves, and 69% of those that saw themselves as design-driven had exceeded their business goals by a wider margin than those that didn’t.
As mentioned, AI really began to make a buzz at the beginning of 2018. When asked about the technologies they were most excited about in the coming year, the ability to deliver personalised experiences in real-time was by far the most popular choice. That was the case in every market we surveyed. It was also telling that top performing companies were more than twice as likely to use AI for marketing as their peers (28% vs. 12%).
As our recent Context is Everything report shows, brands are indeed racing to invest and reap the benefits of AI to offer more personalised customer experiences at scale.
Data privacy and data protection were also on everyone’s minds, particularly with the EU’s GDPR regulation just around the corner at the time. Eighty-nine per cent (89%) of companies in Europe felt confident that they would be able to comply with customer data and privacy laws at the outset of 2018.
The flurry of activity (and emails) we saw when GDPR came into effect on 25th May would suggest some businesses may have been overconfident, but we look forward to seeing the real affect GDPR has had when the 2019 results come in. Good data management has always been a priority for top performing businesses, and with regulation now making this a legal requirement we expect more brands will see this as an opportunity to take control of their data and up their game.
But of course, only time will tell. Take this year’s survey and be a part of the conversation.
And click here to revisit the full results from last year.