As the world’s top business leaders put customer experience at the heart of all initiatives, martech investments have proven a key differentiator.
The Adobe/Econsultancy 2018 Digital Trends report shows those companies exceeding their business goals had the following key points of difference from their lesser peers:
- Unified strategy focussed on content and customer experience
- Well defined customer journey and seamless transaction process
- People employed with digital marketing skills
- Integrated cloud-based marketing automation technology
- Personalised real-time delivery of content
Content and customer experience topped the priority list for the highest performing companies in the survey of 13,000 marketing, creative and technology professionals.
Content was recognised as the lifeblood of marketing activities that touches customers, from website, ad copy, email marketing and social media activity.
CX Is now front and centre of senior executive strategies for the long-term retention and acquisition of future customers.
Companies with a “cross team approach” that adopt CX at the heart of all initiatives are twice as likely to exceed business goals, according to the 2018 report, which was released ahead of new financial year strategic planning.
- 45% of companies surveyed rank content and CX as one of their three most important priority areas
- 20% of companies surveyed that exceeded 2017 business goals rank content and CX as their primary focus
The creative renaissance has arrived
It’s a time for marketing and creative professionals to rejoice as top-performing companies now prioritise their skills in complementing data and tech.
While technology tools are critical to meeting customer experience objectives, data-driven marketing is no longer unquestioned.
Human creativity and intuition are back in favour for effective marketing outputs that uniquely engage customer.
Data isn’t dead though, it’s just morphing. The new buzz is “Data-Informed Marketing” with all efforts tailored towards the customer experience.
Design and branding also hold a strong position in executive mindshare. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed have invested in design to attract customers with a point of difference from competitors.
- 69% – organisations describing themselves as ‘design-driven’ exceed 2017 business goals
- 46% – organisations where creativity is ‘highly valued’ exceeded 2017 business goals
- 57% – organisations with well-designed user journeys and seamless transaction surpassed 2017 business goals
Customer Experience to drive all digital activities
Customer Experience is the complete set of interactions that a customer has with all the touchpoints in a brand’s ecosystem. From digital assets such video views, mobile and desktop content, email, e-commerce transactions, chatbots and even IoT devices, to offline properties such as in-store, outdoor and experiential advertising.
A 2017 report titled Reinventing Loyalty by Goldsmiths University surveyed 5000 European consumers and found 61% felt loyal to brands that tailored their experience to personal preferences.
More astonishingly, 51 per cent said they would buy from an unknown brand if a better offer or experience was offered.
The Adobe Digital Trends report highlights that those companies with a customer-centric approach outperformed their competitors (27% vs 13%).
Organisations with a customer-centric approach were noted for having “a cohesive plan, long term view and executive support for the future of their customer”.
Creating a culture of tech, data and design
Customer experience might obvious, but many companies are paralysed and don’t know how to start a customer-centric strategy.
Digital transformation is essentially about people, process and technology. Getting the right mix of skills and creating a culture that lets people flourish with enabling technology was the key to success.
A cross team approach meant that employees were motivated to work together across departments to bring the best experience for customers.
North American (29%) and European (23%) companies focussed on making the experience as valuable as possible. APAC companies (21%) focussed on making the experience as personalised and relevant as possible.
“The emphasis on value in North America suggests a greater appreciation of the importance of differentiating through the customer experience, likely resulting from more competition across many business sectors in North America where a sub-standard CX is simply not commercially viable,” notes the Adobe report.
APAC companies are still more likely to prioritise the safety, reliability and speed of the experience.
“It is important for businesses to reward employees based on their ability to collaborate with people in other teams,” the Adobe Digital Trends reported noted.
“The right behaviour depends on the right rewards and bonuses. Ultimately, you get the behaviour you measure.”
- 62% said they had a cohesive long-term customer-centric plan with executive support
- 74% had a cross team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives
- 20% of organisations with customer-centric strategic plans, culture and executive support exceeded business goals compared to 11% of those without.
The right tech investments are now reaping rewards
It’s all great to have customer experience as a key business goal. But how is done? How does a well mapped customer journey create seamless transactions to attract new customers? With integrated technology stacks.
“A lack of integrated marketing technology reduces the chances of providing a seamless customer experience, and can also be frustrating for marketers and other employees who want to go about their jobs without unnecessary restrictions in their ability to acquire, retain and delight customers,” states the 2018 Digital Trends report.
The top performing companies were three times more likely to already have highly-integrated cloud-based marketing platforms in place.
Of course, it’s one thing to have the tech, but companies also need the right people to run it effectively, putting those with digital skills in high demand.
Almost three quarters of companies were employing digital marketing skills in combination with tech investments.
These skills are closely aligned to ensuring the customer experience goal is fulfilled, as delivering real-time personalisation is a key capability of digital marketing.
And while AI is still in its infancy, it is emerging in usage among top companies for analysing unstructured data from customer activity. The end game for AI at this stage is to help deliver on-site personalisation.
- 25% vs 9% – high performing companies vs peers with integrated marketing platforms
- 20% vs 11% – companies with digital marketing skills that surpassed 2017 business goals
- 28% vs 12% – top-performing companies vs their peers for using AI in marketing
Getting primed to exceed your business goals
Adobe and Econsultancy’s 2018 Digital Trends report shone a light on how companies are using creative talent and technology to exceed business goals.
A strategy for customer experience, driven by the executive team, has seen content and design skills valued as being strategically critical to leveraging martech investments to meet business goals.
Delivering real-time personalised content, in unison with data specialists, has rallied teams across leading organisations to embrace a common cause: creating a relevant, seamless customer experience.
About Traction Digital
Traction Digital are experts in acquisition and engagement, streamlining the execution of cross-channel marketing campaigns, including lifecycle email, abandoned cart, promotions and ROI tracking.