​Report: It’s the era of experience but don’t forget the basics

New research reveals customer experience presents big opportunities but warns marketers should remember the fundamentals

We’re in the era of customer experience and marketers are investing big, but this should not be at the cost of neglecting key fundamentals such as data and analytics, a new report found.

The Digital Trends Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends released by Adobe in collaboration with EConsultancy, revealed more businesses are investing in content and design in an effort to create those experiences that will feel personal, compelling and memorable.

Based on a global survey of more than 14,000 digital marketing and ecommerce professionals across EMEA, North American and Asia Pacific markets, the report found customer’s experience and the content to support it continue to be top priorities for both marketers and their agencies when they think about where opportunity lies.

Over one fifth of client-side respondents ranked ‘optimising the customer experience’ as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, slightly ahead of other areas such as ‘creating compelling content for digital experiences’ at 16 per cent.

A key part of delivering differentiated customer experiences in the future will involve looking beyond mobile and focusing on the Internet of Things, augmented reality and virtual reality channels, which were regarded by survey respondents as exciting prospects over the coming years.

Despite the continued focus on customer experience, the report showed investment in analytics is lagging and organisations are not building their data and analytics capabilities fast enough.

The vast majority (97 per cent) of survey respondents said they plan to increase or maintain the level of their investment in marketing analytics. However, this investment does not match the will, with analytics featuring further down marketers’ lists of priorities for 2017.

“It seems that many businesses are so excited to get into the experience game that they over-extend, neglecting to take care of the basics,” Adobe’s APAC VP of Marketing, Marta DeBellis, said. “But if you want to take design and content to deliver truly personalised experiences, you need a strong foundation of data.”

Meanwhile organisations that have a customer-oriented, agile and collaborative culture are better equipped to handle disruptive forces and even begin to instigate their own forms of disruption, shaking up stale and irrelevant practices to be more in tune with today’s marketing realities, the report found.

But the survey highlighted that building a culture and cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives is easy for some, and extremely hard for others. In fact, it ranked as most difficult to achieve by 13 per cent of respondents, but easiest to achieve by 12 per cent.

According to DeBellis, getting the balance of content and data right often takes an increased focus on refining an organisation’s culture to adapt to these changing needs.

“Adopting a collaborative, cross-team approach where everyone is focused on the same goal of delivering experiences is hard, so it’s not surprising to see that many businesses are struggling,” she said.

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