Report: Experience-led businesses see double-digit revenue growth against laggards

New Adobe and Forrester research into the habits and spending behaviour of customer experience-oriented businesses shows emphasis on long-term engagement, leadership buy-in, tech investment and more

Experience-led businesses are putting long-term engagement over short-term wins, investing in a combination of people, process and technology, have more comprehensive leadership buy-in and are seeing stronger revenue and customer wins as a result.

Those are just some of the findings of new research undertaken by Forrester in partnership with Adobe. The Asia-Pacific edition of the global study, entitled The Business Impact of Investing in Customer Experience – A Spotlight on Asia Pacific, were released today to coincide with the vendor’s Digital Marketing Symposium in Sydney.

The research involved a survey of business professionals from more than 1300 companies globally, including 445 across the Asia-Pacific region. It sought to understand the investments and focus being placed on 17 categories that reflect an experience-led business across people, process and technology, an area of key focus for Adobe.

According to the regional findings, 29 per cent of respondents overindexed on these experience qualities, making them ‘leaders’ in experience-driven business. Industries found to be outperforming included those digitally disrupted first: Financial services, retail and media. The organisations leading on this front also tend to be larger, with at least 10,000 employees.

Those classified as experience-led businesses were found to achieve average revenue growth rates of 23 per cent across APAC, compared with 13 per cent of other companies surveyed.

Detailing the findings during a press briefing, Adobe head of digital transformation, Scott Rigby, said the hypothesis behind the research was to ascertain the extent to which businesses leading the customer experience charge were outperforming and outinvesting their laggard counterparts.

What it found was those leading the pack are spending 2.1 times the budget on platforms and tools to drive experience, with specific budgets for 8.7 of the 17 categories surveyed and 8.4 per cent of additional budget next year going to driving CX, against 3.1 per cent across the laggards. The categories listed include org structure, collaboration, employee experience, metrics, training, insights-driven decision making, CX and marketing technology investment and Agile development.

Experience-driven businesses are also sacrificing short-term pain for long-term gain, reporting a greater year-on-year average increase in time to market (2.2 times) than firms more likely to go to market in silos. This is because they’re focused on cross-channel experience design in greater numbers, and have growing budgets for mobile, Web and physical design. They’re also spending more on marketing and CX initiatives such as loyalty programs, customer analytics and real-time interaction management.            

As a result, experience-led businesses are seeing 1.8 times the customer attention in terms of brand awareness, and activating that at 1.7 times the rate of those lagging behind. New customer growth is also growing at twice the rate of their less experience-focused counterparts, while average customer order sizes are 2.3 times higher. In addition, the emphasis experience-led businesses have on increasing lifetime value is equating to 1.9 to 2.3 times the year-on-year growth in areas such as customer retention, customer satisfaction rates and repeat purchase rates.

"It's driving customers to not only spend more money with you, it's also tangibly turning into customer satisfaction," Rigby said. "Thee experience-led businesses are starting to see more repeat purchases, increases in average order value, and turning loyal customers into advocates for your brand. This investment into customer experience is driving metrics across the board."

What’s more, employee satisfaction is 1.6 times higher in experience-led business. Notably, the report also found those in the leaders camp had 3.8 times the leadership buy-in of other organisations, and that their leaders are outperforming the laggards by a factor of 4.3 times.

The report also showed a tighter correlation between being an experience-led business and investing in a wider array of experience assets and tools to build personas and personalisation, as well as linking this to customer journey mapping. Experience-led organisations are in fact 2.8 times more likely to invest into building personas.

Rigby said it’s clear building a customer experience-led business isn’t easy. “In fact, it can be quite painful, an i doesn't happen overnight,” he admitted. “The businesses being recognised as experience-led businesses made long-term investments into customer experience.

"Businesses need to start making these investments if they're not already on this journey now, because in many cases you're being left behind. It's not just the dollars, but having the mindset and mindshare from your leaders, the input from the organisation and to make sure you have the breadth of employees invested in this."      

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