Optimizing the customer experience continues to be the most exciting digital opportunity available to company marketers today, according to results from the latest Digital Trends report produced by Adobe and Econsultancy. Customer experience was also cited as the most exciting opportunity for marketers in both 2015 and 2014. But fast forward 5 years and respondents believe a different opportunity will take precedence.
A leading 21% share of company respondents surveyed feel that the top opportunity in 5 years’ time will be data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual. Currently, that sits as the second-largest opportunity for marketers this year, along with creating compelling content for digital experiences.
While compelling content creation is slated to retain its importance over the next 5 years relative to other opportunities, the real gainer (aside from data-driven marketing) appears to be the Internet of Things (IoT). While only 6% of respondents currently see this as their biggest opportunity, that figure rises to 10% in 5 years’ time, overtaking other opportunities such as marketing automation and cross-channel marketing.
Recent research supports the future emphasis on IoT, the surveys show:
- CMOs are more likely than the C-suite to believe that IoT will be an important technology over the next 3-5 years; and
- CMOs and senior marketers feel that IoT is the future trend that will have the biggest impact on marketing by 2020.
According to the study, and specifically customer experience, the results indicate that company marketers will place their greatest emphasis this year on:
- Making the experience as personalized and relevant as possible (25% share);
- Making the experience as valuable as possible (25%);
- Making the experience as easy to understand as possible (17%); and
- Making the experience as safe and reliable as possible (11%).
Fewer will be emphasizing speed or mobile-friendliness.
Asked to rank 5 areas in order of priority this year, respondents overwhelmingly pointed to data-driven marketing (53%) as their first choice, with far fewer selecting cross-channel marketing (19%) and customer experience (15%) as their top choice. While it may seem unusual that marketers would not prioritize their most exciting opportunity, the study notes that “data-driven marketing is increasingly seen as the heart of the new customer-centrism” and that “given that data and customer experience are indivisible, the two may be considered a single, overarching priority.”
About the Data: The results from the Econsultancy and Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing are based on an online survey of 7,002 marketing, digital and e-commerce professionals carried out in December 2015. Some 54% of respondents are marketing professionals from the client-side, with the remaining 46% from the supply-side (including agency marketers, consultants and those working for technology vendors or other service providers).
56% of respondents are from Europe, with North America (24%) the next-most heavily represented region. More than one-third (36%) of company respondents are more focused on B2C marketing, with 33% more focused on B2B marketing and the remaining 31% equally focused on B2B and B2C. The technology (12%) and financial services and insurance (11%) sectors were most heavily represented. Company respondents came from companies with a mix of revenues, with almost half (46%) from companies with at least $75 million in annual revenues.