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Improving the customer experience will continue to be a top opportunity in the coming years, according to a recent study [download page] from Econsultancy and Adobe. A leading 22% share of company marketers surveyed indicated that optimizing the customer experience would be their most important opportunity this year.

Key Differentiators

Customer experience isn’t only the most important opportunity, but also the top differentiator for company marketers. Some 29% share of respondents indicated that their top strategy in the next five years would be making the experience on their properties easy, fun and valuable to their customers. Second and third place responses revealed that product / service innovation (17%) and customer service and enhancing their reputation (17%) are also of importance.

Clearly, the customer seems to be the priority for 2017 and beyond, and companies are placing an increasingly prominent focus on their buyers and their overall experience.

Looking Back on 2016

Companies are learning from their experiences over the last year and that lesson is to put the customer first. Once again, optimizing the customer experience (17% share of respondents) rose to the fore when respondents indicated their biggest opportunities from 2016, followed closely by social marketing (15%) and content marketing (15%). Since all top three responses are highly customer centric, it’s a clear guide to the future priority.

Most Important Factors in the Next Few Years

Company marketers were also asked to indicate which areas would be very important to their digital marketing over the next few years. Not too surprisingly, the broadest consensus in terms of importance was to optimize the customer journey across multiple touchpoints (71%). Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds likewise said that ensuring consistency of message across channels would be very important to them.

Other Findings:

Other highlights from the report follow.

  • The top digital priorities for 2017 will be content marketing (29%), social media engagement (28%) and targeting / personalization (25%).
  • In order to improve their customer experience, organizations are placing the highest emphasis on making their experience as valuable (23%), relevant (23%) and easy to understand (16%) as possible for 2017.
  • Looking ahead, respondents indicated that improving data analysis capabilities to better understand customer experience requirements was the most important factor in delivering a great customer experience over the coming year (63% indicating very important).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The Econsultancy and Adobe report on 2017 Digital Trends was based on an online survey of marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals, carried out in November and December of 2016. There were a total of 14,163 respondents to the entire survey, 64% of whom were marketing professionals from the client-side. Top industries among respondents included technology, financial services and insurance, and manufacturing and engineering.

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