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 [download page] 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.
Indeed, a leading 21% share of company respondents surveyed (predominantly European-based) 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 this future emphasis on IoT, with surveys showing that:
- CMOs are more likely than the C-suite as a whole 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.
Returning to the Econsultancy and Adobe study – and specifically the topic of 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%).
By comparison, fewer will be emphasizing speed or mobile-friendliness.
Finally, while data-driven marketing might be the most exciting opportunity in 5 years’ time, that doesn’t mean that company respondents will be ignoring it this year. In fact, 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 tabbing cross-channel marketing (19%) and, surprisingly, customer experience (15%), as their top choice. While it may seem unusual that marketers would not prioritize their most exciting opportunity, the study authors note 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).
The largest share (56%) of respondents hail 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.