Marketers’ Top Digital Experience Goals Rest on Omni-Channel Engagement

Marketers are looking for their digital experiences in the coming year to be more comprehensive and connected and for them to tie the entire journey across both physical and digital engagements, according to a new report from the CMO Council and IBM. Study results suggest that integration of digital and physical experiences remains limited.

Indeed, just 6% of the 198 marketers surveyed for the report said that their physical and digital experiences are fully integrated and aligned, with this outweighed by the 8% who said they haven’t even started the process of even attempting to integrate them. Most respondents (49% overall) said that alignment is selective, with some ties made and others remaining disconnected.

While few respondents said that a shift to digital experiences has led to silos across the organization that segment traditional, in-person and digital experiences, it’s also telling that the top priority for digital experiences in the coming year is to better connect campaigns into a comprehensive, connected experience that drives engagement throughout the engagement lifecycle.

What the shift to digital experience has done is shown a bigger need for aggregated data pulled from across the whole company, per the report. Research has shown that the lack of integration in technology platforms is hurting omni-channel efforts, with better integration likely leading to an enhanced customer view.

When asked how their organization’s relationship with data has most changed in the past year, marketers were most likely to say that data is a metrics driver (29%) or that there is more collection than action (27%). Fewer (23%) reported being on the path to a view of the customer, with only 5% saying that they are simplified, streamlined and successful.

Cognitive computing – perceived to have a future impact on the customer experience – is highlighted in the report as an emerging technology with great potential, though it feels far off for some marketers. While many welcome it as a technology that can help them through the morass of data and are excited about its possibilities, for one-quarter of marketers the simple reality is that they haven’t begun to master simple customer analytics, so it feels out of reach for the organization.

As the report’s authors conclude, “what is holding many marketers back from leveraging any of these new technologies and trends is a lack of confidence in the data and the digital platforms that have been implemented across the organization. In order to maximize this next phase in digital’s evolution, marketers must re-focus on the journey rather than the campaign.”

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 198 marketers, the majority of whom are located in North America. Most respondents come from companies with at least $50 million in revenues, and have either a B2B (45%) or hybrid of B2B and B2C (35%) focus. The IT and professional services sectors were the most heavily represented.