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Roughly 1 in 4 enterprise-level (at least 500 employees) high-tech companies feel that they’re unable to keep pace with escalating customer expectations, and that figure is particularly high among companies involved in internet offerings (47%), per a report from Adobe and Ovum [download page].

On the plus side for companies involved in internet offerings, perceived market competition is slightly lower (6.3 on a 10-point scale) than for other companies such as consumer electronics (7.6) and software (7.1).

High-tech companies point to a number of factors leading to competition within their industry. The biggest contributing factors are the presence of new disruptive market entrants and the ease of substitution of one product or service for another in the customer’s eyes. However, the most broadly-cited factor relates to new products and services causing market fragmentation.

As such, between new market entrants, established players’ new offerings, and the ease of substitution for customers, high-tech companies are facing an increasingly competitive landscape.

High-tech companies are understandably taking a customer-centric approach to combating these competitive threats and meeting rising expectations. Respondents were asked to choose their top 3 strategic responses to these developments from a list of 8. The largest proportions selected a greater focus on digital customer engagement (16.2%) and investments in improving customer experience (15.5%) as being among their top-3.

B2B firms have likewise turned to customer experience improvements to combat what they believe is a competitive advantage for new market entrants.

With most high-tech companies investing in digital marketing platforms to help them along, a growing number are delivering sales digitally. By 2020, 38.5% of high-tech companies expect to deliver more than 60% of their sales digitally, compared to 20.5% currently doing so.

In terms of digital marketing investments in the coming 18-24 months, high-tech companies are prioritizing account-based marketing, content management systems and campaign management the most, with customer experience also (unsurprisingly) squarely in the mix.

Overall, roughly two-thirds plan to up their digital marketing spending next year, with customer intelligence looking set to reap the biggest benefits from increased investments.

About the Data: The report is based on 200 telephone research interviews with marketing directors, marketing managers, and digital marketing managers in high-tech companies with 500+ employees operating in Europe, Asia, and North America. Ovum conducted telephone interviews with software, internet, consumer electronics, technology manufacturer, and professional/IT services companies.

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