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Customer experience the “foremost opportunity of 2014” - report

20th Feb 2014
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Adobe has published its Digital Trends report for 2014, a study into digital marketing around the globe. It found that marketing and internet professionals are dedicating more and more time to delivering a harmonised customer experience across multiple channels, while retaining customers is becoming “increasingly complex”.  

The research, carried out at the end of 2013 and involving a survey to over 2,500 industry leaders, shows that 20% of in house marketers and 17% of agency marketers feel that customer experience is the foremost opportunity in 2014, with mobile a close second.   

It found that over 70% of respondents felt their number one priority in digital marketing was to “ensure consistency of message across channels”, while their second priority was getting to grips with how customers use mobile devices to research and buy products.

Multichannel campaign management [for customer experience] is becoming an increasingly crucial discipline for both digital and traditional marketers,” the report states.

“The former is starting to break out en-masse from an email-only mindset, while the latter is recognising that their companies can no longer afford to have non-complementary content and messaging across different channels.”

While nearly all of respondents accepted that digital marketing and content was the key to customer engagement, far fewer marketers admitted to knowing the exact route their organisation should take in order to further enhance the customer experience.

One direct response from a marketer into questions about satisfying consumer expectations stated, “Customer stickiness is a mirage. With so much information and personalisation of offers, getting customers to remain loyal to brand is increasingly difficult”.

Adobe released a “Digital Distress Survey” in September 2013 in which surveyed marketers mirrored these concerns, specifying that they did not have a clear vision of what areas they should focus on anymore. Social media marketing, personalisation, digital advertising and cross-channel marketing were all stated as key areas of focus, yet 40% of respondents stated they had “low confidence in their companies’ marketing performance” and were unsure of how much attention to dedicate to each area.

Another direct respondent to the Digital Trends survey stated, “Consumer choice is continually expanding at a rapid pace. Consumers can very easily decide what content they want, where, how and on what device. It’s now a battle for brands to provide a continuous flow of ever-changing content for customers to digest. The supply of this content is going to cause strain on the resources allocated to marketing as digital fights for more share.”      

Mobile continues to cause complexity, especially in retail where brands are now being told they should be focusing on location-based engagement plans and targeted reward schemes in a bid to pull customers into stores.

And mobile appears to be the key driver for all digital marketing decisions, including content and advertising, where many marketers are dedicating resources to building customer interaction within the mobile platform.

“With the media mix in flux,” the report states, “smart marketing organisations are doing three things. Firstly, they are investing in research to understand how the mix is changing, how quickly and for what audience segments. Secondly, they’re not waiting for tipping points before exploring new ways of communicating with customers.

“Thirdly, they are looking at everything through the lens of mobile; no channel new or old is unaffected by this large-scale shift in platforms.”

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