4 Key Take-A-Ways from Adobe’s 2016 Digital Trends Report

Digital Marketing | March 14, 2016

Recently Econsultancy, in partnership with Adobe, released their fifth annual Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends, where the findings from over 7,000 surveys of global professionals are reported.

Here are some key insights from the report:

1. Customer Experience (CX) is still a Big Buzzword

CX sits high atop the priority list of the most exciting opportunity for companies this year. And it is becoming big enough and important enough to permeate even the furthest corners of any business. A great CX requires the perfect balance and input of technology, data, and personnel. Yet, only 1/3 of companies report the responsibility for a great CX actually spans the entire company.

This disconnect between corporate priority and reality is further illustrated when we see that 70% of companies consider optimizing the customer journey across multiple touch points as ‘very important’. Clearly, the desire to create a seamless and memorable customer experience is alive and well, but the path to get there is littered with multiple, common barriers.

2. Data Use Should Determine Your Future

Data driven marketing is the heart of customer driven centrism. Data is needed to improve customer experience and user experience, implement personalization, and reach optimization. But good data and therefore useful analytics, comes with a whole bunch of challenges.

A few of the barriers to good data include: technology, skillsets, and leadership.

Consider that only 41% of companies say they have a solid infrastructure in place to even collect the needed data. That puts over half of the surveyed organizations behind the curve even before the race starts. Finding the right technology to mine and house your data is an essential first step.

Second, only about one third of companies are confident in their analyst’s ability to make sense of the data they collect. That’s a big deal. Making actionable insights from your own data is what determines your strategy. Or at least it should. Adobe acknowledges that this talent gap has existed in the industry and with data driven marketing being the “most exciting future opportunity”, skilled analysts will remain essential.

Third, and this leads to our next section, is leadership. The gains from truly understanding and effectively utilizing raw data must be fully embraced and backed by executives. Resources to accomplish measurable analytics are needed, and needed now. In Adobe’s study, less professionals than last year said ‘our marketing will be measureable this year’; that shows a lack of prioritizing and the challenge in measuring ROI.

When you are done reading this blog, hop over to our series on Seven Steps You Need to Prove Analytics with ROI. It’s an educational path with useful information that addresses this exact situation.

3. Create a Collaborative and Cohesive Culture

Collaboration within a company is an incredibly underestimated element. It is least likely to be ranked as most important to customer experience success. Think about it from your customer’s perspective: moving through their journey, having different, disjointed experiences along the way doesn’t make for a very good CX.

Yet the realities of creating and maintaining a corporate culture that is truly unified in one CX is quite difficult. First, traditionally and still prevalent today, is the notion that a CX strategy is fully owned and executed by the marketing team. Many times it’s reinforced by the existing processes within a company that hinder cooperation and contribution from other departments. But creating a cross team approach is seen as very important as it was ranked as a 4 (35%) or 5 (38%) (5 being most important ).

A second obstacle are the realities of unifying existing practices with new digital realities. Companies with legacy systems and procedures find that meeting the ever-changing demands of their savvy customers, only reveals the weak spots in their organization. And the time spent to upgrade those instances, only puts them farther behind in their CX priorities.

4. Good, Quality Content Still Wins

Creating compelling content is just behind data-driven marketing and optimizing CX as the most exciting opportunity this year, as well as in the next five. But there are some key elements to making content work to achieve both your CX and optimization goals.  The Content Marketing Institute  asks “Why should your customers care?”. They remind us it’s imperative that you are creating valuable, useful, compelling, and DIFFERENT content.

How do you know what that looks like? Creating good content comes from understanding what is important to your customers. These are insights that a solid analytics program can deliver by answering questions about where customers spend time, what they are searching for, and what leads to conversion.

Doing additional research, a quick keyword search for example, to see not only what is available to your customers, but what isn’t, can uncover a niche where you can differentiate yourself. The noise of all the content put out into the digital world is incredibly loud, so the ability to have a unique voice can’t be overstated.  Along with unique, your voice needs to be consistent, and that comes from a collaborative company culture, where everyone can share perspective and take part in your compelling story.

What Are You Doing to Make 2016 Successful?

Companies with solid plans for success in mind are investing in technology and reworking strategy. They are creating organizational cohesion and realigning resources. They are recognizing weaknesses in structure and skillsets. They are understanding how priorities are connected and breaking down walls between departments.

2016 Planning Guide: Digital Trends and Insights Critical to Success

A truly great customer experience cannot be achieved without a supporting cast. Uncover actionable ideas and insights you can implement into your marketing efforts, to see positive results.

Click here to download.




Kari Mayhew is the Marketing Manager for iCiDIGITAL, and has contributed engaging and educational ideas to a variety of enterprises, both on and off-line, for well over a decade. She can also be found experimenting in the kitchen, running on dirt trails and cheering for favorite teams.