(3 min read)
The start of each new year these days hails the inevitable onslaught of predictive online posts of trends for the year ahead.
There are few, however that hold as much weight as the 2017 Digital Trends Report from Econsultancy in association with Adobe.
Published in February 2017, this year's report is based on a survey of more than 14,000 digital marketing and ecommerce professionals from across the globe.
Below are some of our key takeaways from the report.
Takeaway 1: Customer Experience Remains Key
22% of client-side respondents ranked 'optimising the customer experience' (CX) as the most exciting opportunity in 2017, ahead of 'creating compelling content for digital experiences' (16%) and 'data-driven marketing' (12%).
71% of respondents also considered 'optimising the customer experience' to be 'very important' for their digital marketing over the next few years.
This topped the list ahead of 'ensuring consistency of message across channels' (66%), 'training teams in new techniques, channels and disciplines' (58%), 'understanding how mobile users research/buy products' (50%) and others.
A quick aside...
Defining 'Customer Experience' (CX) - How Is It Different to UX?
Takeaway 2: Navigating Data Still Presents Challenges
On the negative side, the report suggests that whilst marketing analytics are vital, organisations still seem to be struggling with data - especially bringing together offline and online data which is a goal for many organisations, though still presents one of the largest challenges.
Data capabilities in general don't seem to be developing fast enough to keep up, the report continues.
It makes sense that if organisations' top priority is optimising the customer experience, then an appropriate investment in marketing analytics software and resources should be made to gain the necessary insights to understand those customers throughout the user journey."
Takeaway 3: What Are the Top Priorities for 2017?
According to the report, marketers' priority wish lists for 2017 are topped by:
'Brand building', 'video content', 'customer journey management', 'multi channel campaign management' and 'search engine marketing' rounded out the top 8.
Focusing on Customer Experience Excellence
Customer Experience (CX) continues to appear as top priority on these types of reports and lists as we move into 2017.
Then how do we move towards Customer Experience Excellence? (...CXX?)
It's important above all else to consider that the responsibility for customer experience in an organisation is not the role of one individual or department, it is everyone's responsibility.
Excellent customer experience permeates the entire company's culture - right from the CEO to the sales team and through to the customer service desk and across all touch points.
Master Your Culture, Master Your Customer Experience
It's interesting on this note that 'Culture' was second on the list of 'elements of customer experience that organisations found most difficult to master' (second only to 'Strategy') - in fact, 14% of respondents rated 'Culture' as 'most difficult' to master.
It would seem then that 'Culture' is the logical place to start.
Have a clear vision and purpose, then live it and breath it.... the rest will start to flow from there.