The 2022 Digital Trends Report reveals that companies must accelerate digital change – or disrupt it
The massive shifts in customer behavior brought about by the COVID-19 virus will not only continue in 2022, but will accelerate, according to Adobe and eConsultancy’s 12th annual Digital Trends Report, which also reveals how organizations will remain competitive in our ever-changing environment. .
Wide customization: How companies connect with current and future customers through individual, tailored experiences.
“This year’s results say one thing. The 2020 and 2021 events have been out of the ordinary, but the resulting shift in customer behavior will remain,” says David Carrell, Vice President of Marketing, Adobe Experience Cloud.
The findings of the Digital Trends report, based on surveys conducted by nearly 10,000 marketers, consultants, and practitioners, focus on the following areas where marketing and IT leaders will focus their energy, remaining competitive in 2022.
Accelerate the digital work of customers
While some companies are buoyed through 2020 and 2021 by short-term hacks and digital tactics, the gap between leading companies and retirees has widened. 87 percent of CEOs believe that customer expectations have been digitally rewired, and that success is determined by the brand’s ability to respond. This can be seen in how brands now do business: For example, 75 percent of companies report an increase in the use of digital channels by existing customers.
More than 50 percent of CEOs have responded by increasing their investment in platforms that enable teams across their businesses to serve customers in today’s complex omnichannel environment. In fact, customer data technologies and experience platform technologies rank among their spending priorities for 2022.
Earn customer trust
Brands have a fragile social contract with their customers. Every data point they collect comes with the expectation that they will provide valuable experiences while protecting that data to the highest level. To paraphrase Belinda Finch, CIO at Three, people today want simplicity, transparency, and trust.
Leading companies realize that with their current systems, they cannot manually manage data responsibly at the required scale. This is why they invest in platforms that allow them to standardize and power their data, while implementing strong governance across every audience, channel, and region.
Meanwhile, as the importance of third-party cookies declines, marketing and IT leaders are shifting the focus to first data, an important asset for companies hoping to thrive in a cookie-free future.
First Party Data: Information about customers that the company collects directly from them and owns. Such as phone, email, purchase history and communication preferences.
Unlock new levels of agility
The research also reveals that leading companies have incorporated flexibility into their daily practices. They are made more flexible with improved access to data, better workflow management, and comprehensive employee training.
92 percent of CEOs say their level of agility will determine their success as a marketing organization. 65% of marketing leaders rate their speed at obtaining customer insights and then acting on them, as strong or very powerful. By contrast, only 5 percent of laggards said they could collect these ideas quickly.
Leaders also know that to improve the customer experience, they must reduce friction in how employees communicate with each other and do their work. Respondents rated poor integration of technology systems, workflow issues, and a lack of digital skills as the most important internal barriers to delivering excellent customer experiences. In response, 59 percent of digital leaders are investing in talent and training to make their teams more productive.
Enhancing collaboration between IT and marketing leaders
The early days of COVID-19 strengthened the relationship between marketing and IT leaders, whose teams needed to align overnight and transform customer experiences into a digital reality. With customer behaviors continuing to change at breakneck speed, marketing managers and CIOs must collaborate even more closely to combine customer experience and digital strategies with new levels of creativity and innovation.
Encouragingly, 83 percent of senior executives agree that marketing and IT have a common vision. According to one of the report’s co-authors, Walgreens, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Patrick MacLean, “Marketing directors and CEOs really need to work hand in hand. It’s not just about aligning with roadmaps and technology needs, but also how and how customers respond and expectations We adapt to their needs in real time.”
Customize the experience for one person while still reaching millions
Finally, there is agreement among digital leaders that personalization at scale is their primary duty for 2022, and that they need a suite of integrated data, insight-focused analytics, and marketing automation to deliver. Nearly 60 percent of CEOs rank data and insights as their top technology priority for the year ahead.
They are also committed to making these systems work together and eliminating silos in their marketing package. 37 percent of marketing and IT practitioners admit that the biggest barrier to great customer experiences is poor integration of their technology systems. Meanwhile, an additional report completed by Adobe found that integrated marketing platforms can reduce total cost of business ownership by up to 35 percent and increase speed to market by 30 percent.
“We have the capabilities today to do a lot more with real-time personalization through content, analytics, automation – and increasingly artificial intelligence – which will open up new opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves and connect with customers,” says Carrell. “This is the Holy Grail of marketing in 2022: true personalization at scale that delivers personalized experiences and content to customers across every channel at the moments that matter to them.”