Last year, the Adobe Digital Trends report showed data-driven marketing to be the top priority for marketers, with 90% of survey respondents citing it as their number one choice.

Fast forward to 2017 and the tables have turned.

Customer experience is now the biggest priority for 63% of marketers, with 49% currently citing it as the most important of all. Of course, ‘customer experience’ is somewhat of an umbrella term, involving multiple areas of focus. 

With this in mind, here’s a bit of insight into how marketers are honing in on the customer experience, as well as a few key challenges they face. And for further insight, you can download the Adobe 2017 Digital Trends Report.

Greater focus on CX

First, why has customer experience overtaken data-driven marketing?

On one hand, this could be because data is also considered as part of the customer experience, meaning that there is in fact just as much of a focus as before. 

Alternatively, last year’s concentration (and investment) in the area means it has naturally slipped down the list of pressing priorities.

Driving perceptions of value

Drilling down into what ‘customer experience’ actually means for marketers, we can see that there is a bigger focus on overall ‘value’ rather than individual customer touchpoints.

This means that instead of one aspect, such as diligent customer service or next day delivery, the experience in itself is considered to be of over-arching importance.

While 23% of companies place the highest emphasis on creating that valuable experience, it is a natural that other elements within this remit – such as personalisation and consistency – are also ranked highly.

Importance of internal factors

The below chart supports the notion that data-analysis is part and parcel of the customer experience, with 96% of marketing executives saying it is fundamental to improving it. 

Similarly, internal collaboration is also key, with 53% of client-side respondents agreeing that this is ‘very important’.

Despite this notion, it is clear that organisational silos continue to be one of the biggest barriers to improving CX. Findings from Econsultancy’s CX Challenge Report prove this, with companies that are highly advanced in customer experience sharing the responsibility across departments.

Striving for a design advantage

In this year's survey, culture and strategy were ranked as the most important elements for CX success, with UX design cited as the third most important driver to success.

In actual fact, client-side marketers deemed UX design's importance in delivering customer experience success lower in 2017 than they did in 2016.

Design impacts every part of the customer experience, meaning this perspective could prove to be a big limitation. Meanwhile, with 44% of respondents not having the processes and collaborative workflows to achieve a design advantage, this goes back to the problem of internal barriers getting in the way of success.

Ultimately, with poor customer experience often relating to a lack of consistency across all channels – be it in terms of content, data insights or design – organisations need to start considering these elements in conjunction to faciliatate progress.

For further insight, you can download the 2017 Digital Trends Report.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 3 February, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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