The 2018 Digital Trends for Creative and Design Leaders report explores the priorities, opportunities and challenges ahead through the lens of creative and design professionals.

For the first time our annual survey of digital professionals had specific questions for this cohort of respondents, to help us understand in more detail their opportunities and pain points.

The research, conducted by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, is based on a sample of over 2,600 creative and design respondents who were among around 13,000 digital professionals taking part in the eighth annual Digital Trends survey.

The following sections are featured in the report:

  • Design-driven companies are outperforming competitors
  • Top priorities and opportunities
  • Challenges
  • Actionable tips to help future-proof your creative and design capabilities

Findings include:

  • Design-driven companies are outperforming their peers. More than a quarter (26%) of senior creative and design professionals surveyed for this report regard their organisations as ‘definitely’ being design-driven, while a further 41% say this is ‘somewhat’ the case. Design-driven companies are almost twice as likely as other companies to be significantly outperforming their competitors (32% vs. 17%).
  • Real-time personalisation is seen as the most exciting opportunity. The most exciting opportunity for creative and design leaders in the medium term is delivering personalised experiences in real time, voted for by 31% of client-side and 39% of agency respondents.
  • Poor processes and workflows are slowing down creative and design leaders. Design-driven companies are 79% more likely than their peers to have the processes and collaborative workflows to achieve a design advantage (68% vs. 38%). Four in ten (40%) client-side creative and design leaders report that outdated workflows are a major internal barrier.
  • Companies are reaping the benefits of AI. When asked what their organisations are using AI for, the most likely application is analysis of data, cited by 54% of client-side and 45% of agency respondents. For most other use cases, agency respondents are more likely than their client-side counterparts to indicate usage of AI, including for email marketing, programmatic advertising, on-site personalisation, content creation and automated campaigns.
  • Creative and design talent is in short supply. More than a third (36%) of in-house practitioners cite access to creative talent as a key external challenge, while a similar percentage (37%) cite recruitment and retention of the right people with the right skills as a major internal barrier.

Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by Adobe, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.