For today’s IT leaders, experience still reigns.
Econsultancy report: Digital Trends 2018

















For years, becoming data-driven has been the name of the game for marketers. And for good reason. The wealth of information coming at organisations through the proliferation of digital apps and systems present a huge opportunity for marketers to better understand when, where, and how customers interact with their brand. 

But it’s not enough to be data-driven. Data, by itself, can’t deliver insights. The most successful organisations use data to inform decisions, rather than dictate them. And the most savvy marketers know that creating seamless, personalised experiences is still the way to their customer’s hearts. 

Adobe partnered with Econsultancy to explore the most significant digital trends for EMEA markets that will impact marketing, creative, and technology professionals in 2018. The results speak for themselves.

Organisations with ‘a cohesive, long-term plan’ for the customer experience are more than 2x as likely to outperform competitors.

Design-led, results-driven.

















Of course, data continues to inform the customer experience. But it’s not just about delivering the right content, to the right audience, at the right time. It’s about creating experiences that customers connect with and remember. And that starts with design.  

More than ever, design is integral to shaping customer experience (CX) strategy. In fact, brands say that a design-led approach does more to differentiate themselves from competitors than relying on data alone.
Circle Graph 69%

Organisations describing themselves as ‘design-driven’ are 69% more likely to have exceeded their business goals by a significant margin.

Old tools, new tricks.

















Search is also receiving a renewed focus. Mobile search is a digital trend that is becoming increasingly important in our daily lives, as we seek out immediate answers to questions on the spur of the moment and while we are on the move.
But again, as companies become more experience-driven, the key is to find creative ways to improve SEO while delivering experiences that offer something relevant, personalised, and new. The internet is already saturated with content about “digital transformation” — what new insight can your company bring to the table? 

Paid search (PPC) has seen the largest jump in the proportion of marketers planning to increase budget for 2018 (40%).

Content remains king.

















Simply put, great experiences can’t exist without great content. Content is the lifeblood of marketing activities across a whole host of different touchpoints on owned and third-party digital properties, from website and advertising copy through to email marketing and social media activities. It is the fuel that drives digital experiences without which most businesses would eventually grind to a halt. And companies are bringing more of it in-house — right to the people who know the business and the customer the best.
56% circle graph

The top digital-related priority for organisations in 2018 is content and experience management. Almost half (45%) of companies surveyed rank this as one of their three most important priority areas for the year ahead, with a fifth (20%) stating that this is their primary focus.

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Content marketing (58%) is the area where respondents are most likely to be planning a budget increase during 2018, while content management is also being allocated greater investment by a significant proportion of marketers (48%).

Real time returns real results.

















However, even the most engaging content won’t move the needle if your audience doesn’t see it. That’s why the personalisation, management, and distribution of these assets is imperative to maximizing and optimizing their performance — and creating workflows and UX (user experiences) to make this seamless and non-intrusive to the customer. In fact, top-performing companies are twice as likely as their mainstream peers to classify themselves as digital-first and almost three times as likely to have invested in an integrated, cloud-based technology stack to manage all of their assets and experiences. 
50% circle graph

Top-performing companies are 50% more likely than their peers to have well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction.

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Top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to focus on IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (artificial intelligence) initiatives like bots to deliver real-time customer-centric experiences.

Ultimately, it’s all about ROI.

















Yet, even with all of the measurement and management tools at a marketer’s disposal, ROI remains somewhat elusive. In fact, just a minority of marketers have high confidence in their ability to attribute marketing programmes to revenue. That’s why it’s so important to invest in technologies and people with the right digital and analytic skillsets to interpret and make the most of all the data flowing through your organisation. 

Bottom line: Vanity metrics and standard KPIs don’t secure or grow marketing budgets. It’s imperative for companies to align around shared business goals that drive value – then bring all their relevant data together in a holistic view to fully understand and deliver customer-centric experiences. 

Want to learn more about how these top digital trends can transform your CX strategy?