Sure, Digital’s The ‘New Normal’ But What About The Customer Experience?

Sure, Digital’s The ‘New Normal’ But What About The Customer Experience?

In this opinion piece, Paula Parkes, Adobe’s director of marketing, Asia Pacific, says marketers have got digital right but maybe forgetting one thing – the customer experience…

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Busi­nesses in Asia Pacific are reach­ing their dig­i­tal peak. As dig­i­tal becomes stan­dard, the pace of trans­for­ma­tion is slow­ing and mar­keters are falling into a com­fort zone, start­ing to become risk adverse and not push­ing tech­nolo­gies to the next level.


Yet, new research from Adobe and CMO Coun­cil show that the next evo­lu­tion of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is about to hit mar­keters and busi­nesses across Asia Pacific, with cre­ativ­ity and con­tent play­ing a piv­otal role in deliv­er­ing a per­son­al­ised cus­tomer experience.

CMO Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with Adobe has released the fourth annual APAC Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dash­board which explores the adop­tion, trac­tion and suc­cess of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing in key Asia Pacific coun­tries.

It included a three month in-field pro­gram com­pris­ing quan­ti­ta­tive sur­veys with 900 senior mar­keters. For the first time, the 2015 Dig­i­tal Dash­board also exam­ined cre­ative empow­er­ment and con­tent veloc­ity indi­ca­tors, both crit­i­cal to deliv­er­ing an inte­grated and com­pelling cus­tomer experience.

Digital marketing

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is acces­si­ble, mea­sur­able, incred­i­bly cost effec­tive and absolutely unavoid­able in today’s dig­i­tal world. Dig­i­tal is no longer a ques­tion and orga­ni­za­tions are no longer ques­tion­ing the need to embark on these new customer-powered dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences. Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is now becom­ing fun­da­men­tal mar­ket­ing as cus­tomers demand focused and rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence across mobile, social and web.

The research clearly shows this with 91 per cent of respon­dents believ­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing will drive com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. In addi­tion, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing enjoys strong busi­ness lead­er­ship sup­port across Asia Pacific, with the CMO tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strat­egy at 39 per cent of orga­nisa­tions across the region.

Digital Marketing

As you can see from the image above, the mind­set that dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is impor­tant is high around the region with Aus­tralia and New Zealand lead­ing the charge. Over 60 per cent of APAC mar­keters believe dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing bet­ter engages and acti­vates their audi­ences.  More busi­ness lead­er­ship teams are recep­tive to pilot­ing and test­ing new dig­i­tal strate­gies (34 per cent) while fewer are wed­ded to tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing tac­tics only (13 per cent). Gone are the ques­tions about the impor­tance of digital.

Is digital maturity stagnating?

The level of dig­i­tal matu­rity is steadily grow­ing in the region but is this growth slow­ing to a halt? 28 per cent of APAC mar­keters believe they are highly evolved and pro­gres­sive lead­ers while the major­ity 36 per cent feel they are still explor­ing and eval­u­at­ing all options and only 6 per cent feel they are laggards.


Mea­sure­ment and ana­lyt­ics are accepted as manda­tory for the mod­ern dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing orga­ni­za­tion, with 84 per cent of APAC mar­keters con­firm­ing they are using mar­ket­ing tech­nol­ogy plat­forms to analyse and report. How­ever, there is still progress to be made in the appli­ca­tion of these tech­nolo­gies, with only 4 per cent say­ing they believe they are doing an excel­lent job at mea­sur­ing return on invest­ment. In addi­tional only nine per cent believe data is inte­grated through­out the mar­ket­ing lifecycle!

The changes for mar­ket­ing readi­ness and mar­ket­ing skills is minor with very slight growth year on year. There is a sense that mar­keters under­stand that mea­sure­ment needs to hap­pen and that dig­i­tal is the new nor­mal, but the dis­turb­ing trend here is that mar­keters have landed firmly in the mid­dle – seem­ingly unable to take the leap from mod­er­ate results and aver­age per­for­mance to excellence.

All the Buzz about customer experience

Cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is becom­ing the new buzz word as mar­keters strug­gle to pro­vide a per­fectly uni­fied expe­ri­ence in a frag­mented dig­i­tal world. The holy grail of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence is when con­tent, data and chan­nel are aligned. By using the data to move beyond just report­ing on KPIs and look­ing into cus­tomer insights, you can deliver per­son­al­ized con­tent across mul­ti­ple chan­nels. Cus­tomers can then get per­son­al­ized con­tent from your brand any­time, anywhere.

Few mar­keters say they are strug­gling to find and imple­ment a coher­ent cre­ative voice (10 per cent) but only four per cent say they have a highly evolved cre­ative engine fueled by an organization-wide, uni­fied vision. Far more (22 per cent) enjoy a defined vision within the orga­ni­za­tion but admit that this vision fails to reach out­side their orga­ni­za­tional walls and is far less aligned with exter­nal agen­cies and part­ners. This lack of uni­fied cre­ative vision and con­tent devel­op­ment align­ment threat­ens the cus­tomer experience.

To absolutely no-one’s sur­prise, mobile con­tin­ues to be cen­tral in APAC, and mar­keters have taken pos­i­tive steps to meet cus­tomer demands with one in four mar­keters say­ing an inte­grated mobile expe­ri­ence is a core ele­ment of their cus­tomer jour­ney. In addi­tion, 29 per cent say they have enabled cre­ative teams to develop mobile-ready con­tent that is acces­si­ble on mul­ti­ple devices. Mar­keters are start­ing to adopt a mobile-first strat­egy mind­set (18 per cent in APAC) but more need to be done as cus­tomers become more mobile-dependent.

It seems that although com­pa­nies are increas­ingly data-driven, they have not yet man­aged to extend an inte­grated approach to include cre­ativ­ity and con­tent devel­op­ment. Mar­keters need to strive for a seam­less align­ment between con­tent, data and chan­nel by mov­ing beyond sim­ply using data to report on cam­paign KPIs and use it to gain cus­tomer insights, which in turn lead to action­able strate­gies to deliver per­son­al­ized, high value con­tent across mul­ti­ple chan­nels. Con­tent and cre­ativ­ity are key, and together with strong orga­ni­za­tional data mind­set and exe­cut­ing, will be the fuel that cat­a­pults cus­tomer expe­ri­ence forward.

Down­load the full report here.

This piece originally appeared on B&T’s sister site