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…
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 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.
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 www.which-50.com