The Adobe 2016 Digital Trends Report

We are undoubt­ed­ly in a peri­od of huge and rapid change in mar­ket­ing. In Adobe’s 2013 Dig­i­tal Dis­tress sur­vey 76% of those asked felt “that Mar­ket­ing had changed more in the past 2 years than in the pre­vi­ous 50”. Our trends reports of the last two years sug­gest that this sense of rapid evo­lu­tion has not dimin­ished. If we can say any­thing, there is a sense that it is becom­ing more focussed. It may seem counter-intu­itive but the key ideas and issues are at once both inflat­ing and converging.

In 2014, cus­tomer expe­ri­ence emerged as one of mar­keters’ top pri­or­i­ties. In 2015, it dom­i­nat­ed that list. Now, in 2016, it has begun to define oth­er pri­or­i­ties. This is the mark of a real trend, a trend you want to fol­low. It devel­ops from gen­uine need, then grows until oth­er ini­tia­tives are pulled into its orbit.

With more than 7,000 pro­fes­sion­als par­tic­i­pat­ing in the sur­vey, this year’s report real­ly tells the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence sto­ry. For exam­ple, when asked what respon­dents thought was their sin­gle most excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty, the top three answers were ‘opti­miz­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence’, ‘cre­at­ing com­pelling con­tent for dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences’, and ‘data-dri­ven mar­ket­ing that focus­es on the individual’.

Much of the ‘mod­ern mar­ket­ing’ memes are areas of busi­ness that are dri­ven by, and depen­dent on data. Busi­ness­es are increas­ing­ly recog­nis­ing that, along with cre­ativ­i­ty, data has the poten­tial to dri­ve a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. It’s cru­cial to cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and data should be under­pin­ning any cus­tomer inter­ac­tion, from adver­tis­ing through to ser­vice. In this year’s study, we see that the mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ty under­stands this oppor­tu­ni­ty and is work­ing to over­come the obsta­cles to achiev­ing it.

When asked to iden­ti­fy their strate­gic pri­or­i­ties for 2016, more orga­ni­za­tions chose ‘data-dri­ven mar­ket­ing’ with their top vote (53%) than any oth­er. That’s a huge major­i­ty, but again, when you look at this infor­ma­tion in the con­text of the larg­er study, it becomes appar­ent that mar­keters are pri­or­i­tiz­ing data-dri­ven mar­ket­ing because of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, not instead of it. With­out a mas­tery of their data, they sim­ply can­not pro­vide the kinds of expe­ri­ences they aspire to.

In par­al­lel with the evo­lu­tion of the con­nect­ed, con­sis­tent and col­lab­o­ra­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion required to deliv­er excel­lent cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, there is clear­ly a huge chal­lenge about what inter­nal teams, process­es and struc­tures are required to deliv­er the poten­tial of mar­ket­ing technology.

The 2016 edi­tion of the Trends report sees a new empha­sis on work­flow and col­lab­o­ra­tion. This is an area that we believe will be get­ting a great deal of atten­tion as mar­ket­ing con­tin­ues its dig­i­tal mat­u­ra­tion. Tools, tech­nolo­gies, and even inno­va­tion itself are only as use­ful as the process­es to put them into the field. That means peo­ple, teams and com­pa­nies work­ing togeth­er more effectively.

Clear­ly the respon­dents agree. Nine­ty-four per­cent say that opti­miz­ing cre­ative work­flows will be impor­tant in deliv­er­ing a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Fur­ther, 91% say the same about the impor­tance of improv­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion between cre­ative and mar­ket­ing teams.

The 2016 report is drawn from a big­ger audi­ence sam­ple than ever before. This par­tic­i­pa­tion shows the degree to which the audi­ence feels these top­ics are impor­tant. Mar­ket­ing is expand­ing its remit and con­verg­ing with oth­er tra­di­tion­al­ly siloed parts of organ­i­sa­tions to write a tru­ly com­pelling descrip­tion of how busi­ness­es will grow and thrive in the com­ing years.

Read the full report here: The Adobe 2016 Dig­i­tal Trends Report