The pandemic in 2020 has brought forth a digital disruption that made organisations aware of the importance of understanding and acting on their data faster.
Growing this awareness and proactiveness around data remains a challenge for APAC companies, Adobe’s 11th edition of their 2021 Digital Trends Report, found.
Only one third (35%) of ANZ leaders believe that their organisations have strong capabilities in accuracy, actionability, speed, and access of insights, whereas Asian leaders maintain a more pessimistic view at around 9%.
Adobe’s 2021 research diverts from previous iterations as it explores new areas brought on by the pandemic – including the impact of a distributed workforce, privacy and consent fundamentals, and empathy as a driver of experience.
Conducted together with Econsultancy, the report surveyed 13,000 marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative, and IT professionals that work for both brands and agencies across the world.
Respondents are willing to invest
Nevertheless, respondents from ANZ (40%) and Asia (49%) are looking to invest resources in improving insights and analytics capabilities to achieve their top marketing goals. For leaders in ANZ, their primary goal is to provide a personalised customer experience (33%), while Asian leaders are committed to enabling digital customer acquisition (35%).
“A company with a strong customer experience (CX) strategy is more likely to achieve long-term growth than its competitors, as they are better positioned to adapt to changeable customer behaviours and markets,” said Duncan Egan, Vice President of DX Marketing, APAC and Japan at Adobe.
“This report highlights that organisations need to accelerate their insight and action capabilities by moving to more flexible technologies and cloud-based platforms, as well as a unified and real-time view of the customer journey.”
Respondents who are confident about their company’s CX feel optimistic about their corporate strategy (63% in ANZ vs 73% in India vs 56% in Asia) and their own prospects for career growth (61% in ANZ vs 70% in India vs 57% in Asia).
Barriers to a great digital experience
Gaining quick access to insight and acting on them is important for the changing business landscape and a core driver for customer experience and growth. However, organisations across APAC reported the three significant challenges to their marketing and CX:
- Legacy technology and systems (51% in ANZ, 37% in India and Asia)
- Workflow issues (38% in ANZ, 33% in India and 48% in Asia)
- Lack of digital skills and capabilities (34% in ANZ, 24% in India and 43% in Asia)
“Companies have never been more interested in being agile and adding new capabilities for seamless digital execution, with one third (34%) saying they’ve been unusually agile and able to take quick decisions,” said Egan.
“A hybrid approach to technology – comprising of cloud and other data management systems – allows organisations to be flexible and collaborative, letting them work better with existing solutions and integrate new ones. The effects of such an approach within these organisations can be seen in the improved capability in key areas of analytics and insights.”
Privacy and consent crucial for effective CX
With the pandemic, organisations were met with a surge in digital customers. As such, data privacy became a priority, with respondents citing customer privacy and consent as key factors in their planning (56% in ANZ, 41% in Asia).
However, transparency is still inadequate with slightly more than 10% of leaders (13% in ANZ, 12% in Asia) claiming their organization is effective at communicating how data is being collected and used. Moreover, only 10% in ANZ and 13% in Asia believe that they are highly effective at communicating the value offered in exchange for customers’ consent when they first encounter the brand.
Empathy towards customers
As digital convenience becomes the new norm, empathy displayed by brands will be the distinguishing factor for customer experience. Analysing and adapting to a customer’s emotional journey in this new normal will be the next evolution of experience management.
Even so, most organisations have a long way to go from authentically displaying digital empathy. Slightly more than a third (37%) of Indian executives have significant insights into customer mindset followed by 27% in ANZ and 19% in Asia. Drivers of purchase, friction points, and attribution of how marketing actions relate to customer behaviour fare only marginally better.