Adobe Research (Credit image/Pixabay/antonytrivet)Adobe has unveiled its 2022 Digital Trends Report. New research showing how thousands of seasoned professionals are reacting, evolving and succeeding amid significant disruption and opportunity. The report finds pandemic-driven changes to online consumer behaviours are not only here to stay but will continue and accelerate. The report suggests businesses must fast-track digital projects, or risk falling behind the competition.

Among the key findings:

  • 89% of UK business leaders say customer expectations are now digital-first.
  • A similar percentage (87%) say customers will continue to expect more digitally-led experiences during 2022 and beyond.
  • Three-quarters (76%) of UK companies report a surge in the use of digital channels by existing customers.
Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of International Marketing at Adobe (Credit image/LinkedIn/Alvaro Del Pozo)
Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of International Marketing at Adobe

According to Alvaro Del Pozo, VP International Marketing, Adobe says, “The last two years have changed online behaviour and expectations. Enteprises must rewire customers to be digital-first.”

“For digital business, the ability to personalise every experience across any channel is what builds long-lasting trusted relationships with customers. The ability to do this at scale, is the business imperative for 2022 and beyond.”

Companies must fast-track digital change, or risk falling behind competitors. According to the report, 84% of businesses saw the emergence of new customer journeys over the past 18 months. Customers are expected to permanently adopt the digital-first shopping behaviours they embraced during the early stages of the pandemic. This includes click and collect services or virtual changing rooms.

However, the research also uncovered a gap between customer expectation and brand confidence to actually deliver these digital-first experiences. When asked to rank their organisation’s digital customer experience, only 12% of marketers said it is ‘ahead of customer expectations. More than a quarter admit they lag behind the competition (28%).

To address these challenges, 42% of business leaders say they plan to improve the consistency of customer experience across channels. More than half planning to increase spend on customer data technology (54%) and customer experience management systems (52%).

Winning customer trust vital to success in 2022

With third-party cookies becoming less relevant, businesses are looking at new ways to earn vital trust with their digital customers. The responsible use of first-party data emerging as critical to building stronger, long-lasting relationships.
Those businesses that possess robust first-party data strategies are reaping the rewards. Nearly three-quarters (70%) of UK marketers consider themselves effective at using first-party data for personalised customer experiences.

Unlocking new levels of agility

Agility is critical to achieving personalised customer experiences at scale. Together with the ability to have one view of the customer by bringing together numerous customer data sets. However, the research shows many businesses recognise they are still falling behind. Sizable percentages of marketers admit their organisation is only ‘average’ at sharing data across teams (42%). Considering that 20% believe they are either ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ , there is huge room for improvement. This leaves a huge opportunity for brands to do more to have one view of the customer to deliver personalised experiences across any channel.

The skills gap remains

To achieve personalisation at scale, practitioners and business leaders are aware that the right skills are essential. The report reveals 77% of UK business leaders are concerned about their employees having the skills necessary to deliver the compelling digital experiences customers expect. To address skills gap, 54% say they will invest in acquiring the right customer experience and digital talent. In addition to training, to make their teams more successful this year.

About the research

The Digital Trends Report is based on the responses of nearly 10,000 global marketers, IT professionals, and business leaders. The report highlights the changing attitudes towards creating stand-out digital experiences. It pinpoints areas for businesses to focus on to stay competitive and thrive during 2022 and beyond. For the UK, 2,004 marketers and business leaders participated in the research. 1,575 of the sample are client-side marketers and 429 executives, at agencies, consultancies, and marketing technology/services vendors.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business.

Adobe does it’s research pretty well. Furthermore, this report is comprehensive. There were nearly 10,000 participants in the 2022 study, more than 95,000 businesspeople from every continent (including Antarctica) have contributed to this research since its inception in 2010. Their contributions make this the largest and most durable study of how digital trends are changing the marketing discipline. There are no particular surprises within this report though. Customers’ digital expectations continue to rise; businesses must fast-track digital projects; personalisation at scale is critical to success in the digital age.

Furthermore, the report reveals comparable trends to similar reports from other companies. There’s no doubt that the global events of the past two years have accelerated the forward-movement of digital transformation. This will be the case for companies of all sizes and across all industries. However, the key will be for businesses to truly understand the needs of their customers or suppliers. Then craft their digital landscape to support those customer needs. That will continue to be the challenge for business in 2022 and beyond.


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