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Is Customer Experience the Top Digital Trend for 2015?

If you listen to over 6,000 business professionals, the answer would be YES!  Econsultancy, in association with Adobe has produced a Digital Trends report every year for the last several years. This year’s report, Digital Trends 2015, says Customer Experience is the top, single most exciting opportunity in the digital marketing world. 22% of the survey respondents said that Customer Experience is their top opportunity while Content Marketing came in second at 15%. Here is an infographic from Adobe’s Digital Marketing blog highlighting the trends (view the infographic below as well).
When I looked back over the trends from the last several years, Customer Experience is the only topic voted highest two years in a row. Back in 2014, Customer Experience was predicted to be the hottest trend. In 2013, Content Marketing came out on top.  In 2012 Social was the top opportunity and Mobile topped the charts in 2011.
Econsultancy added a nice chart to this year’s report that showed how their predicted trend at the beginning of 2014 turned out. While Customer Experience was expected to be the highest priority, it turned out that both Customer Experience and Content Marketing tied for first in actual importance at the end of the year, with mobile and social coming in a close second.
The report also showed that 78% people said their company was attempting to differentiate using customer experience. Only 5% said they were not trying to use customer experience to differentiate.
Another interesting part of the report is the number of respondents who said that strategy was a key component of the customer experience. 82% had strategy as either one, two or three on their list of key building blocks.  This tells me that people are clearly thinking through the issues around building great customer experiences and know that just throwing technology at it isn’t the answer.
Likewise Culture came in second at 63%. Again this tells me that the people being surveyed are very thoughtful about customer experience.
One trend in the customer experience space caught me by surprise a little bit. 30% said that targeting and personalization were a top priority for them.  We have talked about personalization for a long time, so its great to see the message getting out to the rest of the market.
So when does a trend become table-stakes? Clearly trends of previous years either went on to be become ubiquitous or died off.  I mentioned mobile was a trend back in 2011. It’s clear – to me at least – that mobile has become table stakes. We hear “mobile first” all the time now when it comes to web design.
For customer experience, the Digital Trends report says that not only do people think this is a hot topic for 2015, but they also expect it to remain a top opportunity for the next 5 years. My guess is that in the next year or two, Customer Experience will be table stakes and anyone not trying to tackle this topic will be left behind.
What do you think? Has Customer Experience already surpassed the trend status?

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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