Adobe and e-consultancy have today released their annual Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2018 Digital Trends report, which provides insights into the state of digital marketing and the trends shaping the industry.
This year’s report uncovered that Asia Pacific (APAC) marketers are leading the way in regard to the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and the level of investment in digital skills training when compared to their North American and European counterparts.
Investment and integration of technology is key to business success
Adobe’s 2018 Digital Trends report found that globally, top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for marketing (28% vs. 12%).
This aligns with Adobe’s “Future of Work: APAC Study” which found that organisations investing in workplace technology are more likely to be successful.
Despite this, the Digital Trends report found that less than one in five global respondents (15%) said their companies are pushing forward with AI and nearly half of global respondents (48%) said their organisation has inconsistent integration between technologies.
While half (51%) of North American marketers see ‘no perceived need’ for AI, only a third (38%) of APAC marketers share this sentiment.
Furthermore, APAC respondents (16%) were more likely to have an integrated, cloud-based technology stack, compared to their North American (10%) and European (9%) counterparts.
This indicates that APAC marketers are ahead of their global counterparts when it comes to leveraging the power of new technologies to automate the delivery of personalised content.
APAC enterprise marketing senior director Paula Parkes says, “Rapid economic development and unprecedented growth have positioned APAC at centerstage of the disruption being created by new, digital technologies.
“In the current Experience Business era, smart organisations are investing in disruptive technologies to drive productivity and deliver compelling experiences for customers.”
Personalised experiences continue to drive quantifiable uplift for companies
Optimisation of the customer experience is the top priority for marketers in 2018, according to Adobe’s 2018 Digital Trends report, with a fifth (19%) of global respondents saying it is the most exciting opportunity currently.
APAC marketers are focusing on making the experience as personalised and relevant as possible, whereas North American and European respondents said their main focus is on making the experience as valuable as possible.
Organisations with ‘well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction’ are 57% more likely to be exceeding their business goals.
Meanwhile, organisations with a ‘cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives’ were nearly twice as likely to exceed their top 2017 business goal.
Yet, over a third (38%) of global respondents still do not have a cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of their customer.
“Our research reveals a clear opportunity gap for businesses looking to set themselves apart from their competitors.
“Producing engaging and personalised content at an ever-increasing velocity has now become a business mandate,” says Parkes.
Investment in digital skills and education pays dividends
Adobe’s 2018 Digital Trends report revealed companies that are ‘combining digital marketing skills with technology,’ are nearly twice as likely to have surpassed their 2017 business goals by a significant margin (20% vs. 11%).
However, the intended level of investment in digital training for 2018 differs greatly by region.
APAC marketers are more than twice as likely than their North American counterparts to invest in digital skills and education (34% vs. 16%), while those in Europe fall in the middle (25%).
“Significant investment in digital skills and training is directly linked to high business performance.
“While investment in technology is crucial, organisations must also invest in the skills and education to ensure their employees are capable of using these new tools to create outstanding customer experiences,” says Parkes.