Insights gleaned from data and the resulting speed of action will be a core driver for customer experience and growth in this year.

Digital disruption in 2020 led businesses to realise they need to understand and act on data faster and the speed and action of insights gathered from data will be an overriding focus and key investment area for many Asia Pacific (APAC) businesses in 2021.

This is according to Adobe’s 2021 Digital Trends Report, which was released on March 10.

Only one third (35%) of ANZ leaders believe their organisation has strong capabilities in accuracy, actionability, speed and access of insights, while Asian leaders are far more pessimistic at around 9%, the survey revealed. However, respondents across Asia (49%) and ANZ (40%) are planning to invest resources in improving insights and analytics capabilities to achieve their top marketing goals in 2021. For leaders in ANZ this is a focus on personalised customer experience (33%), while Asian leaders are committed to enabling digital customer acquisition (35%).

“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,” said Duncan Egan, Vice President of DX Marketing, APAC and Japan at Adobe

Barriers to a great digital experience

Organisations across APAC reported three significant barriers that are hampering marketing and experience: legacy technology and systems (51% in ANZ, 37% in India and Asia), workflow issues (38% in ANZ, 33% in India and 48% in Asia), and a lack of digital skills and capabilities (34% in ANZ, 24% in India and 43% in Asia).

“The shift to remote work will have a significant and enduring impact on businesses moving forward, requiring new marketing strategies for reaching and keeping customers,” said Egan. “The most progressive companies are looking ahead and investing in hybrid workplace approaches for improved productivity and as a hiring differentiator for the best digital and CX talent.”

According to the survey, many organisations across APAC have already taken a hybrid approach, with 43% executives in ANZ and 26% in both India and Asia reporting they use a cloud-based platform in concert with other marketing data management systems.

Privacy and consent fundamental for effective CX

The survey report also said that a sizable respondent cohort across the region say that customer privacy and consent are key factors in planning (56% in ANZ, 41% in Asia).

However, transparency is still lacking with only a small number of leaders (13% in ANZ, 12% in Asia) claiming their organisation is effective at communicating how data is collected and used. Also, only 10% in ANZ and 13% in Asia believe they are highly effective at communicating the value offered in exchange for customers’ consent when they first encounter the brand.

Empathy is the future of experience  

The report also highlighted that empathy by brands will be a key differentiator for customer experience. However, most organisations are still a long way from authentically displaying digital empathy. Just over a third (37%) of Indian executives have significant insights into customer mindset, followed by 27% in ANZ and 19% in Asia.

Conducted in partnership with Econsultancy, the report surveyed 13,000 marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative, and IT professionals, working for both brands and agencies across the world, including Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), India and Asia.