Digital giant Adobe recently shared its latest Digital Tends Report based on the survey results of more than 14,000 digital marketing and e-commerce professionals across EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific. So what can association executives learn by reviewing the top priorities for our marketing peers from different countries and industries? Let’s find out.
According to the report, the main focus of global marketing efforts is to create superior customer experiences (CX) and add value that goes beyond just products and services. When asked what is the primary way to differentiate themselves from competitors over the next five years, 31% of respondents chose ”Customer experience – making the experience easy, fun and valuable”. As a result of this priority, content marketing and design become the top marketing initiatives to support this improved customer experience, personalise it and make it more relevant than ever.
Competing for members’ attention
While CX Marketing is a relatively new trend in the corporate world, membership experience and engagement has been on associations’ agendas since the beginning of association and professional societies. Creating member value propositions, building communities and distributing valuable content are activities at the core of our industry.
However, with more and more businesses now heavily involved in this area, it has also become more difficult to compete for members’ attention, maintain the voice, follow trends and offer services that are relevant and valuable.
So what techniques do our peers from other industries use to improve the customer experience? They focus on:
- Making experience as valuable as possible
- Making experience as personalised and relevant as possible (read our guide to membership segmentation and personalisation of membership offering)
- Making experience as easy to understand as possible (learn more about association content management strategies and tactics)
- Making experience as safe and reliable as possible
- Making experience as consistent as possible across all channels (read our article on the importance of brand consistency for associations)
Successful member experience
According to the report, the main elements of successful customer experience are: strategy – the cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of our customer (78%); skills – combining digital marketing skills with analytics and technology (74%); and culture – a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives (73%).
Among the ‘very important’ initiatives for digital marketing are optimising the customer journey across multiple touchpoints (71%), ensuring consistency of message across channels (66%), training teams in new techniques (58%) and understanding how mobile users research / buy products (50%).
With most businesses attempting to deliver new content, it’s no great surprise to see the digital space so congested. Social media remains on top of the investment agenda with more than half of respondents planning to increase their budgets on social media, content marketing and personalisation. In 2017 businesses are focusing on creating a seamless, consistent and valuable experience for their audiences and having the teams in place to help achieve this.
Associations must adapt to a changing world. They must adapt their value proposition and content distribution tactics. In order to maintain engagement with members, we need to think strategically about improving member experience, developing digital skills within our teams and creating seamless multi-channel experiences.
Does your association share this kind of outlook and ambition? Or is it time to consider a greater investment in some of these essential areas?