3marketThe recent Adobe Digital Trends Report 2018 revealed that 42% of marketing decision makers in international companies already rely on self-learning algorithms in their company or plan to do so over the next twelve months - be it for data analysis (51%), email marketing (26%) or programmatic advertising (22%).

However, only 2% are making use of AI and its potential for a successful customer experience - despite the fact it has the power to optimize the customer experience substantially. Not to mention that CX is globally a top priority (19%) this year, followed by data-driven marketing (16%) and the creation of relevant content (14%). At least, that’s the result of Adobe’s study that took around 13,000 marketing executives into account.

A lack of know-how (41%) and the lack of resources (38%) in the company are responsible for the inadequate use of AI the marketers stated and that's not going to change that fast: at least, almost every fifth company (18%) plans to use AI for campaigns and experiences in the next three years.

In addition to the lack of AI, heterogeneous IT systems are currently crystallizing to be a genuine stumbling block for CX, the study uncovered. Around half of the companies surveyed (43%) work with different, non-networked technologies. But this creates data silos that deprive individual business units of important customer information that is needed for holistically consistent customer experiences.

Furthermore, only 12% of the marketers surveyed have integrated, cloud-based technology platforms, although the influence of integrated marketing cloud platforms on a company's success is eye-opening: The top performers among the surveyed companies have three times more often an integrated cloud infrastructure in place than the average (25% vs. 9%), whereby technology investments in 2018 are focusing mainly on content and experience management tools (45%), analytics (32%), and audience data management (31%).

For companies, a good customer experience means especially one thing - the smart use of data to deliver the right content to the right customers at the right time. For more than a third of the companies surveyed, however, this is difficult to do, since 36% still have no access to relevant customer data.

Overall, improving data analytics capabilities is high on the agenda of businesses (65%), as well as producing content themselves: 82% plan to shift the production of content to their own company this year. In addition to data-optimized content, good design determines the brand loyalty and thus the purchase decision of the customers.

At least, it seems as if most companies have recognized this. Adobe’s study shows that 84% of them are convinced that design-oriented companies are more successful than others. But even here, the practice sometimes looks different from wishful thinking: 43% of marketers don’t think their company design is consistent across all channels. Almost three quarters (73%) are therefore investing in design this year to further sharpen their brand image and stand out from the competition.

By Daniela La Marca