2017: The year of powerful customer experiences

By: Kulmeet Bawa, Managing Director – South Asia, Adobe

The world around us is going increasingly digital, and brands in India are today more ready than ever, to leverage this wave of transformation.

2017: The year of powerful customer experiences
Competitive advantage is the biggest driver of every brand’s digital transformation, and customer experience lies at the very core of it all.

Today’s digital environment is brimming with people interacting across an array of devices – from mobile phones, tablets, and wearables, to even car dashboards. The market is seeing the advent of fresh products and innovations, and customers are showing a growing propensity to experiment with the new. Mounting customer expectations are powering a renewed business focus on customer experience, which is now defining the success or failure of every brand in the marketplace.

In 2017, we will see the biggest brands in India bring customer experience to the center of everything they do, and harness the power of digital transformation to differentiate themselves from those trapped in a business model of yesteryears. Marketers will need to literally experience their brand from the customer’s perspective, and deliver a compelling experience across the various touchpoints of the customer journey. The coming year will see a renewed thrust on user experience and the emphasis on making it more consistent, compelling and relevant.

The art and science of marketing
Data has given marketers the capability of determining returns on their brand investments and drive business growth. The application of data analytics has proven its mettle, and this growth will leapfrog in 2017 as more and more brands use the power of data science to derive customer insights, drive real time personalisation, and drive business success.

However, only brands embracing the significance of creativity will succeed in their marketing efforts. Creating personal, relevant and emotive brand content is key to driving engagement, and will be core to every incredible customer experience in the coming year. With the Government of India’s focus on resurgence of design, innovation, and creativity-led entrepreneurship (D.I.C.E), the last year saw businesses emphasise upon the importance of design and creativity in businesses across the country. The findings of Adobe’s 2016 Creative Pulse survey highlighted that creatives in India are today driving a bigger impact within their organisations. Creativity and design-led thinking are now central to business success , and should be a focus for all marketers in 2017.

Embracing the new
The emergence of technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality will shape marketing in 2017 and the years to come. To be successful, marketers need to experiment with the new and adapt themselves to concepts of AR and VR to up level their customer engagements and drive incredible customer experiences. To deliver on this, brands will have to overcome the challenge of learning how to create compelling content and formats to be able to truly leverage the potential of these technology innovations.

Video, which is riding on explosion of data and devices in India, will continue to be a big bet for marketers in the coming year. More brands will invest in video formats to complement their digital presence, and several others will learn how to maximise engagement and optimise spends on video. We see an increasing marketing emphasis on video, and expect Adobe’s acquisition of TubeMogul to deliver an end-to-end independent advertising and data management solution for TV and digital formats, thereby simplifying what has been a complex and fragmented process for brands.

Both Machine Learning and data science have the potential of significantly enhancing the productivity of marketers going ahead, allowing them step away from day-to-day analytics as well as data management and focus time on driving their overall strategies.

Tomorrow’s India
India’s rapidly expanding mobile and internet proliferation has spurred new areas of growth for brands. In 2016, we saw the steadily increasing acceptance of digital payment systems and mobile wallets among millennials in the country skyrocket by a massive 300 percent increase in digital payments pan India after the Government’s demonitisation drive. Brands big and small now need to be ready to ride the next wave of India’s transformation and be quick to adapt to the emergence of concepts like digital payments to support customer buying behaviour and trends.

World over, organizations are undergoing the digitization drive and experiencing a rapid shift towards paperless workflows, which are critical for improved employee productivity, cost savings and reduced carbon footprint. With the Indian government’s thrust on digital transformation of businesses and digitization of citizen services, the trend towards document management and digital workflow solutions will be more pronounced in 2017 – and organizations across the country should gear up now to embrace this welcome change.

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