In a world indelibly impacted by a pandemic, organizations that had already embraced data and digital transformation were well-equipped to meet their customers’ expectations around digital experiences. If those brands weren’t in a disrupted industry, such as travel and tourism, they thrived.
Organizations that hadn’t taken the necessary steps to enable and optimize personalized customer experiences in this rapidly changing environment have fallen behind. As a result, these businesses are at a challenging, albeit exciting, inflection point. There is an opportunity ahead of them to catch up on digital capabilities, starting with investments in data and technology. These investments will be necessary for organizations striving to meet consumers’ ever-increasing demands for a seamless digital experience.
It is no longer viable for businesses to lag on their digital strategy. Consumers have an even greater reliance on digital experiences as the day-to-day implications of the global pandemic continue to play out. Brands have been operating within the status quo of enticing into a store, and now must pivot to instead meet the customer where they are — online, in transit, or at home. What’s more, this new spike in digital-first consumer behavior is not promised to last forever, challenging businesses to embed flexibility into their strategies. This is creating an evolving business culture dominated by listening over instructing, which allows organizations to become more intimately connected to their audiences.
At the same time, external forces, such as privacy regulations, the death of third-party cookies, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and the emergence of customer data platforms are causing a shift in the way marketers approach customer-centricity. These forces are driving a movement away from reliance on third-party data and toward the predominance of first-party data and identity.
More than ever, data and best-fit audiences have become a brand’s greatest asset, allowing marketers to create and deliver experiences that break through the noise and create value. The greatest opportunity for brands today, as they build strategies for re-emergence from the COVID-driven recession, is customer experience transformation. Marketing success has evolved from measurable marketing to accountable marketing as marketers are not only creating data-informed strategies but they’re also expected to tie back performance to dollars and real business impact.
In order to succeed, businesses today need to create a state of informed adaptability that defines how they can work in harmony with data and technology to deliver a sound digital strategy despite a changing world and unpredictable consumer behavior. To explore this in detail, Cardinal Path has released a new, in-depth report titled “Informed Adaptability: 2021 Trends Report” (get it here). Inside this comprehensive study, we explore five major themes that work together to create a state of informed adaptability. These include:
Data Transformation: Addressing privacy-safe acquisition, management, analysis, and activation of data to optimize customer experience in real time. Here, we explore solving the PII privacy puzzle, rolling out good data governance, and creating an effective first-party data strategy.
Audience Curation: Creating new opportunities to address audiences and build up first-party data assets. The study describes building owned and known audiences, how to act on anonymous audiences, and resolving identity to address audiences in the new environment.
Total Experience: Driving competitive advantage and measurable business results through customer experience. This chapter discusses mapping the customer journey and verifying it with data, optimizing mobile experiences, and improving personalization efforts for customers.
Performance Agility: Empowering brands through data to act with both speed and precision in times of uncertainty and inconsistency. Here, themes include optimizing channels with campaign tagging, using automated reporting for greater agility, and optimizing media spend more quickly using data.
Accountable Marketing: Ensuring marketers have the ability to tie back performance and optimization to revenue. This section ties together the themes and provides a digital maturity roadmap to achieving informed adaptability.
The report supports its findings and recommendations with recent case studies of large enterprises that are going through successful digital transformations. We also explore tactical actions and opportunities that executives should consider, external resources for further reading, and handy summary checklists of actions by theme.
Achieving informed adaptability should be a top priority for all companies in today’s digital-first, digitally accelerated environment. The new Cardinal Path study provides clear guidance on what to do here and now and for the immediate future.