According to Adobe’s 2021 Digital Trends Report, the speed and action of insights will be an overriding focus and key investment area for many Asia Pacific (APAC) businesses in 2021.
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. This 11th edition by Adobe is a departure from previous editions and delves into new areas brought on by the pandemic, including the impact of a distributed workforce, privacy and consent fundamentals, and empathy as a driver of experience.
Digital disruption in 2020 led businesses to realise they need to understand and act on data faster. Only one-third of ANZ leaders believe their organisation has strong capabilities in accuracy, actionability, speed and access to insights, while Asian leaders are far more pessimistic, at around 9%. However, respondents across Asia and ANZ are planning to invest resources in improving insights and analytic capabilities to achieve their top marketing goals in 2021. For leaders in ANZ, this is a focus on personalised customer experience, while Asian leaders are committed to enabling digital customer acquisition.
In a media session with journalists from Malaysia and Singapore, Simon Dale, Managing Director, Southeast Asia (SEA), explained how Asia is still pretty much different in its approach to insights and analytics compared to the Australian and New Zealand regions.
When asked if the high volume of data generated in the Asian region was part of the reasons for this, Simon pointed out that while the data is growing exponentially, most businesses in Asia are still not prepared enough to make full use of it. Businesses are not ready to derive insights from the data.
While the technologies are available, the complexity and skills required to get them are still lacking in this part of the world. Indeed, organisations with better access to insights are more likely to say their customers are positive about their digital experience compared to their peers with lower levels of insight.
At the same time, more vendors including startups are now offering tools and solutions that claim to be able to provide better and faster insights. As the pricing is competitive and the end product almost similar, businesses in Asia especially may end up being unsure on which is the best options for them.
This is why speed to insight and action is critical in a changeable business environment and a core driver for customer experience and growth. However, organisations across APAC report 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).
As digital convenience becomes a commodity, empathy by brands will be a key differentiator for customer experience. Analysing and adapting to a customer’s emotional journey in this new world will be the next evolution of experience management.
However, most organisations are still a long way from authentically displaying digital empathy. Just over a third of Indian executives have significant insights into customer mindset, followed by 27% in ANZ and 19% in Asia. Drivers of purchase, friction points and attribution of how marketing actions related to customer behaviour fare only marginally better.