January 21, 2014

2014: The Year of Do-or-Die Digital Experience

This post is for all the companies that are wrapping up the 2014 planning process. 2014 is the year to be serious about Digital Customer Experience Strategy (Digital CES). It’s not a new concept, but the need for Digital CES has reached critical mass.

During 2014, projected advertising spending will top $200 billion, yet it will only reach four of every 100 customers targeted. The other 96% of customers will be engaged with brands that thoughtfully interact with them in a relevant manner, using easy-to-access digital channels and intelligent differentiation.

Today it’s the customer who makes the decisions about when, where and how they will interact with brands. They are far more likely (and happy) to interact with a brand that is accessible via multiple channels — and by “multiple channels” we don’t mean two. Businesses have been addressing online and in-person channels for over a decade. Today there are six, and counting.

Customers Call the Shots
Effective Digital CES recognizes that customers demand immediate information and interaction on their terms. It takes into account the first experience your market will have with your brand will likely be via smartphone. And it validates the decision to invest in an effective digital brand.

In addition to desktops and stores, customers now use tablets, smartphones, and a newer category of interactive television – the “Smart TV” to access websites, communicate, and interact with the world. Brand interaction tools are changing. In fact, 2014 will see mobile internet use surpass desktop internet use for the first time.

The numbers tell story. Nearly 176 million Americans owned smartphones in 2013 and over 110 million owned tablets. These devices are the preferred mode of web access and communication for users. This means that Mobile is the brand’s first opportunity to make a positive impression with most customers, as well as the best channel to communicate with the market at large on a day-to-day basis.

To achieve a consistently positive customer experience, digital brands need to do a minimum of two things: Be responsive and translate uniformly well across all web-enabled devices. Online branding must be of high quality, easily read and intuitively navigable on all devices. Equally important, the customers’ experience should consistently deliver relevant content, compelling messages, and a brand identity that “pops” on any screen.

There’s a lot on the line
The upside of a thoughtfully developed Digital CES, supported by responsive design, underscores why the time is now:
• Stronger brand preference (40% of customers will change brands for a better experience).
• Revenue increase through existing customers and new sales (85% of customers will pay as much as 25% more for a better brand experience).
• Improved customer loyalty and advocacy through high-value, thoughtfully developed interactions (55% of customers recommend companies that provide positive interaction with their brand).
• Lower costs through reduced customer churn (82% of people stop doing business with companies that do not provide consistently positive interaction).
Brands are taking this seriously. Four out of five brands plan to significantly increase digital spending in 2014, and 10% of this number actually plan to spend more than 75% of their budgets on digital. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict how many will do so with their customers’ experience in mind. And that will make all the difference.

2014 is the year to get serious about Digital CES. What are your plans?

More Resources
If you’d like to read more about Digital CES, you’ll also enjoy these articles, posts, Infographics, and whitepapers.

Why You Need a Digital Customer Experience Strategy
The Top Ten Ways to Improve Digital Experiences (Forrester Research)
Pew Research
From social media to Social CRM: What customers want

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