Adobe have launched their 2022 Digital Trends report. The research is based on the responses of nearly 10,000 global marketers, IT professionals and business leaders. The findings highlight the changing attitudes towards digital marketing and suggests areas to focus on; making it essential reading for any Channel marketers looking to stay competitive and thrive during 2022 and beyond.

The key findings:

Pandemic-driven changes to online behaviours are here to stay

89% of UK business leaders say customer expectations are now digital-first.

A similar percentage (87%) say customers will continue to expect more digitally led experiences during 2022 and beyond.

Three-quarters (76%) of UK companies report a surge in the use of digital channels by existing customers.

Not only is the move to digital to remain a constant, it’s also set to accelerate. Businesses risk falling behind the competition if they don’t catch up with the digital forward movement.

A quarter of businesses are lacking confidence in delivering digital-first experiences

The Adobe research uncovered a gap between customer expectation and brand confidence to actually deliver these digital-first experiences. When asked to rank their organisation’s digital customer experience, only a small number of marketers said it is ‘ahead of customer expectations’ (12%), while over a quarter admit they lag behind the competition (28%).

42% of business leaders say they plan to improve the consistency of their customer experience across all channels in 2022, with more than half planning to increase spend on customer data technology (54%) and customer experience management systems (52%).

Are you prepared for a post-cookie world?

Over a third of practitioners (35%) are still not prepared for their cookieless futures. Despite this, more than half of UK senior executives (57%) plan to increase their budgets for online media spending in 2022 compared with 2021.

Adobe believes brands should be putting greater emphasis on building their first party data relationships to get closer to their audience directly.

Trust is the key to success in a first-party future

With third-party cookies becoming less relevant, businesses are looking at new and improved ways to earn vital trust with their digital customers, with responsible use of first-party data emerging as critical to building stronger, long-lasting relationships.

“The last two years have fundamentally changed online behaviour and expectations, rewiring customers to be digital-first,” said Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of International Marketing, Adobe. “For any digital business, the ability to personalise every experience across any channel is what builds long-lasting trusted relationships with customers – the ability to do this at scale, is the business imperative for 2022 and beyond.”

Sharing data across a business is a priority for the year ahead

Many marketers and business leaders admit their organisation is only ‘average’ at sharing data across teams (42%) and are either ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ (20%). This leaves a huge opportunity for brands to do more to have one view of the customer to deliver personalised experiences across any channel.

Utilising AI as an operational priority

Only 22% of leaders consider leveraging AI to improve customer experience an operational priority

The skills gap is a growing concern

The report reveals nearly 8 in 10 (77%) of UK business leaders are concerned about their employees having the skills necessary to deliver the compelling digital experiences customers expect. To address the skills gap, more than half say they will be investing in acquiring the right customer experience and digital talent, as well as training, to make their teams more successful this year (54%).  

You can download the full Adobe 2022 Digital Trends report here.