Altimeter’s Top Digital Trends for 2020

Our analysts make predictions about the digital shifts most likely to make news in the year ahead.

Every year the Altimeter analyst team predicts digital trends that will have the biggest impact on business. This year, we have the predictions from Charlene Li, Omar Akhtar, Susan Etlinger and Ed Terpening. Here’s their take on the most important trends for 2020.

Omar Akhtar – Digital Marketing Innovation

The martech industry consolidates to a few big players

2020 will be the year that martech vendors either go big or go home. In this past year, the martech industry saw the continued acquisitions of smaller vendors, and one major player dropping out of the race entirely. IBM announced that it was getting out of the martech business altogether, while Oracle barely announced any new features or enhancements to its Experience Cloud products. That leaves Adobe, Salesforce and to a lesser degree, SAP as the remaining heavyweights in the enterprise martech field. According to our research, 90 percent of marketers used software from either Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle or IBM, as their primary or backbone martech platform. This means that in 2020, enterprise marketers will be hard-pressed to find options that aren’t any of those companies, and will be forced to define themselves as either an “Adobe shop” or a “Salesforce shop” and exclusively use the integrated suite of tools from those platforms.

Goodbye “data-lakes”, hello CDP’s

Marketers are under increasing pressure to use as much data as possible, but they’ve never had the right tools to get exactly the data they need. The data they’ve been given access to was either too small and siloed (e.g. web analytics, CRM) or too big (i.e. data lakes). The solution lies in CDP’s or customer data platforms. These platforms are essentially marketing analytics platforms that allow marketers to plug in exactly the analytics that are most relevant to them, and more importantly, the customer experience.

CDP’s can plug into channel analytics such as display ads, web, email and social, and the really good ones have killer visualization tools. The big martech vendors Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and SAS all have CDP platforms in-market or in development. So why wouldn’t marketers rush to implement them? It’s yet another martech tool in a crowded stack, and many departments are barely able to make sense of the analytics they currently have, let alone another platform to manage. My prediction: in 2020, it’ll be a top priority of most marketing teams to evaluate their need for a CDP.

Account based experiences > Account-based marketing

B2B companies were all about embracing account-based marketing in 2019, although as a marketing practice, it’s been around forever (just not digitally). With account-based marketing, B2B marketing teams can target specific accounts for new sales, or cross-sell/upsell opportunities, with a combination of hyper-personalized digital ads and traditional lead nurturing techniques.

In 2020, we’ll move away from account-based marketing, to account-based experiences, which means a much more holistic approach to engaging your top customer accounts in an ongoing way. Account-based experiences utilize far more channels than marketing usually manages (such as in-product messaging or chatbots) and is based more on serving the needs of the target customer in the moments they need them, rather than targeting than with personalized messaging/campaigns.

Charlene Li – Digital Transformation, Experience and Innovation

Failed Digital Transformation Efforts and 5G Will Force a Reckoning

With 60-80% of digital transformation efforts failing to meet their targets, the reality is setting in that initial approaches must be re-examined. Problems range from lack of clear and aligned outcomes to canceling initiatives when they hit roadblocks. Company boards refuse to approve costly digital transformation proposals because they have seen the same silo-stifled, over-ambitious plans before and want no more of it.

Revamped digital transformation initiatives will focus more on “minimally viable product” -like programs, designed to be both agile AND cross-functional to show results quickly and build confidence and digital competency throughout the organization. Interestingly, the widespread availability of 5G will be a forcing function as faster backend processes and data sensors will need to be integrated into front-end customer experiences.

Leaders Will Develop New Scorecards and Strategies for a Modern Business

It was a watershed moment last year when nearly 200 CEO members of the Business Roundtable issued a statement about the purpose of a corporation moving beyond creating shareholder value to also deliver value to customers, invest in employees, deal ethically with suppliers, and support communities in which they work. Along with growing concerns around ethics and AI, a topic well-covered by my Altimeter colleague, Susan Etlinger, leaders face rising expectations to deliver against many bottom lines that fuel reputation and purpose, as well as financial results.

Great leaders know that you manage what you measure so we will need new scorecards that reflect the new realities of business. But how do you create a scorecard for ethical behavior? What are the metrics that reflect increasing employee value? And what does good look like when making trade-offs between all of these areas? Organizations will set aside time at the executive and board level to ponder these questions and develop goals and metrics that will serve as the foundation for a robust, modern business strategy.

Strategic Planning Goes Agile Thanks to Digital

One of the great frustrations of business is that the strategic planning cycle almost always follows an annual calendar cadence – while business cycles and disruptions rarely do so. The atrophied strategic planning process, locked-in budgets, and annually-incented leaders can’t respond if a disruption or opportunity arises mid-year. The biggest shortcoming to the traditional “waterfall” strategic planning approach is that you don’t make changes until you see the results for the previous period.

Given the realities of a fast-changing business environment, look for more organizations to shift to a more agile approach to strategic planning as this department undergoes its own digital transformation. Gathering operational data and marketplace shifts becomes an ongoing process thanks to digital backends and collaboration platforms that enable real-time analysis and adjustments to the strategy. More importantly, the strategy becomes a living, breathing entity that is constantly tended to, cultivated, and shaped, rather than placed on a shelf someplace to ferment.

Susan Etlinger – The Intelligent Organization, Innovation and Trust

Organizing for Blended Reality

The digital world today looks very different from the world of the past decade. Social media is the de facto communication channel for up to half of the 4.3 billion internet users worldwide. Connected devices powered by intelligent technologies enable us to speak or gesture to virtually any device to communicate our needs. Computer-generated imagery is no longer confined to Star Wars; it’s being used for everything from puppy filters to information wars. But, as we enter 2020, the biggest change we’re facing is that we’re no longer able to separate digital from analog, business from personal. We blend.

What it means: digital experiences are brand experiences. In the early 2020s, expect “digital transformation” to become an artifact, much the way “e-business” or “social” has become in the last two decades. Digital is table stakes now, and it’s time to take a hard look at organizational silos, whether they’re focused on data, technology, process or people.

Brand Integrity Under Pressure

Many of us have never known what it means not to live in a digital world. At the same time, the norms we’ve evolved over the past thousands of years are frequently unable to anticipate the consequences of intelligent, automated technologies that can painstakingly construct realities around us using personalization technologies.

This can be useful and fairly innocent—color preferences, sizes, whether you’re likely to want fries with that—or it can threaten democracy, as we’ve seen with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the crisis in Myanmar or on any given hour on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Technologies like deepfakes and cheapfakes have some interesting brand use cases—watch Bill Hader subtly morph into Tom Cruise and Seth Rogen in this interview with David Letterman—but they also make it harder to distinguish between legitimate content and misinformation. While we’ve seen these issues play out in social media, they’re trickling down to the rest of us very quickly.

What it means: information warfare hits the business. In the 2020s, we’re going to see information warfare spread to business, particularly in the areas of brandjacking, cybercrime and stock price manipulation. In one recent case, fraudsters used conversational AI to mimic a CEO’s voice, requesting a transfer of €220,000 to a “Hungarian supplier”. This will require a new level of awareness, quickly followed by internal controls and processes. This is not just an issue for video and images; it is also a risk of text generation technology.

Business Ethics as a Business Strategy

For our 2017 trends roundup, I forecast that AI ethics would need to become an integral part of the customer experience. In 2018, I predicted that ethics would finally go mainstream; that “as AI continues to infuse more products, services and business models, the way companies use it will inform the brand experience”. Last year, I forecast that “we’re going to see a big wake-up call in 2019 as organizations discover just how challenging it is to define ethics, much less engineer it into scalable processes and practices.”

But the conversation about ethics has spread far beyond AI and technology to business as a whole. We’ve seen controversies over charitable donations, to whom companies sell their technology, from whom they should accept donations, how they treat activist employees and employee movements, policies for managing “ghost” and gig-economy workers, diversity and inclusion in hiring and performance evaluation, and deep discussions as well on the ethics not only of technology use cases but whether certain technologies should exist at all. This adds up to a reckoning; not only with technology and power, but with the fundamental responsibility of businesses and civic organizations toward the people they employ, and the people they serve.

One of the outcomes I feared in 2019 was that business ethics would “jump the shark”, leading to cynicism and an inevitable backlash. The good news is that, in some organizations, we did see promising momentum toward building ethical capacity in 2019, turning values and principles into practice and processes.  Some of these initiatives were informed and advised by leaders from academia and human rights organizations, many of whom are women, people of color and people in the LGBTQIA community. There is still a tremendous amount of cynicism and polarization to contend with, and concerns that any attempt to address business and technology ethics is simply a public relations fig leaf. The situation, as always, is a bit more nuanced than that.

“We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, or at least the less bad.”

The upshot: we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, or at least the less bad. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century, and traffic signals became common in the 20s, but it wasn’t until 1968 that seatbelts were mandatory. While we haven’t eliminated traffic accidents, we haven’t stopped trying, and I hope we never will. The same must be true in the digital world. Technology will not make humans less biased, just as seatbelts won’t make them better drivers. AI won’t fix problems society can’t solve. Regulation can only do so much. But that doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to face the hard questions, find and test solutions, and remain accountable throughout. Certainly, this is true for society, but it is also healthy for businesses and their leaders, which are increasingly judged by the choices they make, both in the digital and physical worlds.

Ed Terpening – Digital Selling and E-Commerce

The Growing Trust Deficit

One by one, trust in customer channels has been degrading under unchecked parasitic forces. The explosion of robocalls has ruined the effectiveness of telemarketing.  What should otherwise be a useful—even necessary support call—between a customer and business often goes ignored. According to Consumer Reports, 70% of Americans don’t answer their phones when they don’t recognize the incoming number.

Spam and the explosion of fraud is degrading email effectiveness, and social media users started to level out and decline in 2016.

No doubt, you’re feeling this. The building of confidence between brands and consumers through trusted platforms—from the start to the end of the sales funnel—should be a significant part of the digital strategist’s agenda in 2020.

Mounting Organizational Stresses

Organizational silos in business are nothing new, but they have never been more of a threat to success than now.  Organizational stresses are being exacerbated by digital transformation that attempts to unify experience and outcomes through shared data and tools.  Even a definition as foundational as “the customer” must be orchestrated in such a way that each team’s expertise and role—from Marketing to Service—is optimized to make 1+1=4.

Teams must increasingly orchestrate their work by following a common thread of customer and business insights, success metrics and processes that ensure value isn’t lost (but rather, built upon) between them. Key strategic decisions such as how or whether to organize around customer type, product, geography, customer journey step, etc. will remain a key 2020 challenge.

Blended Commerce

I’ve been creating e-commerce solutions since 1995, many lifetimes ago in the tech world.  Recently asked to write about it, I struggled.  What does the term mean today in a world where digital jumps from the web browser to the store aisle?  We used to be able to draw solid lines between e-commerce and everything else: if it was a website or app, it’s e-commerce. Now, the lines are blurring. Consider Amazon Go, a brick-and-mortar convenience store customers can use without ever interacting with a human. Is it e-commerce?

This trend is being fueled by the proliferation of IoT devices like beacons in physical locations that absorb customer behavior to create more efficient—and for the enterprise, more data-rich—experiences. “E” vs. “In Real Life” commerce will continue to evolve and blend in 2020—and, by the way, will require mastery of my previous leading trends, building digital trust and resolving organizational stresses in digital.


Between ongoing consolidation and the reality of failed and stalled transformation efforts, we predict the year ahead will see many strategic overhauls. Brand trust, transparency, security and integrity will dominate conversations, as companies look to reassure increasingly wary consumers.


The State of Digital Transformation 2018

Without ROI data, organizational buy-in remains a top challenge for those leading digital transformation.

Now in its fifth year, our annual “State of Digital Transformation” research continues to document the constantly evolving enterprise. As disruptive technologies and their impact on organizations and markets continue to progress, our research aims to capture the shifts and trends that are shaping modern digital transformation.

In 2019, strategic digital transformation is only becoming more pervasive moving beyond IT to impact competitiveness throughout the organization. Budgets are soaring. The list of disruptive technologies on the radar of stakeholders is expanding. Ownership is moving to the C-Suite and managed by cross-functional, collaborative groups. Customer experience (CX) continues to lead digital transformation investments, but as we observed in 2017, employee experience and organizational culture are also rising in importance to empower and accelerate change, growth, and innovation.

Digital Transformation as an Enterprise-Wide Movement

This year, it’s clear that digital transformation is maturing into an enterprise-wide movement. Digital transformation is modernizing how companies work and compete and helping them effectively adapt and grow in an evolving digital economy.

What’s also evident is that there is still much work to do as companies are, by and large, prioritizing technology over grasping the disruptive trends that are influencing markets and, more specifically, customer and employee behaviors and expectations.

The State of Digital Transformation: 5 Key Takeaways

  • A successful digital transformation is an enterprise-wide effort that is best served by a leader with broad organizational purview. For the second year in a row, CIOs are reported as most often owning or sponsoring digital transformation initiatives (28%), with CEOs increasingly playing a leadership role (23%).
  • Market pressures are the leading drivers of digital transformation as most efforts are spurred by growth opportunities (51%) and increased competitive pressure (41%). With high-profile data breach scandals making daily headlines, new regulatory standards like GDPR are also providing impetus for organizations to transform (38%).
  • While there is a growing acknowledgment of the importance of human factors in digital transformation – like employee experience and organizational culture – most transformation efforts continue to focus on modernizing customer touchpoints (54%) and enabling infrastructure (45%). But many organizations are not doing their due diligence when it comes to understanding their customers, with 41% of companies making investments in digital transformation without the guidance of thorough customer research.
  • Organizational buy-in remains a top challenge for those leading digital transformation. The companies we studied report digital transformation is still often perceived as a cost center (28%), and data to prove ROI is hard to come by (29%). Cultural issues also pose notable difficulty, with entrenched viewpoints, resistance to change (26%), and legal and compliance concerns (26%) stymieing progress.
  • Innovation is staking its claim within the organization. Nearly half of respondents report that they are building a culture of innovation, with in-house innovation teams becoming the norm

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Digital Marketing Priorities in Financial Services for 2019

Our research shows that lead generation and customer experience top the list. And hiring is a major headache.

It’s clear that emerging Fintech and Insuretech entrants are shaking up financial services. Across the board – from large to small-scale companies – we’re observing an accelerated need for more digitally fluent marketing organizations to tackle new challenges in an evolving market.

To understand the challenges and priorities impacting the insurance and banking industries today, we turned to Prophet’s digital analyst group Altimeter surveyed 68 global financial services executives as part of their industry-wide 2019 State of Digital Marketing report that spoke to over 500 executives in North America, Europe and China.

“Altimeter surveyed 68 global financial services executives as part of their industry-wide 2019 State of Digital Marketing report.”

The report surfaced three primary digital marketing insights specific to where financial services executives are betting their marketing investments to address business challenges:

  1. Lead generation and customer experience are the
    top digital marketing priorities.
  2. Scaling marketing innovation, the right talent and proving impact
    are the greatest challenges.
  3. Data analysis, marketing automation and UX design are the
    most sought after skills.

Let’s dive into the results.

1. Lead generation and customer experience are the top digital marketing priorities.

Lead generation and customer experience came out on top (see Figure 1) – ranked higher than brand awareness and brand health – a top priority across other industries.

To measure digital marketing success, financial services companies are placing greater emphasis on customer loyalty/customer lifetime value (CLTV) – even before direct revenue (see Figure 2).

We see these forces working within financial services companies that are investing more to acquire customers through digital demand-building activities. Specifically, with the increases in the promotion of banking, investment and insurance products going more digitally direct-to-consumer. We also see loyalty as a rising metric to diagnose and resolve potential attrition challenges before being confronted.

2. Scaling marketing innovation, the right talent and proving impact are the greatest challenges.

Financial services marketing organizations are navigating several challenges with their focus on lead generation and CX development, particularly around scaling, hiring and proving business impact (see Figure 3).

In addition, we learn that compared to other industries, financial services companies are experiencing a much greater challenge in seeing a return on investment for their marketing technology spend with 32 percent saying that it took a long time before they saw any return. Consequently, it is now considered to be their top Martech challenge.

3. Data analysis, marketing automation and UX design are the most sought-after skills.

Financial services companies are now focused on building capabilities in data analysis, marketing automation, and user experience design (see Figure 4) to enable the scaling of marketing innovation across the full enterprise and ultimately to prove business impact.

Financial services companies as a consequence are finding the need for capabilities to apply digital marketing in new ways previously not considered.

These evolving digital marketing priorities are making way for the future


What’s clear from the findings of Altimeter’s 2019 State of Digital Marketing report is that as financial services companies place greater emphasis on driving customer acquisition and shaping customer experiences, marketing must bring in new capabilities formally nascent within the organization, invest in the right marketing technology, and prove business impact on a small – yet scalable – way.

At Prophet, we help our clients drive uncommon growth through transformation. We work with leaders across the insurance and banking categories to understand where to play and how to win to unlock the full potential of the brand and customer relationships. Learn more with our guide to digital marketing excellence here or get in touch today. 


Understanding Use Cases for Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality

With consumer curiosity about AR and VR growing, these technologies offer many opportunities for brands.

Immersive technology, in the form of Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR), is transforming the way we experience and learn about the world around us. It enhances our reality by letting us interact virtually with people, objects, and places we may not have access to otherwise. It has also opened many opportunities for brands, allowing them to create experiences for customers and employees that are not constrained by the limits of the physical world. From demonstrating products to simulating environments, there are endless ways for brands to engage, entertain, and, most importantly, enhance the customer and employee experience through the use of immersive technology.

However, as with any new technology, for most companies, the idea of using AR or VR poses more questions than it answers. What are the specific advantages of each type of immersive technology? How can they be incorporated into our business strategy? And if we have to prioritize among them, which technology is most worthy of our investment?

This report is a guide to the entire spectrum of immersive technologies, as well as to understanding which use cases might deliver the most value and impact for your company. It also offers a set of recommendations for how to best plan and successfully deploy the technology.

Key Findings:

  • Detailed use cases for each type of immersive technology (VR, AR, and MR)
  • Videos and case studies showcasing leading brands’ successes in the space
  • Recommendations for incorporating these technologies into your business strategy

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Smart Places: The Digital Transformation of Location

Hear about what’s working, with insights from early adopters, device makers, industry groups and vendors.

The growing adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) consumer electronics — such as smart thermostats and digital assistants — has paved the way for brands to use connected devices in their physical spaces too. The same sophisticated technology that powers “smart home” devices is slowly finding its way into stores, hospitals, and other public spaces, creating “smart places.”

For this report, we outline how location-based brands can take the battle offline by investing in technology-rich locations that raise the bar for Customer Experience (CX).

We also examine the barriers brands will face, balancing the value of enhanced consumer insights, customer experience, and operational efficiencies against heightened risks around consumer privacy.

Key Findings:

  • Detailed use cases distilled from research into hundreds of different ‘smart place’ devices
  • Interviews with early adopters, device makers, industry groups, and vendors who focus on CX management in physical locations
  • Recommendations for incorporating these technologies into your business strategy, and the challenges therein

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The 2017 State of Digital Transformation

Change agents still face challenges in transformation efforts, led by a lack of digital talent and expertise.

Are Companies Investing in Digital Strategies?

In the new report, “The 2017 State of Digital Transformation,” we surveyed more than 500 executives and digital strategists to understand the current challenges and opportunities they are facing as they undergo a digital transformation.

This is the third annual report on the topic from Altimeter principal analyst Brian Solis. This year builds on his 2016 research and reveals how, why, and to what extent businesses are investing in digital strategies, initiatives and operational models. The good news is a growing number of businesses are investing in innovation strategies to uncover new growth opportunities. The bad news is most companies surveyed are ignoring the pervasive changes happening to connected consumers’ buying behaviors.

Key Findings

  • While businesses cite “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as the top driver of digital transformation, fewer than half invest in understanding digital customers.
  • Some executives are beginning to own digital transformation efforts, and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is most often at the helm (28%). As all companies increasingly become “technology companies,” the roles of the CIO and IT department are more important than ever — but true success in digital transformation is an enterprise-wide, cross-functional endeavor.
  • Companies and their change agents still face big challenges in the pursuit of digital transformation, including a lack of digital talent and expertise (31.4%), the perception that digital transformation is a cost center and not an investment (31%), and general culture issues (31%).
  • While companies are making attempts to modernize employees’ skillsets for a digital economy with new training programs (62%), only about half are investing in new digital talent. The employee experience is a crucial, yet often overlooked element of a successful digital transformation.

Undergoing a Digital Transformation? Get a Digital Maturity Assessment

To help companies navigate the digital transformation journey, Altimeter and Prophet have developed a diagnostic that assesses a company’s digital maturity. The tool provides an objective look at the current digital state vs. ideal future state while identifying major perceived gaps and opportunities that can be pursued as part of the digital transformation journey. Contact us today to learn more.

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The 2016 State of Digital Transformation

About 40% of leaders say market share has already increased, and 37% say employee morale is rising.

What’s Driving Digital Transformation Across Organizations?

Building on his 2014 research of digital transformation, principal analyst Brian Solis studied how companies are changing, and the challenges and opportunities they face while undergoing a digital transformation. Based on insights and data from more than 500 digital strategists and executives, the report found that companies are still facing significant challenges to operating in a digital economy.

The report, “The 2016 State of Digital Transformation,” shares the latest facts and figures on the top drivers, challenges and best practices of companies that are undergoing a digital transformation.

Key Findings

In our research, we identified key insights and trends impacting companies going through a digital transformation.

  • Customer Experience (CX) remains the top driver of digital transformation but IT and marketing still influence technology investments
  • 55% of those responsible for digital transformation cite “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as the primary catalyst for change. Yet, the number one challenge facing executives (71%) is understanding behavior or impact of the new customer
  • Only half (54%) of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey. This means that many companies are changing without true customer-centricity
    41% of leaders surveyed said they’ve witnessed an increase in market share due to digital transformation efforts, and 37% cite a positive impact on employee morale
  • The CMO vs. CIO: Digital transformation is largely led by the CMO (34%) not the CIO/CTO (19%)
  • Innovation tops digital transformation initiatives at companies today. 81% said it was at the top of their agenda, 46% stated their company has launched a formal “innovation center.” Right behind innovation was modernizing IT infrastructure (80%) and improving operational agility (79%)

Undergoing a digital transformation? Contact us for a digital maturity assessment.

To help companies navigate the digital transformation journey, Altimeter and Prophet have developed a diagnostic that assesses a company’s digital maturity. The tool provides an objective look at the current digital state vs. ideal future state while identifying major perceived gaps and opportunities that can be pursued as part of the digital transformation journey. Contact us today to learn more.

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The 2014 State of Digital Transformation

What strategists need to know about the change journey, based on insight from peers and market leaders.

How Companies Are Investing in the Digital Customer Experience

Digital transformation isn’t a trend owned by a particular role, nor a discipline that belongs to one department alone. It is, however, a significant movement where daring business leaders venture into tomorrow’s markets, today.

In 2013, Altimeter researched how businesses explore digital transformation. One finding revealed that while the word “digital” is part of “digital transformation,” the essence of digital transformation comes down to people and how their digital behaviors differ from that of the traditional customers before them. It’s also more than that.

In our initial report on the topic, Digital Transformation: Why and How Companies Are Investing in New Business Models to Lead Digital Customer Experiences, we set out to determine how digital transformation unified disparate digital efforts under a common vision. In the process, we uncovered a more human story. We followed up our initial research with a 2014 survey, aimed at digital strategists, to further understand the state of digital transformation.

This report shares its results and is designed to complement Altimeter’s annual State of Social Business report. Combined, this research helps strategists drive social business evolution and digital transformation based on insight from peers and market leaders.

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Social Media Employee Advocacy

Employees like sharing work stories. Social efforts support employer branding and increase worker engagement.

Tapping into the power of an engaged
social workforce

The use of employees to advocate on behalf of their brand is nothing new, but a combination of market forces and growing comfort with social business has created a tipping point for the growth of formalized Employee Advocacy programs. In Ed Terpening’s latest report, he surveyed brand leaders, employees and consumers to understand employee advocacy. His research uncovered motivations for companies investing in employee advocacy programs; what motivates employees to share information about their workplace; and what employee-driven content resonates most with customers.

Key Findings

  • 90% of brands surveyed are already pursuing or have plans to pursue some form of employee advocacy
  • Consumer response to employee posts often outperform traditional digital advertising results
  • 21% of consumers report “liking” employee posts – a far higher engagement rate than the average social ad
  • Employee advocacy drives employee engagement. When employees are asked how they felt after sharing work-related content, the leading response was “I feel more connected and enthusiastic about the company I work for”
  • Employee advocacy supports employment branding. When asked which employee-shared content consumers found most relevant, recruiting rose to the top
  • Interestingly, European consumers are less likely to be interested in a connection’s posts about work and European employees are less likely to share work-related content.
  • Europeans have a stronger preference for keeping work and home life separate: 44% of Europeans cited this as a reason for not sharing work-related content, compared to only 23% of North American

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The Key Elements For Building a Content Strategy

Our framework forces brands to think only of the customer, and which single archetype best serves them.

By focusing more on the executional arms of content development and content marketing instead of a holistic content strategy, organizations can end up producing large volumes of content without a clear purpose or sense of direction. In addition, the different departments that deploy content can end up producing material with differing (and often competing) objectives. With limited resources and digital real estate for engaging customers, it’s crucial that the entire organization work off a single, coherent content strategy that explicitly states who the brand’s customer is, what is the major need or problem they have, and how the brand will fulfill that need using content.

Through our research, we found that companies with successful content strategies had clarity around what they wanted the content to do for their customers and strong criteria for what they would and wouldn’t publish. Our methodology for narrowing this focus for companies to choose one of five major content strategy archetypes:

  • Content as Presence
  • Content as a Window
  • Content as Currency
  • Content as Community
  • Content as Support

Key Findings

This report helps companies decide which archetype is best suited to help them deliver on a customer’s need while also meeting a business goal. It then walks through the sequence of steps that build upon this archetype to create a formalized strategy that minimizes content waste, aligns multiple teams around a common vision and helps them deliver on a unified customer experience.

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Creating a Data-Driven Customer Experience Strategy

Customer data can tell you exactly what people need to feel good about an interaction with your brand.

How to Leverage Data for an Optimal Customer Experience

To give customers the best possible experience while interacting with your brand, you need the right information about them. Customer data can tell you much more than demographic information. It can tell you exactly what people need to feel positive about an interaction with your brand. Whether it’s a telephone call, a Tweet, or an in-store visit, leveraging the right data to deliver the right experience, at the right time, can optimize every brand-customer interaction.

Luckily, the digital age gives companies access to an unprecedented amount of customer data. However, the sheer volume of data available can be paralyzing, especially in the absence of a clear strategy that sets priorities and identifies resources in terms of people, processes and tools.

This report is a guide to using data to create a strategy for an optimal customer experience, and the resources you need to be successful.

4 Essential Steps for Creating a Data-Driven Customer Experience Strategy

  • Focus on one customer experience category for your objective
  • Prioritize only the data points you need for customer success
  • Use a data management platform to view data holistically
  • Create centralized data insights and experience delivery teams

Interested in applying our principles to your organization? You can contact us to learn how we can help you and your organization craft and implement a customer experience-oriented data strategy.

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The Six Stages of Digital Transformation

Focusing on digital customer experience, this blueprint details the six steps toward digital maturity.

The Race Against Digital Darwinism

In our research, we learned that digital transformation is a movement progressing without a universal map to guide businesses through proven and productive passages. This leaves organizations pursuing change from a known, safe approach that correlates with “business as usual” practices. Operating within the confines of traditional paradigms without purpose or vision eventually challenges the direction, capacity, and agility for thriving in a digital economy.

After several years of interviewing those helping to drive digital transformation, we have identified a series of patterns, components and processes that form a strong foundation for change. We have organized these elements into six distinct stages:

  • Business as Usual
  • Present and Active
  • Formalized
  • Strategic
  • Converged
  • Innovative and Adaptive

Collectively, these phases serve as a digital maturity blueprint to guide purposeful and advantageous digital transformation. Our research of digital transformation is centered on the digital customer experience (DCX) and thus reflects one of many paths toward change. We found that DCX was an important catalyst in driving the evolution of business, in addition to technology and other market factors.

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