Why Technology, Talent, and Touchpoints Are the Trifecta for Agile CX: Finds Acquia


New Acquia report suggests technology adoption is the cornerstone for agile CX.

A new global study of 8000 consumers and 800 marketers found that the pandemic has compelled brands and customers to adapt to a digital-first world rapidly. The study commissioned by Acquia examined trends across technology, talent, and personalization to optimize the customer experience (CX). Let’s dive into the key findings of the report.

Consumers Say Digital Experience With Brands Has Changed Since the Start of the Pandemic

Market changes spurred experimentation and adaptability, which upended traditional brand loyalty. ResearchOpens a new window suggests that 75% of U.S. consumers have tried a new store, brand, or way of shopping during the pandemic.

Also read: Modernizing Customer Experience (CX) for a Mobile-First World

Buying behaviors have shifted throughout the pandemic and recovery. NielsenOpens a new window identified six stages in the pandemic-related buying cycle and found that consumer buying patterns evolve on a near-weekly basis.

Globally, 40% of consumersOpens a new window report buying more online than they did before. As a result, brands’ websites, sales-related communications, and personalization are driving customer satisfaction and building relationships. Brand loyalty has evolved, with factors such as new shopping venues or supply shortages encouraging consumers to try new things: 24% of global respondents report purchasing from more brands than they have in the past.

Also read: We Need to Talk: Reasons To Adopt Conversational Customer Experience

Over Half of the Surveyed Organizations Reveal That CMOs Drive the CX Strategy

Of the organizations surveyed, 52% reported that their CMO drove CX strategy. Partnering with leadership from other departments is crucial for setting the customer experience vision. IT supports technology deployments, HR recruits the right talent, and customer service interfaces with consumers.

Marketing Teams Resilient in the Face of Change

Marketers have been quick to adapt to the new realities of work. 82% of marketers said that their teams were well prepared to deal with remote work before the shutdown began. However, this does not take away from the fact that organizations were compelled to do more with less. The pandemic has revealed a serious digital skills gap across marketing teams, with 93% of marketers saying that the skills gap prevented them from designing better digital campaigns. Nearly a third of the teams experienced staff reduction due to the pandemic.

Also read: 4 Ways Data Drives Truly Amazing Customer Experience 

While the CMO is responsible for driving the CX strategy, marketing teams have faced challenges recruiting technical talent to execute digital campaigns. The skills gap was more apparent for emerging roles such as data scientists (43%) and machine learning engineers (40%). These roles are now central for teams looking to build a robust digital CX strategy. The report also found that technology is becoming a valuable ally for marketing teams looking to fill these skills gaps with 44% of marketing teams investing in AI and machine learning tools and 54% in customer data platforms.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

As digital transformation accelerates, brands need the right technology, talent, and touchpoint strategies to adapt. Optimism around technology’s potential will drive continued marketing spend. Technology offers access to data that can help marketers decode fast-changing customer behaviors, and it extends their capabilities by automating workflows and delivering smart personalization. A skills gap may slow some organizations’ digital transformation, but many are leaning into technology for solutions. A stronger technology platform helps CMOs set bold visions and provides their teams with the automation, data capabilities, and insights to drive compelling customer experiences.

Most brands implemented some new marketing or CX tools over the past 12 months, and 82% of respondents report that their organization’s ROI on marketing technology improved in 2020. Despite economic uncertainty and shifts in businesses, organizations continue to prioritize laying the right technology foundation for their digital CX.

Also read: 6 Smart Ways To Improve the Customer Experience for Retail Post-COVID-19

The report findings also suggest that the tech adoption trend is expected to continue, with 77% of marketers anticipating higher marketing budgets next year.

As brands evaluate what types of technology to use, their focus is shifting toward deeper personalization and smarter digital experiences. Integration with current technologies to create best-of-breed solutions enables marketers to make the most of budgets, so open solutions are in the spotlight.