How to Set Your Digital Strategy Priorities for 2017

Whether it's curating a personalized experience or ensuring greater data security, enterprises are investing heavily in resources and new tech to win and keep customers.

Now that the holidays are behind us, the next week or so should be the time for enterprises to plan their 2017 digital marketing strategies.

IT in general, especially in the mobile app world, has been trending toward making apps faster, safer, more efficient and easier to use. Customers actively seek these qualities. According to a recent Gigya survey of more than 300 small, medium and large customer-obsessed companies in competitive markets, organizations are concentrating on—that's right—the customer experience.

Whether it's curating a personalized experience or ensuring greater data security, it's clear that organizations are poised to invest heavily in resources and new tech to win and keep customers. IT is diving ever-deeper into the age of the customer, and digital user experience is becoming a more important source of competitive differentiation.

It's simply too easy for customers and potential customers to switch over to another app or vendor if they get frustrated.

Regulatory compliance also will drive investment, thanks to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR will enforce stricter rules as to how personal data is handled for both European organizations and non-EU organizations processing EU customer data. Its ripple effect likely will emerge in new regulations enacted by U.S. entities, such as the FCC, SEC and CFPB. Organizations must be prepared to meet whatever new regulations are initiated.

Gigya makes a customer identity management platform that businesses use to identify customers, aggregate data and personalize campaigns. Following are the company's highest-ranking digital strategy priorities for 2017; see if your organization's list aligns with theirs.

1. Provide a Personalized User Experience

Delivering a personalized consumer experience across the customer journey to drive conversions, engagement and loyalty (70 percent of respondents agree) is the most important rule. Personalized engagement is the backbone of a strong customer base and a competitive differentiator. It revolves around using first-party data, gathered directly from consumers with transparency and permission, to personalize experiences and promote lucrative, long-term customer relationships.

2. Consolidate Your Data

Consolidating data from a variety of sources to get a 360-degree view of customers (61 percent). First-party, permission-based data compiled from registration flows and social networks provides a deeper understanding of user demographics, behavioral data and more. Organizations end up with a more holistic view of their customers.

3. Improve Security

Increasing security of customer data (35 percent). Data breaches are no longer news—they're expected. New security technologies are emerging and being developed with the customer experience perspective in mind.

4. Use Enhanced Registration Methods

Improving user acquisition through enhanced registration/login process (such as biometrics) across digital properties (34 percent). Passwords are giving way to advanced authentication techniques that provide stronger security, while preserving the customer experience.

5. Meet Data Privacy Requirements

Preparing for and meeting data privacy and compliance regulations across multiple geographic regions (26 percent). GDPR will be in effect as of May 2018 and will apply to all organizations processing EU customer data.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...