System integration issues are the chief obstacle to delivering a successful digital experience, according to 78 percent of recently-surveyed business and technology decision makers.
According to the study, which leveraged data from Forrester’s Business Technographics and was sponsored by Sitecore, decision makers are investing in digital experience as a means to improving customer lifetime value (82 percent), increasing top line revenue (81 percent), improving customer retention (75 percent), and increasing conversion rates (71 percent).
However, results also indicate that firms invest in digital experience components, only to strand them in content silos, thus hampering process and consistency.
Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of those surveyed report an excess of content repositories as an impediment to digital experience delivery.
"Every marketer wants to create a world-class customer experience. Most companies rely on a number of different systems for each customer touch point -- email marketing software, social media monitoring tool, Web content management system, re-targeting plugin, A/B testing set-up, and so on," Nate Barad, director of product strategy for Sitecore, told eWEEK. "This means marketers must piece together data from various sources to create a unified and personalized experience."
Digital experience investments also appear to help the bottom line, as respondents noted that digital experience initiatives led directly to a reduction in expenses, including savings in customer acquisition costs (78 percent), marketing campaign operations (68 percent) and merchandising operations (63 percent).
In addition, 63 percent of enterprise BT services decision-makers ranked the creation of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy as a four or five on a five-point scale of importance.
A majority (56 percent) said the same for a major business transformation, which Forrester defines as consisting of fundamental changes in business systems, processes, roles, and culture.
When asked about the factors that impede success on digital experience initiatives, the greatest number of respondents (78 percent) cited software products that aren’t well-integrated.
Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents said they also have too many customer databases to which they are expected to deliver exemplary digital experiences. Half of the survey respondents said they require easy addition of new delivery and measurement touch points.
"Businesses need to be able to provide a consistent experience for consumers who, say, begin a purchase on their mobile phone and complete it on their laptop," Barad said. "Along with these new expectations come several exciting opportunities. Businesses can now take advantage of many new technologies -- beacons, push notifications, and mobile payments for example -- to optimize the mobile channel."
He also noted marketers are just now able to scratch the surface of understanding every customer and shaping each experience in real-time, at scale -- signaling a massive shift for brands that want to compete.
"We’re seeing more and more collaboration between CMOs and CIOs, as companies realize the systems they invest in are not just about infrastructure, but about the customer experience, as well," he explained. "Brands who understand these shifts early will ultimately be the ones that succeed."