Adobe has released its 2023 Digital Trends Report, the 13th annual deep dive into brand marketing and IT priorities for the year ahead.
The global survey of more than 9,000 executives, practitioners, and agency employees also explores the technology investments and strategies that set industry leaders apart from the competition.
This year's report reveals that leading brands have prioritised investments in the speed, scale and efficiency of their content creation capabilities and workflows to build stronger customer relationships and succeed in 2023, according to Adobe.
In parallel, they are enhancing their existing marketing processes and technologies to make the most of their investments and ensure they seize every opportunity throughout the year.
Katrina Troughton, Vice President and Managing Director, Adobe Australia and New Zealand, says, "Customer expectations for content-rich, personalised experiences have reached new heights, meaning ANZ businesses need to be more creative to deliver meaningful customer experiences.
"Adobe's Digital Trends Report shows lack of time is the most significant barrier for ANZ businesses to deliver exceptional content. To address this, business leaders need to prioritise a content supply chain and explore new technologies to automate workflows for a streamlined content lifecycle."
According to the research, 88% of senior ANZ executives say demand for content has significantly increased. Yet despite this seemingly insatiable appetite from customers who now crave dynamic digital experiences across a growing range of channels less than a quarter (19%) of brands rate themselves as good at creating and delivering content.
Industry leaders are therefore rethinking and streamlining their content supply chains, which cover content campaign planning, creation, delivery, and data analysis.
Efficiency and cost-reduction have become the focus - in fact, 25% of senior ANZ executives say they have already made their content processes more efficient, while 40% of senior executives aim to streamline or automate processes to work more efficiently in 2023.
One Australian organisation thats already adopted automation is Cotton On Group. To better engage the brands young audience across multiple markets, the retail brand needed to interact in a more natural, authentic and conversational way.
Another key finding was around workflows. Historically, efforts to accelerate content creation have come at the cost of employee time and freedom. Almost half (46%) of ANZ marketing practitioners cite a lack of time to be creative as a barrier to delivering excellent customer experiences.
In addition, less than a quarter (23%) of ANZ practitioners rate their organisations as good or very good at planning, scoping, prioritising, and assigning content to achieve measurable outcomes, compared to 25% in APAC and 33% globally. Crucially, almost half (44%) of ANZ marketers say workflow issues are critical in holding back their organisations.
To address this issue and strengthen content development in 2023, leading ANZ brands have prioritised workflow management, digital collaboration and improving their teams skills.
More than one-third (40%) have prioritised streamlining and leveraging AI or automating collaboration processes so their teams can work more efficiently. And 27% of ANZ brands have prioritised building their teams digital and customer experience skills.
Investments in content and creative workflows reflect how leaders are prioritising improving processes and technologies to enable success in the current economic climate.
Nearly Two thirds (65%) of ANZ leaders plan to invest in new marketing and data technologies in 2023, while another quarter (15%) plan to maximise the value of existing technologies. Some brands future planning may be suffering due to economic concerns. In fact, 63% of senior brand executives in ANZ report that emphasising immediate needs has come at the cost of longer-term planning and strategy.
Globally, brands are looking towards new digital platforms and forms of engagement, where 88% of ANZ senior brand executives are looking into chatbots and AI-driven customer interactions to improve the customer experience. Investment in the Metaverse is also lagging, as 90% of ANZ executives say they don't believe it will apply to their organisation compared to 36% globally.