Five marketing highlights from the 2020 Digital Trends report.

A decade after our first Digital Trends report, we explore how leading businesses are taking advantage of digital transformation to set them apart from the mainstream. We kept in touch to leaders in marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative and IT roles for their insights.

Five marketing highlights from the 2020 Digital Trends.

A decade on from our first Digital Trends report, we explore how leading businesses are taking advantage of digital transformation to set them apart from the mainstream. We kept in touch to leaders in marketing, advertising, ecommerce, creative and IT roles for their insights.

Trends with the greatest impact.

We’ve surfaced the most significant insights for the year ahead. Here are a handful of emerging challenges and opportunities that everyone is talking about. These highlights come straight from our 2020 Digital Trends report, produced in collaboration with Econsultancy.

Digital inequality

The real value of customer experience.

Past decisions about whether to invest in customer experience have evolved into two different worldviews: those who focus on the past and those who focus on the future. For instance, 26% of mainstream companies said they fear recession, while 27% of leading companies were more concerned with attracting and retaining digital talent. Following this trend, 36% of companies on the forefront of customer experience said they exceeded their top business goal by a significant margin, compared with only 12% of mainstream companies. The foundation of customer experience today is to look to the future and create compelling content. Check out how our marketers plan their content intelligence.

Marketing 2020

How to improve the customer journey.

To hold attention in 2020, marketers must not only understand their customer but also improve the customer journey across multiple touchpoints. Thirty-four per cent of leading businesses said that their customer journey was a top priority for 2020 closely followed by targeting and personalisation. In a recent Econsultancy study, over 50% of businesses said that the biggest challenge with customer journey management was actually the volume and variety of content needed. Whether you’re building audiences, speeding up sales or increasing retention, customer journey management is essential to differentiate and grow. If you’re creating content in-house, consider delivering the content you need for the experiences your customers want.

The power of culture

The importance of company culture.

Internal culture can slow down product evolution, kill efficiency and stand in the way of digital transformation. Sixty per cent of marketers at companies with over 150 million pounds (about $196 million) in revenues said that outdated workflows were holding them back. Yet almost a third of customer experience leaders told a different story. For them, inadequate budgets were the main barrier, suggesting that they have the capabilities but not always the resources to deliver better digital experiences. Leading businesses also tended to provide a wider range of learning resources, tailoring the approach to the task and the individual. Based on our findings, we suggest a balance between corporate learning platforms, encouraging people to read blogs and follow influencers and in-person training.

See the bigger picture.

Return to the beginning of Digital Trends and follow a decade of digital transformation that led to where we are today. 

Privacy and data management

Plan ahead to ensure trust and transparency.

Privacy and security are top of mind in both B2B and B2C sectors. As laws are continuing to evolve around what both publishers and advertisers can and can’t do, brands are developing new strategies to increase trust and transparency. Results suggest that brands who have clear data strategies and those who are investing in highly integrated, cloud-based technology stacks were 65% more likely than their peers to suggest that the focus on data protection has had a positive impact. As customers become increasingly aware (and vocal) around how their data is being used, you might want to consider investing in data management as well as customer-facing initiatives to demonstrate transparency, build trust to gain greater breadth and depth of data.

Artificial intelligence

Automate to free up resources.

Free up human resources so you can focus on creative and strategy. We found that 41% of leading businesses were already using artificial intelligence in 2020 for everything from suggesting keywords and simplifying scheduling to flagging potential fraud. On the other hand, 47% of mainstream businesses said that they had no plans to invest in AI or machine learning. Businesses that embrace automation have a clear advantage moving forward. If you’re introducing new systems and initiatives, streamlining your data analysis could be a good place to start. You could also explore using automation for marketing optimisation, product recommendation, dynamic pricing and retaining customers. Personalise the on-site journey and apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to your customer experiences.

The main talking points.

Hand Clicking

Digital inequality
Businesses that invest in customer experience have the advantage.

Connected dots

Data management
Forward-thinking companies are focusing on consumer data management.


AI and machine learning is being used to automate repetitive marketing tasks.


Download the report to find out where trends are heading.