And the Results are In

2015 Digital Trends Report

Download the report here This report was originally released in January of 2015, but is now available for free download since the next quarterly report is now available. Click the image above to download the full report.

Adobe and EConsultancy Releases the 2015 Digital Trends Report

Adobe just published the 2015 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015, a study based on survey results with Econsultancy. The results were initially interesting, but I quickly found myself lost in the presentation. There was some nice commentary, clean layouts, and just enough content to back up that it came from Adobe, to make it look professional and respectable.

The Results

The results were heartwarming, customer experience and content were the top trends, with mobile and social delegated to their proper places now that they are engrained platforms. Big Data and Personalization, at least at first, did not have the impact or top-tier placement one would expect of a large-scale marketing report. Also a bit heartwarming.

The Data

But the data itself needs to be considered. The survey results were just that, survey results, so it’s difficult to really understand if they are valuable, or just what the target audience participants think they SHOULD be doing.

I’ve worked with enough agencies and clients to know that the answers provided are not necessarily the correct ones, based on the reality of the working environment. The surveys are often filled out by those in positions not involved in the day-to-day, or simply want to make it appear as if they are more “progressive” than in reality.

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true. When asking marketers, digital marketers in particular, to answer a survey about their industry, they likely will answer “as expected”, or as they “should”. We know that surveys are trackable, and even if they say they’re anonymous, they’re not. So we answer much like the stressed out work at home mom on Facebook, with sunshine and happiness, and a competence that rivals our competitors.

Good survey writers know this. So the questions are worded appropriately, to allow for the fluctuation in actual vs. ideal reality. I went back over the report and looked at the questions and outcomes critically.

The Questions

I started to see where the charts and results were tailored, or confusing. I don’t know if the original survey asked the questions certain ways, or if the results to the questions were merged and then categorized for similarity. There were multiple instances where two different concepts were grouped together in the results, most notably relevant content and personalization, targeting and personalization.

Personalization had taken a lower ranking on some of the previous questions, so I started to wonder why they were included later in the report with some other options. Personalization and Targeting are not necessarily the same thing, especially when Relevant Content is another choice.

It appeared to be weighted towards personalization, which couldn’t get the results on its own. Then came big data. Big Data is the cool kid, everyone one wants to hang with Big Data, but no one really knows how. So it sit out there, staring us all down as the minions who cannot compete.

And yet there it was, with personalization, at the forefront of the 5 year plans and goals.

By the time I got to the building blocks of for brilliant customer experience, I was confident that the question writers were not professional, and the presentation of the responses were not fully understood by the analysts writing the report. It made no sense, or no common sense, and showed more of an explanation of a chart than the impact of the answers.

The Analysis

In a nutshell, content marketing and customer experiences are top priorities, with big data and personalization down the road.

Is this how it should be? Yes. Because you cannot personalize without content, and most companies can’t make heads or tails out of little data, let alone big data, without rather large technology investments of time, money, and resources.

It’s no surprise that targeting and personalizing WITH RELEVANT CONTENT is the priority across the board. It has been since the dawn of advertising and marketing.


Don Draper, Darren Stevens, David Basner … they all singularly focused on connecting the right message with the right customer in the right medium. The rest are just supporting tools.

Not ure who all I’m referring to? Here’s a handy link