The Adobe Summit 2019, which not only details the company’s playbook for the year ahead but also broad trends that it foresees impacting the industry, has once again put ‘experience’ at the core of its overall plan.
The last year saw Adobe bucking its otherwise conservative nature to make two acquisitions – b2b marketing company Marketo and commerce platform Magento Commerce. The result is the addition of one more solution taking Adobe one step further in its ambition of providing end-to-end solutions for businesses in crafting digital experiences.
Kicking off Summit 2019, Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe, reminded that people buy experiences not products, a journey that Adobe undertook two years ago when it reworked its product architecture under the umbrella of Adobe Experience Cloud. The Experience Cloud comprised Adobe Analytics Cloud (the data solutions offer), Adobe Marketing Cloud and Adobe Advertising Cloud (which had resulted from the Tubemogul acquisition). The artificial intelligence (AI) capability from the company, Adobe Sensei, formed the foundation and Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Document Cloud was integrated in this structure.
This articulation began Adobe’s ‘experience’ journey. The Magento acquisition has added one more dimension to this structure as Adobe formally launched the Adobe Commerce Cloud. So far Adobe only had partnerships in commerce capabilities but Magento gives the company, its own muscle in commerce.
“With the work we have done in the last couple of years, we were geared up to efficiently integrate both these acquisitions in our overall offer,” Mr Narayen observed.
The Commerce Cloud aims to continue building on the experience proposition in Adobe’s narrative, positioning itself as an integral component towards Adobe’s promise of comprehensive end-to-end solutions.
Marketo acquisition, while augmenting Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, also aims to grow Adobe’s marketing conversation from just B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) to B2E – business to everything.
Stating that Adobe’s own transformation journey, in the last three decades, is built by empowering people and transforming how businesses compete, Mr Narayen said, “To win in today’s world, every business has to transform and become maniacally focused on consumer experience. Transformation is not easy. Our story really began when we seized the opportunity to reimagine the ecosystem, turning the business on its head through a subscription model. This allowed us to put customer experience at the front and center of what we do and earn business trust.”
Adobe has spoken about data and creativity for some time now and it has now broken its customer journey in five phases comprising discover, try, buy, use and renew — all supported by a data driven operating model (DDOM). “This combines consumer journey with the data and over time not only the framework but also the process itself has become successful. Because our DDOM dashboard serves as a single source of truth, democratising data to focus on actionable insights,” he explained.
While Adobe has its own version of DDOM, Narayen advised that every business needed its own DDOM version to succeed and be able to offer competitive differentiator by personalizing at scale.
The requirement is to take the data, stitch it together, apply intelligence and take action, all in real time. And the solution for this, according to Adobe, is the Adobe Experience Platform. Even as Adobe stressed on the significance of data, it also reminded that personalization should not happen without trust and transparency and that all product launches and enhancements adhered to principles.
Customer Experience Management
If such a thing as the big theme was needed for each Summit, this year it would be Customer Experience Management. Having established that experience was key for any business to succeed, Narayen reiterated that legacy systems cannot keep up with challenges, especially for the new generation of consumers.
“The ability to put customer at the centre of the digital strategy, orchestrate the journey and then deliver a compelling experience will differentiate the leaders from the laggards,” said Mr Narayen.
The Adobe’s Experience Cloud, now bolstered with Commerce, underlined by Adobe Sensei and Adobe Experience Platform is all geared towards managing customer experience.
Even as Summit 2019 had a slew of announcements and conversations of Adobe’s product stack, ethos and philosophy towards its own growth and transformation, one key takeaway is about the role of the marketer. “Digital marketing is meant to address C-level needs, typically the CMO, but the customer experience management promise in a software as a service (SAAS) world requires far more collaboration in the C-Suite,” Mr Narayen commented.
While cloud, enterprise and data have brought solutions but they also presented marketers with extremely challenging problems. Adobe’s efforts are geared towards being a partner in presenting some of these solutions.