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Experience As A Service
As experience promises to be the next battleground for marketers to compete on, Adobe puts a premium on putting it at the core of its now integrated offer
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Most future-ready companies are busy making customer experience their single-minded focus. And if data is being used as a reference point, there is a good reason to do so. A Gartner study found that in 2010, 36 per cent companies expected to compete mostly on customer experience. In 2016, this number increased to a staggering 89 per cent.
This focus on ‘experience’, where product, marketing, design, strategy and various other functions become a part of the overall experience, has prompted Adobe, counted among the largest digitally-driven businesses in the world, to make experience as its central offer.
At the recently concluded Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, the company announced a slew of new products. While acquisitions and organic growth have both contributed to the new structure, the most critical aspect of the new Adobe is an integrated architecture that allows it to offer end-to-end, seamless solutions to its customers and partners.
“The Experience Cloud is the larger opportunity and we are excited about it. What makes this even more special is that it comes from interactions with our customers,” says Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe.
Keeping the customer experience at heart, Adobe has launched its Experience Cloud, which has brought its Marketing Cloud, Analytics Cloud together with the newly added Advertising Cloud that comes from its acquisition of advertising technology firm Tubemogul.
The Elegant Solution
With digital disrupting every industry now, Adobe believes that brands need to rethink their customer experience. They need to move to what it calls a more ‘personal, consistent and elegant’ experience to stay ahead of the game.
The Experience Cloud is built on the Adobe Cloud Platform, leveraging Adobe Sensei’s machine learning and AI capabilities and combines an extensible platform, comprehensive data and content systems and a partner ecosystem. With the Marketing Cloud capabilities, the Experience Cloud offers marketers tools to manage, personalise, optimise and orchestrate campaigns and customer journeys. The Advertising Cloud capabilities allow marketers to manage advertising across traditional TV and digital formats, while the Analytics Cloud helps integrate audience data across all Adobe Clouds.
Besides the Experience Cloud, the technology firm also tied up with Microsoft on a set of joint solutions focused on transforming customer experience and launched new developer tools and partner integrations as well as new intelligence features for enterprises powered by Adobe Sensei.
The ‘Emotion’ Currency
“Experience is the sum total of the company, through its functions. A great experience does not save time but maximises time with the brand. We are officially riding the experience business wave,” says Brad Rencher, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, Digital Marketing, Adobe.
Adobe is looking at experience as the great differentiator, the make-or-break attribute to ignite life-long customer advocacy and growth, as Rencher puts it.
“Experiences are meaningful because they create an emotional experience. Emotion is the currency of experience and this has to extend to the entire organisation. We are the experience ambassadors and we need to make experience our business,” adds Adobe’s VP of Strategy, Alliances & Marketing, John Mellor.
If in its earlier avatar, Adobe connected with the C-Suite, in the new avatar, the attempt is to put Adobe on the CEO’s table. One of the reasons Adobe had to reinvent its own business, was to be critically important to its clients in their creative and digital journey.
“Experiences are not standing still, neither is customer expectation. Advancement in cloud tech has fundamentally transformed the landscape and new forms of experiences are in reach today. Very soon, more will emerge. To become an experience business, we have to tame an array of system challenges,” Narayen observes.
And for him, Asia is leading some of this change. Various markets in the region are at different levels of digital maturity. But how important is experience, when some consumers may well be focused on just the product at the right price point? Narayen explains that in emerging and mature markets alike, there is significant interest in what an experience business means.
“From financial services and airlines to e-governance and from MNCs to local companies, various players are proponents of these solutions. The experience business wave is a global phenomenon. The industry story may be different but the fundamental factors driving the initiative and the wave are consistent,” he says.