The Rise of Consumer Experience: A Week of Learning, Connecting and View of the Possible
At this year’s Adobe Summit, Drew Brees, Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, took to the stage to share his insights around “transformation” in career and life. On building a legacy he said, “I would love for people to say I did this the right way and left it better than I found it.” It was a poignant insight and one that set the tone for the rest of the week.
This overarching theme around transformation resonated across keynotes, demos, and conversations. No matter your business, your brand or your industry, transformation is always happening, and you have the opportunity to dictate the pace and tone of transformation.
I walked away with a handful of musings that are industry changing and speak to the power of scalable change.
1. How Adobe is driving industry change
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen’s message in the opening keynote was clear: we have an inherent responsibility to make consumers data — our data — accurate, safe and accessible to Adobe partners. Narayen addressed the importance and sensitivity of human data collection stating, “While personalization cannot happen without data and intelligence, it should not happen without trust and transparency.” He discussed how the The Open Data Initiative (ODI), which is designed to help customers manage their data between services, will continue expanding to additional partners. The triangulation between Adobe, Microsoft and SAP will help customers connect data across their organizations and empower a new generation of consumer experiences. Moreover, these massive companies are truly engrained in nearly every facet of our lives. Our desktops, our mobile devices, cloud storage, retail checkout and point of sale and so on. Simply put, they’ve got a footprint to collect, scrub and share data openly with their partners, empowering those partners to be better marketers and create richer experiences.
2. Setting the foundation with Adobe’s Experience Platform (AEP)
When I was invited to a partner briefing in January, I walked away with the notion that Adobe’s Experience Platform (AEP) was Adobe’s best product to date, and had it been their first, conversations around Digital Transformation would make more sense. The advances shared at Summit solidified my initial sentiment. Think of AEP as the foundation of a house. Every element is built on top of that. The more stable the foundation, the more expansive home you can build. AEP is the foundation of building true digital experiences. Sure, Adobe’s partnership with Microsoft Azure makes the synthesizing of billions of data points via their Customer Data Platform (CDP) in nearly real time impressive, but more impressive is what can be done with that data. I see AEP transforming retail and CPG. Imagine a CPG brand that doesn’t own check out at a retail partner. Now imagine them having the power to create bespoke brand and marketing content and delivering it via recently acquired Magento within steps of the register, which can influence a purchase while simultaneously owning their relationship with that specific customer.
3. Digital Transformation is on everyone’s mind
But at Summit, the lightbulb went on. Transformation is truly scalable. Sure, you need the core building blocks in place to get started but with the proper insight, strategy and guidance, nearly every company and/or brand can start their journey. It couldn’t have been more evident in conversations with both big and lesser known brands as we began to unpack their specific challenges. Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics packaged together are a good place to start for companies still in the initial stages of digital transformation. Our team at VMLY&R is a best-in-class Adobe partner in standing these offerings up and getting partners started on their path of true transformation.
The biggest takeaway for me was that digital transformation is evolving and organizations are becoming more mature. For a while it appeared as if enterprise level clients were buying technology just to have the most sophisticated stack. Now, it appears as if the arms race has slowed, as companies settle into their new tech and start understanding how to make the most out of it. Today’s imperative is a strategic approach to building real experiences for customers— customer experience management (CXM). This leaves an opportunity for technology companies to find the right experience partners and bring client tool kits to life. All this makes for smarter, better equipped brands to build better more consumer centric experiences moving forward.