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Digital Marketing

Adobe Summit Recap Day 1 – Make Experience Your Business

by Duff Anderson, on Mar 22, 2017

Yesterday marked the opening of the Adobe Summit, the largest digital marketing conference in the world. This year, over 12,000 attendees have made their way to Las Vegas to discuss the latest industry trends and learn valuable skills how to create flawless experiences. 

Below are a few of my key takeaways and thoughts from Day 1 of the Adobe Summit:


The digital transformation

Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, kicked off the festivities with a call to take an all-or-nothing approach to digital transformation and adopt a customer-centric model. He started off with a trip down memory lane by looking at how Adobe itself had to transform its creative suite over the years to become more relevant in a connected world, which ultimately lead to the creation of the Creative Cloud. Narayen touched on some of the lessons learned from making this transformation and how a great customer experience is the differentiator that separates leaders from the pack. He also looked at how, "Keeping the status quo is not a strategy. Digital transformation is all or nothing".


Make experience your business


Next up was Brad Rencher, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing, who continued in the same vein, discussing the challenges that businesses face in a digital world. Rencher looked at how the roles and responsibilities of brands have changed, with consumers now telling brands what they want and when they want it.

For example, consumers want to book holidays last minute. They want to buy clothes online that are delivered to their doorstep, but want to be able to return these items seamlessly. 4 years ago only 1 out 3 companies said they would leverage the customer experience as a competitive advantage, but today it’s 9 out of 10!

Rencher then looked at 4 key areas that make up an experience business.  Overall, an experience business will:



An experience business will know me and respect me

During his keynote, Rencher touched on all 4 areas but I would like to focus on the first one – an experience business will know me and respect me. Knowing you visitors is essential. Without understanding the needs, wants and perceptions of your customers, how can you create an experience that will delight them? But as Rencher alluded to, this is a balancing act between providing a personalized experience and not being creepy. Today, as marketers we have a huge array of data at our fingertips, but much of this data is collecting from watching our customers’ every move on different digital channels.

By leveraging opt-in information such as customer feedback and shifting your efforts towards the visitor’s purpose, you can execute meaningful personalization strategies while not over-stepping the privacy mark.


The recipe to becoming an experience business

Rencher then moved on to the recipe for how to become an experience business:  

  1. Context is the starting line
  2. Design for speed and scale
  3. Milliseconds make the journey
  4. Integrate to innovate


His first point about context looked at how you might interact with someone in different contexts. For example, you might first meet someone at the keynote, but then meet them again later on at the bar. The interactions in both instances will be completely different.

“Context is the starting line and gives you the cue to deliver the right experience”.

But to know what each and every user wants, you need to ask them. This is fairly easy to do in person, like when a prospect calls you or walks into your store.  But this is a lot more complicated to do in the digital world. That’s why asking your visitors for feedback provides this context, which you can then leverage to determine how to better deliver the right experience.


Single language for the customer experience

As always at the Adobe Summit, there were some big launches on the first day. The biggest was the roll out of Adobe Experience Cloud, which combines the Adobe Analytics cloud, Adobe Advertising Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Also, Abhay Parasnis, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Adobe, introduced Adobe Launch, the next generation in tag management. But during his keynote, Parasnis also looked at the language of the experience business. For me, I find this a perfect description of Voice of the Customer (VoC) data. As the only way to understand your customers’ intentions, needs and experiences is through asking your visitors directly for feedback.

So as we enter a new world of marketing where the experience is everything, the key is creating experiences powered by the voice of your customers so you delight your customers at every turn.


Be sure to check out my key takeaways from Day 2 of the Adobe Summit here.

Duff Anderson
Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience.

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