Why your business needs to be an experience business

by John Watton

Posted on 02-15-2018

I was speak­ing to an old school friend recent­ly and they remind­ed me about a game we used to play when killing time in class. The aim of the game was to col­lab­o­rate on draw­ing a pic­ture of a fig­ure. First, one per­son drew the head before fold­ing it over so the next in line couldn’t see what had been drawn before. Then the next col­lab­o­ra­tor would draw the tor­so before once again fold­ing it over and pass­ing it along, and so on, until the last per­son in line had drawn the shoes. The fun lay in open­ing the paper to reveal a chimera of a per­son. Dif­fer­ent parts of the body would be exe­cut­ed in var­i­ous colours bear­ing no rela­tion to each oth­er; Drawn, as they were, in isolation.

Well, it struck me that this game is an apt anal­o­gy for how dig­i­tal cus­tomer expe­ri­ences have tra­di­tion­al­ly been exe­cut­ed. Rather than work­ing togeth­er in true col­lab­o­ra­tion towards a sin­gle, uni­fied view of the cus­tomer, the var­i­ous func­tions that inform cus­tomer expe­ri­ences have been siloed.

A plat­form for growth

What’s excit­ing, is that thanks to cloud cus­tomer expe­ri­ence lead­ers, we are break­ing away from this mod­el of sep­a­rate parts, and busi­ness­es are ben­e­fit­ting huge­ly as a result. This trend was one of the high­lights of the Adobe Dig­i­tal Trends Report 2018, which found that top-per­form­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es have invest­ed in inte­grat­ed, cloud-based tech­nol­o­gy stacks to meet their busi­ness goals.

Accord­ing to the sur­vey, organ­i­sa­tions that employ tools that allow for stream­lined work­flows between cre­ative and con­tent mar­keters and web teams are 62 per­cent more like­ly to have exceed­ed their busi­ness goals. Sim­i­lar­ly, the sur­vey found that busi­ness­es that com­mit to the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence through a cross-team approach with the cus­tomer at the heart of all ini­tia­tives are near­ly twice as like­ly to have exceed­ed their top 2017 busi­ness goal by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin (20 per­cent vs. 11 percent).

For me, this makes com­plete sense. As you will know, cus­tomers today are demand­ing per­son­al expe­ri­ences across every touch­point, and brands must deliv­er if they’re to stay in busi­ness. What’s need­ed today is a set of tech­nol­o­gy-enabled capa­bil­i­ties across data and con­tent to build, man­age, and deliv­er an expe­ri­ence that delights cus­tomers and dri­ves impact. The expe­ri­ence must be built up around the cus­tomer and fuelled by deep data and insights that are ful­ly inte­grat­ed across the full range of rel­e­vant functions.

At Adobe we’re clear what this means: you must bring togeth­er every­thing into one plat­form, com­bin­ing the best con­tent with robust data and sci­ence to turn insights into action. Busi­ness­es that do this right will become expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es: Organ­i­sa­tions that have trans­formed their oper­a­tions to meet one goal: Delight­ing the customer.

Becom­ing experience-led

Of course, there are bar­ri­ers to any suc­cess­ful trans­for­ma­tion on this scale. In this case, the first is skills: As busi­ness­es rebuild them­selves around dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences they will need to invest in the right dig­i­tal skills. This is some­thing that busi­ness­es recog­nise and are work­ing to resolve. In our sur­vey, three quar­ters of respon­dents agreed that dig­i­tal skills are essen­tial to suc­cess giv­en the dig­i­tal plat­forms now in place.

The sec­ond bar­ri­er is com­pli­ance: Busi­ness­es need to find ways to cre­ate data-dri­ven cus­tomer expe­ri­ences while respect­ing all rel­e­vant pri­va­cy and data reg­u­la­tions. Reas­sur­ing­ly, how­ev­er, the vast major­i­ty of respon­dents (89 per­cent) in the report stat­ed that they feel that they’ll be able to com­ply with cur­rent and future regulations.

This year’s report is very encour­ag­ing. It sug­gests we’re head­ing into a gold­en age of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, dri­ven by cloud-based dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy. It shows the ben­e­fits of true, seam­less col­lab­o­ra­tion; Of bring­ing all expe­ri­ence func­tions togeth­er on a sin­gle plat­form and uni­fy­ing it around the cus­tomer. The future of mar­ket­ing – to adapt my ear­li­er anal­o­gy – is clear: Every­one work­ing togeth­er at the same time, on the same paper, using the same ink and draw­ing a sin­gle, seam­less pic­ture. The results will be expo­nen­tial­ly bet­ter than any­thing we’ve seen in the past.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Collaboration, Silos, trends report, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA