Key Takeaways from Adobe Summit EMEA 2018

by John Watton

Posted on 05-08-2018

The past few weeks have seen me blog­ging about the past when the term “expe­ri­ence busi­ness” was cre­at­ed, and the present, as expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es come of age. Today, let’s look to the future. Because the future is where I have my eyes focused after the con­clu­sion of the best Adobe Sum­mit we’ve ever host­ed in Europe.

On day one, Adobe’s CEO Shan­tanu Narayen declared that he want­ed atten­dees to leave Adobe Sum­mit with a “bet­ter under­stand­ing of being an expe­ri­ence maker—with help at every step.”

From con­ver­sa­tions with Sky and Vir­gin Atlantic, through to the wise words of fash­ion and sports lead­ers such as Vic­to­ria Beck­ham OBE and Antho­ny Joshua MBE, we learned how oth­ers are tak­ing expe­ri­ences and trans­lat­ing them for their cus­tomers in order to build brand sup­port, ado­ra­tion and loy­al­ty, now and into tomorrow.

It’s all very well recap­ping an event, but what atten­dees and lis­ten­ers want to know is “What now?” How can I go back and put the lessons to work? To answer this, I think we need to project our­selves 20 years into the future and look at the brands we think will sur­vive and thrive.

Accord­ing to a For­rester Report being launched lat­er this month, expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es secure 1.4x high­er brand aware­ness, 1.8x stronger employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion, 1.5x larg­er order val­ue, 1.8x more cus­tomer reten­tion, 1.3x big­ger return on ad spend, and 35 per­cent faster rev­enue growth rates than oth­er brands.

Busi­ness­es can become expe­ri­ence busi­ness­es by starting—and ending—with the con­sumer and the cus­tomer jour­ney when map­ping out what they do and how they want to trans­form. Break­ing down silos is key, as cus­tomers are every­where at every touchpoint.

Dur­ing his keynote address, Shan­tanu out­lined the three pil­lars of an Expe­ri­ence Sys­tem of Record. In my opin­ion, this is a great place to start, so let’s look at this in more detail.

How does a busi­ness trans­form into an expe­ri­ence business?

Pil­lar One:

The first pil­lar in trans­form­ing into an expe­ri­ence busi­ness is to look at your data link: what is your data pipeline? That means all the parts of a busi­ness pro­duc­ing data every day. You may have mul­ti­ple CRM sys­tems and sev­er­al ad servers. Con­nect­ing all this dis­parate data at speed in order to know your cus­tomer and respect their pri­va­cy is step one.

Pil­lar Two:

Pil­lar two trans­forms this data into some­thing use­ful. We call this step “Seman­tics and Con­trol.” The same cus­tomer may be pro­filed in var­i­ous ways across your sys­tem. They may be a mem­ber in a loy­al­ty sys­tem, receive email mar­ket­ing, and vis­it your web­site. Despite being one cus­tomer, they appear as three dif­fer­ent peo­ple due to the silos in your sys­tem. This needs to change.

GDPR pro­vides chal­lenges, but it’s also a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for mar­keters to lean into cus­tomer-cen­tric­i­ty and look at pri­va­cy from a customer’s point of view. Think and design with pri­va­cy in mind while break­ing down the silos that pre­vent stronger pro­fil­ing and per­son­al­i­sa­tion. Solv­ing seman­tics and con­trol is not easy with lega­cy sys­tems, as this is where the major­i­ty of big cus­tomer ini­tia­tives occur dai­ly. Don’t look at this as an overnight change—you’ll need to bake in time, patience and con­stant test­ing and learn­ing in order to get the bal­ance right.

Pil­lar Three:

The third and final pil­lar is where the real mag­ic hap­pens: Machine Learn­ing. Ask your data sci­en­tists how they spend their time. Have them focus on cre­at­ing uni­fied pro­files that cap­ture the total­i­ty of a customer’s expe­ri­ence with your enter­prise, based on real-time behav­iour and action. The goal is more informed action by doing some­thing mean­ing­ful with the data. Crunch­ing num­bers to pro­duce pret­ty reports gets you nowhere—it’s how you put your insights into action that sep­a­rates the ama­teurs from the pros.

The Expe­ri­ence Sys­tem of Record is informed by data, but that data needs con­tent, and con­tent needs its own work­flow and pipeline from brief to cam­paign. Machine learn­ing can help increase con­tent veloc­i­ty by speed­ing areas that drag you down.

There you have it. Sounds easy, right?

Well it can be when backed by the sup­port of our Adobe Solu­tions Con­sul­tants, or by look­ing at the var­i­ous tools pro­vid­ed by our recent­ly launched Adobe Expe­ri­ence League, a learn­ing plat­form pro­vid­ing intel­li­gent guid­ance, com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tions and expert sup­port to brands regard­less of what stage in the expe­ri­ence busi­ness jour­ney they are on.

Over the next few posts, the Dig­i­tal Europe blog will share lessons from brands across dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals and mar­ket­ing sec­tors tak­en from Adobe Sum­mit edu­ca­tion­al ses­sions. From con­tent and design through to CRM and email mar­ket­ing, we will be look­ing at some of the key learn­ings our part­ners, cus­tomers and con­sul­tants have picked up over the past to help you into the future.

We hope you’ll join us as we share their sto­ries. As our musi­cal guests from the Sum­mit Bash, the Kaiser Chiefs say: “I Pre­dict a Riot”. Only in our case it’s a riot for bet­ter expe­ri­ences that make bet­ter brands.

Be sure to book­mark this blog, and be sure to add your thoughts in our comments.

Topics: Content Velocity, Adobe Summit, AI, Content, GDPR, Machine Learning, privacy, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA