How Data-Smart Marketers Deliver Better Customer Experiences

by Digital Europe

Posted on 07-23-2018

Brad Rencher, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and gen­er­al man­ag­er of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing at Adobe, is a vet­er­an trav­el­er. Dur­ing the last year, he booked over 150,000 miles with Delta. Since Brad is a busy exec­u­tive, he appre­ci­ates that Delta pro­vides him with seam­less trav­el expe­ri­ences such as free text mes­sag­ing on flights and, his favorite new fea­ture, a mes­sage when his bag has made it safe­ly onto the plane.

Brad is also a Mar­riott faith­ful. “I’ve spent over 160 days on the road this past year, and Mar­riott has been my home away from home,” Brad says. “They real­ly get me, and know that the last thing I want to do after a long flight is to deal with a lengthy check-in process.” The game chang­er? Mobile check-in and check-out with room-ready alerts.

If Brad for­got to bring tooth­paste or needs extra tow­els, he can make a spe­cial request through his mobile phone to the front desk. A chat­box even asks if he needs any­thing else.

Experience is everything

“Mak­ing expe­ri­ence your busi­ness is good for your busi­ness,” Brad says. A recent For­rester report found that an expe­ri­ence busi­ness has 1.4‑times faster rev­enue growth, 1.6‑times the cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion rates, and 1.7‑times the reten­tion rates com­pared to com­pa­nies that don’t focus on great expe­ri­ences. The rea­son is sim­ple, says Shan­tanu Narayen, pres­i­dent and CEO at Adobe: “Peo­ple buy expe­ri­ences, not products.”

The bot­tom line: Enter­pris­es like Mar­riott and Delta are increas­ing­ly real­iz­ing the cur­ren­cy of deliv­er­ing seam­less expe­ri­ences. They meet the cus­tomer where they are and through the medi­um they pre­fer, whether that’s mobile, chat, the phone, or in per­son. By engag­ing cus­tomers with per­son­al­ized, seam­less expe­ri­ences, these com­pa­nies can win loy­al­ty for life.

To deliv­er these expe­ri­ences, orga­ni­za­tions must work smarter, adapt­ing and chang­ing to needs by adopt­ing the right process­es and tech solu­tions. This is where an expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record comes into play. It’s a plat­form that allows you to ingest, trans­late, and gov­ern cus­tomer infor­ma­tion from all your data sources, and then use that uni­fied data to deliv­er high­ly per­son­al­ized con­tent and expe­ri­ences to your cus­tomers at scale.

Demographics be damned

If con­tent is king, then expe­ri­ence is the often more pow­er­ful queen. Both are essen­tial for brands to meet cus­tomer expec­ta­tions in today’s mul­ti-chan­nel environment.

Whether you’re play­ing the king or queen, it all starts with data. But how do you cor­ral vol­umes and vol­umes of data, man­age data from var­i­ous kinds of sources, under­stand what the data is telling you, and cus­tomize mes­sag­ing for each and every cus­tomer, all in the few sec­onds you have the customer’s atten­tion? All this can feel like drink­ing water from a firehose.

Cen­tral hubs like Adobe Cloud Plat­form — Adobe’s expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record — do the heavy lift­ing so you don’t have to. It works with your data in four key ways:

  1. Uses con­nec­tors to ingest data and enable con­sis­tent stream­ing of data.
  2. Gov­erns and labels data to make sure it’s secure, uni­form, and understandable.
  3. Enrich­es the data through machine learn­ing and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, mak­ing it more sophisticated.
  4. Enables a uni­fied pro­file to cre­ate bet­ter expe­ri­ences for your customers.

While it used to be that busi­ness­es cor­ralled cus­tomers into tight demo­graph­ics — “Boomers pre­fer A” and “Mil­len­ni­als love B” — that is a thing of the past. Per­son­al­iza­tion is today’s mantra. “Lever­ag­ing the hun­dreds of tril­lions of data trans­ac­tions we process every year, the expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record under­stands and aids the enter­prise,” Shan­tanu says. This leads to smarter search­es and bet­ter rec­om­men­da­tions. Demo­graph­ics are passé. We’re now able to deliv­er the holy grail for mar­keters: hyper-per­son­al­iza­tion at scale. Adobe Cloud Plat­form lets you get much more out of your data.

How exact­ly do all the gears mesh togeth­er in this sin­gle ver­sion of the truth? Let’s take apart the machine.

Repeat after me: Data, data, data

Your cus­tomers are every­where — mobile, social, and in-store. You have mul­ti­ple touch­points with them, such as loy­al­ty pro­grams, pur­chase his­to­ries, and sup­port tick­ets. Don’t for­get all the behav­ioral data — every impres­sion, click, and IoT interaction.

As if all this com­plex­i­ty were not enough, there are addi­tion­al wrin­kles. You want to cre­ate a sin­gle view of the cus­tomer that also respects pri­va­cy and a whole host of gov­ern­men­tal reg­u­la­tions. Think GDPR.

And while tra­di­tion­al CRM sys­tems have been effec­tive thus far at cen­tral­iz­ing cus­tomer infor­ma­tion, “those sys­tems are fun­da­men­tal­ly inca­pable of man­ag­ing the vol­ume, veloc­i­ty, and vari­ety of data and con­tent required to deliv­er uni­fied cus­tomer expe­ri­ences,” Brad says.

“Grap­pling with the com­plex­i­ties of this con­sumer rela­tion­ship is our core chal­lenge: cre­at­ing a uni­fied pro­file that enables you to deliv­er a uni­fied expe­ri­ence,” Brad says.

Cloud sourcing

All this data from dis­parate sources can be saved on Adobe Cloud Plat­form. Data from oth­er Adobe solu­tions such as Adobe Ana­lyt­ics Cloud, Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud, and more are gath­ered in as well. Adobe Cloud Plat­form is cus­tomiz­able to work with­in the frame­work of rules and reg­u­la­tions your busi­ness uses, both exter­nal, such as GDPR, and those that are unique to your enterprise.

Adobe Cloud Plat­form crunch­es all the data: CRM, e‑commerce and offline trans­ac­tions, loy­al­ty pro­gram data, behav­ioral insights from mobile, web, or email, and social inter­ac­tions to cre­ate Adobe Expe­ri­ence Cloud Pro­files — com­plete, uni­fied, real-time views of every customer.

Equal­ly impor­tant, an expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record facil­i­tates data secu­ri­ty and seman­tics so all of the dis­parate infor­ma­tion is pre­sent­ed in one under­stand­able vocabulary. Brad points to an exam­ple where the same indi­vid­ual may be referred to as a cus­tomer in your email sys­tem, a mem­ber in your loy­al­ty pro­gram, a vis­i­tor in your web ana­lyt­ics sys­tem, and a cook­ie in your ad sys­tem. This indi­vid­ual could eas­i­ly be rec­og­nized as four dif­fer­ent peo­ple. The uni­fy­ing lan­guage gets rid of the ambiguity.

You don’t need to be a Ph.D. in data sci­ence to under­stand what an expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record is telling you. Stake­hold­ers of all skill lev­els can walk away with insights about cus­tomers, so every­body works smarter and col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly, lead­ing to bet­ter outcomes.

Cue the content

Once you have the data fig­ured out to cre­ate a uni­fied cus­tomer pro­file, you can feed your cus­tomer the right con­tent — whether that’s a rel­e­vant cus­tomer review, a coupon, or even restau­rant rec­om­men­da­tions. The right sys­tem can effi­cient­ly deliv­er that con­tent and makes sure it stays on task. It needs to be robust enough to han­dle the dif­fer­ent kinds of con­tent as well, whether it is video, pho­tos, or the lat­est fash­ion advice.

An expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record pro­vides a cen­tral work­flow for con­tent and a pipeline for deliv­ery so there are no stum­bling blocks on the road to locat­ing and deliv­er­ing mes­sag­ing at light­ning speed. This is where data and con­tent come togeth­er in Adobe Cloud Platform.

Machine learning working for you

Brad reminds us that all this pro­cess­ing must take place at an incred­i­bly high speed. “We’re talk­ing about ingest­ing high-vol­ume, high-veloc­i­ty data and con­tent, and let­ting you act on it in under 100 mil­lisec­onds from start to fin­ish,” he says.

Machine-learn­ing com­po­nents in Adobe Cloud Plat­form auto­mate some of the mun­dane tasks relat­ed to con­tent cre­ation. These can include auto-tag­ging, auto-crop­ping, image recog­ni­tion, and cus­tomer seg­men­ta­tion and jour­ney pre­dic­tion. Machine learn­ing and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence take these ingre­di­ents and put them on steroids to deliv­er at scale for an enter­prise cus­tomer base.

Adobe Cloud Plat­form helps you work smarter, and lever­age your data and tal­ent in more effi­cient and pro­duc­tive ways. “The cul­mi­na­tion of this expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record is the abil­i­ty to design, mea­sure, and opti­mize an omnichan­nel cus­tomer expe­ri­ence that deliv­ers hyper-local­iza­tion that learns more and more as you inter­act with cus­tomers,” Brad says.

In the Mar­riott exam­ple, Brad’s response rates to emails, his clicks and likes online, and his past inter­ac­tions with Mar­riott are all part of his unique cus­tomer pro­file. Here’s a guy who trav­els a lot, who just wants to check-in and check-out of his hotel speed­i­ly so he can move right to his next meet­ing and the work at hand. Still, there might be anoth­er guest, let’s call her Sarah, who isn’t just pass­ing through hotels on the way to meet­ing cus­tomers. Instead, she loves to vis­it with her fam­i­ly, have a spa day, and go out for a night on the town. So, Mar­riott can feed Sarah mar­ket­ing offers that she cares about, such as dis­count­ed spa week­end pack­ages and restau­rant rec­om­men­da­tions. Her front-desk inter­ac­tions are sliced and diced to deliv­er her an equal­ly supe­ri­or — though dif­fer­ent — expe­ri­ence from Brad’s.

Fostering an entire ecosystem

Look­ing for spe­cial fea­tures that are cus­tom to your enter­prise? Not a prob­lem. The Adobe def­i­n­i­tion of work­ing smarter means you can adopt third-par­ty solu­tions that plug direct­ly into Adobe Cloud Plat­form. Our expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record is flex­i­ble enough to let you add to the exist­ing frame­work in case you are look­ing for more cus­tom solu­tions. Build­ing out an ecosys­tem of tech­nol­o­gy part­ners not only enables you to work smarter, it also empow­ers you to deliv­er the expe­ri­ences your spe­cif­ic cus­tomers deserve.

In a world of data and tech­nol­o­gy, an expe­ri­ence sys­tem of record is a super­hero with­out the cape. It brings peo­ple, process­es, and tech­nol­o­gy togeth­er, and helps you deliv­er the per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ences that will set you apart from your com­peti­tors and build deep, long-term rela­tion­ships with your customers.

Read more arti­cles in our Work­ing Smarter col­lec­tion.

Topics: Future of Work, customer experience, future tech, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA