Posted: 4.12.17 Marketing

Insights from Adobe Experience Cloud’s Architect: Brad Rencher on How Differentiation is Achieved Through Brand Experiences

By: Adam West

The Crunch: Creating memorable customer experiences has never been more important for businesses. Machine learning and big data have paved the way for enterprise companies to better understand individual consumers and deliver personalized messaging that convert them into brand advocates. Recognizing the need for a unified pool of data across an increasingly mobile digital landscape to enable these experiences, Brad Rencher took the stage at Adobe Summit to announce the Adobe Experience Cloud. The platform brings together marketing, advertising, and analytics capabilities, leveraging the machine-learning power of Adobe Sensei to empower modern businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors.

When Brad Rencher took the stage at Adobe Summit in Las Vegas and delivered an inspired address on the importance of experience in the modern digital marketing landscape, Adobe’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing was preaching to the converted.

Adobe’s Brad Rencher is the architect behind the newly unveiled Adobe Experience Cloud, which the company expects to be a game changer.

Four years ago, approximately a third of those polled ranked customer experience as the priority to keep their companies competitive in the future. When that same question was asked this year, 9 out of 10 ranked it number one.

Last year’s Summit hit a nerve with marketers when the theme was becoming an experience business, but Adobe took it further through a series of new products. The company made key acquisitions like TubeMogul, which led to the Adobe Advertising Cloud and the company’s focus on a more complete experience.

The importance of experience has been acknowledged by digital marketers across a wide range of verticals from retail to hospitality to financial services. The next step is determining how to go about making it happen. Luckily for the record 12,000 attendees in Vegas, Brad had an answer for them when he announced the Adobe Experience Cloud.

The platform combines the power of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, Advertising Cloud, and Analytics Cloud, while leveraging the machine learning capabilities of Adobe Sensei for a comprehensive digital marketing solution.

“We are officially riding the experience business wave, and it represents the single biggest disruption that we’ve seen in enterprise infrastructure and technology in decades,” Brad said. “It is the new battleground where we will all compete for the foreseeable future.”

Calling Brad the architect of the Adobe Experience Cloud, CEO Shantanu Narayen highlighted the importance of using machine learning to enhance and accelerate creative performance by making sense of the trillions of data transactions Adobe processes.

“We believe the experience business needs a modern platform — a new central nervous system — for the enterprise, and one that sets the standard for how creative content and customer data come together to deliver these exceptional experiences,” Shantanu said.

Three Examples of Successful Companies Putting Experience First

From a consumer point of view, companies that place experience first are the ones using data to understand their customers while still placing a priority on keeping their information private. These companies always prevent a unified front, delivering relevant, timely messages that wow customers during every interaction.

To better illustrate the effect “experience companies” are having on customers, Brad took the attentive crowd in the Venetian Ballroom through examples of companies that have leveraged technology in a thoughtful way. After all, every innovation should have purpose behind it.

1. Mercedes-Benz Helps Drivers Connect With Cars Through Machine Learning

Just like smartphones, cars are becoming digital extensions of the consumers who use them. Through extensive investments in autonomous driving technology and the development of a mobile application, Mercedes-Benz is giving drivers an unparalleled automotive experience through an ecosystem of connectivity.

The Mercedes me application gives users the ability to remotely park their vehicles, provides real-time traffic information, and serves as a concierge for drivers by using machine learning to answer their questions and complete tasks like ordering concert tickets.

“In the near future, these assistants will handle up to 80% of the driving tasks,” Brad said. “Mercedes has accelerated their experience agenda and are already lapping some of the competition.”

2. Carnival Cruise Line Turns Data Into Personalization with a Wearable Device

Anyone who’s been on a cruise recently knows that for all of their over-the-top luxury, technology has lagged far behind. With limited or costly access to wifi, many smartphones aboard are rendered into glorified cameras. Without connected digital devices, it becomes difficult for large parties to stay together. Recognizing customer pain points, Carnival Cruise Line is introducing the Ocean Medallion — a small, wearable device that provides cruisers with mobile access to activity plans, keyless entry, and location services.

“For Carnival, it was about identifying an organizational catalyst to help them deliver better experiences across all of their brands, and that catalyst for Carnival was their data foundation,” Brad said. “By bringing their entire organization together and getting a common data repository, they were able to deliver a better experience to all of their guests.”

3. Domino’s Pizza Delivers a Range of Digital Ordering Methods to Customers

Not long ago, hungry people had to pick up a phone or show up at a store to order pizza from Domino’s. Recognizing a growing mobile trend, Domino’s made ordering pizza as easy as tweeting a pizza emoji to the chain.

More than 60 percent of Domino’s orders now go through its mobile application or website. Those numbers can be directly traced to the chain creating a dozen different ways to order a pizza, including ordering through Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, and sending a text message. It’s become an interactive experience that allows customers to message Domino’s employees and track their pizza’s progress, knowing precisely when it goes into and comes out of the oven.

“Domino’s isn’t finished disrupting itself,” Brad said. “It’s finding new and unique ways to improve not only the products it’s selling but the experience of ordering.”

Experience Cloud Helps Brands Live Up to Customers’ Expectations

Companies that are well underway in prioritizing customer experience have gradually turned consumers into a demanding bunch. These soaring expectations have created the need for brands to innovate and give customers what they want or risk losing their business forever.

The advantage of Adobe combining the capabilities of its Advertising Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Analytics Cloud is the agility that comes from integration. With so much disparate data, Adobe thought it was important to bring it all together under a single, integrated umbrella that also supports a well-developed partner ecosystem.

The Marketing Cloud helps users manage and deliver personalization across each interaction and device for complete customer journeys, while the newly announced Advertising Cloud was developed to better manage video and display advertisements for traditional television and other digital screens. Adobe’s Analytics Cloud uses machine learning to make sense of vast amounts of data, deriving real-time insights about customers and what strategies are ultimately leading to conversions.

The Adobe Experience Cloud was designed to give marketers a cohesive view of customers to deliver better experiences.

“Leveraging deep customer intelligence, Adobe Experience Cloud gives businesses everything they need to deliver a well-designed, personal, and consistent experience that delights customers at every touchpoint,” Brad said.

Summit is a Conversation Starter for Adobe Customers

While its latest product offerings empower businesses to deliver premium experiences, it’s important to Adobe that businesses are getting the most of the software platforms. Summit acts as an opportunity for Adobe customers to engage with company representatives and communicate needs and wishes, but meaningful conversations often happen after everyone has gone home.

“Our customer success managers’ sole job is making customers happy,” said Mathieu Hannouz, Senior Evangelist for Cross-Channel Communications, Adobe. “They call customers to talk about what happened at Summit and explain the value proposition. Maybe a customer is using 25% of the platform today. Let’s help them get to 40%.”

When Adobe’s evangelists speak to retailers, the conversation revolves around differentiation. Some retailers who possess the skills and technology to stand out still aren’t sure where to start, and Adobe’s team is available for these conversations. After all, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement when customers are happy with Adobe products and using them to thrive in their respective markets.

“Preserving the status quo is not a strategy. Transformation is all or nothing.” — Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe

Another avenue Adobe uses for feedback at Summit is the popular, Sneaks, which is a live show that features the company’s new ideas and collects feedback via Twitter to determine what observers are most excited about. The most well received ideas tend to end up on Adobe’s road maps, providing customers a chance to directly impact future product offerings.

Putting Experience at the Forefront is Paying Dividends for Brands

Adobe’s increased focus on experience isn’t just lip service. It’s become essential to ensure high customer satisfaction to remain in business. Brad summed it up during his speech on the Summit stage when he said “making experience your business is also good for business.”

And the numbers seem to back up this conclusion. According to Brad, companies that are “experience leaders” have a Net Promoter Score (NPS) 22 points higher than laggards, outpacing them by double-digit revenue growth and outperforming them on stock price performance.

“If you and your organization haven’t taken the initial steps to become experience businesses, which means having a holistic view of your customer and wowing them every single day with great experiences, you’re already falling behind the competition,” Brad said.

Modern business is already riding the experience wave. Adobe’s latest product announcements at Summit are designed to help digital marketers across every vertical differentiate their brands by enticing customers with integrated data and the beautiful design tools Adobe has long been known for.

The Vegas event is just the start to a busy schedule for Adobe, which hosts another Summit in London scheduled for May 10-11. Following the stop in England, Adobe executives continue their globetrotting with smaller, regionally focused symposiums where a message of experience business will be on tap.

About The Author

Adam West spent more than a dozen years working in print journalism and now contributes as a writer and editor for DealCrunch, among other sites. Driven by his interests in marketing, e-commerce, and online savings, Adam helps educate readers on all things retail.

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