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Creating meaningful customer experiences must be priority for any leader

In organization after organization, digital transformation is driving business strategy and earning the full attention of executives at the highest levels.  Digital transformation will impact businesses for decades.

For many companies, most of the progress has involved transforming internal-facing systems.  Now, executives across the C-suite recognize that a focus on the customer and delivering exceptional experiences is the next and most impactful step on the transformation journey. Customer-centric business transformation is driving interest in new technology platforms. After all, as consumers become more digital, organizations get more data to analyze, resulting in a need for a fuller and more consistent understanding of the customer journey. 

Such transformative systems, built on an open platform, combine all customer data from across the enterprise in real time. This type of customer intelligence provides clarity on delivering a demonstrably better customer experience, with the ultimate goal of real-time personalization. 

Companies that prioritized and effectively managed customer experience were three times more likely than their peers to have significantly exceeded their top business goals in 2019. Additionally, 42 percent of consumers worldwide would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience.

However, the legacy technology solutions of yesterday that have traditionally supported the customer experience are not set up to delivering transformative experiences today. A new solution is needed. And the technology platform must be continuously enhanced. These capabilities may include the ability to deliver personalized recommendations, a consistent omnichannel experience, or simpler interactions.

How Adobe uses its own technology to deliver a transformative, real-time, personalized CX

The focus on delivering a real-time and personalized customer experience is the initiative that is separating successful digital brands from digital roadkill.  Deep personalization eliminates such frustrating customer experiences as receiving a discount coupon two days after buying a product in the same category. The foundation for that sort of personalization is the real-time collection of data, in the moment.

The ability to do just that has made Adobe the leader in delivering optimal customer experiences. It’s a complex process that requires collecting, unifying, and vetting data, and then analyzing it correctly. And Adobe developed Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) based on what is required to deliver real-time personalization.

Adobe’s criteria for real-time personalization include the integration of all current data, compiled in seconds, and accurately analyzed to deliver the experience of “now.” To do this, the platform must make it possible to create a unified customer profile across all aspects of the business and integrate all data sets —behavioral, transactional, financial, operational, and more— with customer information.  This is important, because data has oftentimes been inaccessible, located in siloed databases and other systems that could not be integrated. Naturally, if any data is left out of customer profiles, it isn’t possible to deliver a truly valuable, real-time CX. Adobe saw that building a comprehensive set of data about each customer would require unifying both online and offline data from across the company. And it needed its solution to have the intelligence to analyze this huge amount of data quickly and thoroughly to deliver exactly what a customer wants in the moment.

Like most companies, Adobe had silos of unique data, with each customer’s information spread among many different repositories, in different formats and with varying update cycles. Understanding the relevance of any of that data was difficult because it could not be presented in context with other data. To develop a single, comprehensive customer profile required a platform that not only had the ability to store and analyze this data, but also could support numerous data integration tools that would make it possible to put all of the customer information in one place. 

Adobe also realized that manual analysis and response could never get the job done fast enough. The platform it developed had to have intelligence and the ability to analyze the data in real time to deliver the right information or offer to the customer in the moment.

AEP addresses all these issues comprehensively and delivers the necessary features for a real-time customer experience. It can compile disparate customer information and experiences in a single repository that provides the data foundation for delivering real-time CX. It also provides insights and analytics driven by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that make it possible to deliver the right offer or experience at precisely the right time. AEP also makes it possible to activate profiles across devices using dynamic identity graphs. AEP combines the data and insights necessary to personalize the experience in the moment, the key to delivering on the promise of next generation transformational solutions.

Image Credits: Adobe

AEP also simplifies streaming data into the platform to enhance personalization. For brands striving to keep up with escalating customer demands for optimal CX, merely having customer data is insufficient; what is required is having the right data and having it when it is needed. When the integration of data into customer profiles is delayed, the brand ends up talking to the customer of two days ago, not the customer of today. AEP’s support for data streams simplifies the process and ensures that the most up-to-date information is being used to support the analytics work that make real-time CX possible. 

Another critical feature in AEP is the support of data governance within the platform.  As more customer interactions contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII), protecting that information and ensuring it is controlled is mandated.  The ability to solve governance issues within a single platform, rather than in numerous instances is a huge time savings for the IT and security teams.

The results from Adobe’s own use of AEP have been impressive. Myriad data, both online and offline, has been consolidated into a single repository, with millions of unique customer profiles. This has enabled unseen levels of customer intimacy in real time. When a customer or prospect is making a purchase on Adobe.com, Adobe knows about it within seconds. As a result, customers don’t receive call-to-action emails after they have made their purchase. AEP also lets Adobe notify its customers that they should download or use apps that they have access to but aren’t using. And Adobe has shrunk the data refresh cycle dramatically—from 72 hours to 14 seconds. There is no longer a three-day delay between when a customer takes an action and when Adobe personalizes the customer’s experience with the new information.

Adobe’s mission—to change the world through digital experiences—has never been more relevant or important to the next set of transformational solutions. More importantly, this focus has resulted in a platform with the right technologies to deliver real-time personalization capabilities, enabling next-generation CX. As organizations continue their transformation path, the ability to dramatically enhance CX is the next step for many. And real-time personalization is the most impactful transformative step that can be taken to transform the customer experience.