Adobe Marketing Cloud In-depth with Adam Justis
Here at CMS-Connected, one of the things we are always on the lookout for is to share with our audience, the thought leaders who keep shaping the tech industry with their deep insight based on a wealth of knowledge and experience. With this goal in mind and knowing that in various market research reports, Adobe has consistently been recognized as a leading vendor achieving top ratings in marketing strategy, innovation, and customer experience, our Media Reporter, Laura Myers, reached out to Adam Justis, Director of Product Marketing for the Adobe Experience Cloud at Adobe, to inquire what is behind their steady success and what the plans are to continue to maintain their edge.
Positioned Furthest for Execution and Vision in Gartner MQ
In February, Gartner’s little dots, once again wiggled around for digital marketing hubs to demonstrate to us who lost ground on their competitors, and who jumped from one category to another over the past year. Although there were a plenty of significant changes in vendors’ placement, something didn’t change as Adobe has been named a leader and placed the furthest on the completeness of vision axis for the third consecutive year. Well, it came as no surprise as Adobe has never not been a leader in any major analyst’s marketing cloud report.
During the interview, Adam explained the behind the scenes of this glorious state. According to what he said, for Adobe, the aha moment seemed to come about eight years ago when they acquired web analytics company, Omniture. What they realized at the time was that Adobe had excellent data, however, it wasn’t about data, more importantly, it was about what you can do with it. In realization of the issue, the vendor figured out how to leverage the data and what kind of application they should be adding in. As a result, the vendor, first launched their digital marketing suite, that momentum was followed by the release of Adobe Marketing Cloud. Therefore, as much as Adobe is thrilled with the recognition, they also believe that the vendor has already parlayed its leadership in that space even before Garner’s MQ for Digital Marketing Hubs started to be published. Adam explained the reason why its Marketing Cloud was well received: “Adobe has already a great reputation knowing what they are doing in the space of content, and on top of that, the platform allowed people to fuse content and insight together so not only they have insights but also they are able to take actions on those insights and have a meaningful way of delivering those compelling experiences.” He also added: “That kind of continuum helped Adobe get recognition for being able to enable our customers to satisfy their customers in the digital age.”
Not Comfortable Resting on its Laurels
As the old saying goes: “With great power comes great responsibility.” To put this into the context of the tech industry, being a leader requires constant innovation. Adobe has been significantly beefing up its products and expanding its strategic partnerships because, as Adam puts it, “Adobe is not comfortable resting on its laurels in this space.” Last month, at Adobe’s Summit, the vendor announced a new umbrella service called Adobe Experience Cloud, which is comprised of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics Cloud, and Adobe Advertising Cloud. Adam believes that successful digital marketing can make enterprises successful, too. That being said, he also encourages marketers to market beyond marketing which is only possible by delivering consistent continuous and compelling experiences.
With regard to partnership expansion, in conjunction with the release of Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe and Microsoft announced the availability of their first set of joint enterprise solutions focused on transforming customer experiences. The tightened partnership concerns Adobe Experience Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and Power BI along with the semantic data model that provides a new co-developed language for describing consumer attributes and behavior to enable easy interchange of customer profile data between applications, and has the support of MasterCard, AppDynamics, Qualtrics, Dun & Bradstreet and Zendesk.
In its report, which was published before Adobe’s new cloud release, Gartner recommended the platform to the midsize-to-large enterprise with a moderate-to-high level of operational and analytics marketing maturity looking to compete on quality of customer experience and personalization. However, through its expanded partnership with Microsoft and its enhanced cloud platform, Adobe is broadening its footprint for more roles and functions of an enterprise.
What’s been Cooking in Adobe
Adobe is working hard to maintain its edge in years to come. Adam commented on what they currently have on their agenda: “We are modernizing our data platform and re-examining our tools so that newly announced Adobe Experience Cloud can keep pace with the requirements of today’s customers.”
Although there is no timeline for when this integration will be available, we know that Sensei, Adobe's framework for machine learning and artificial intelligence, will venture into the Microsoft suite soon in an effort to provide more automated, intelligence-based business insight. The vendor is also working on the semantic data model that provides a new co-developed language for describing consumer attributes and behavior to enable easy interchange of customer profile data between applications and has the support of MasterCard, AppDynamics, Qualtrics, Dun & Bradstreet and Zendesk. In other words, the model will standardize how data is structured to accelerate the process of gaining insights from massive amounts of data. On a related note, Microsoft will be talking further about the details of this project and how to use it at its upcoming Build developer event in May.
What Makes Adobe Different
According to Adam, delivering a personalized experience is a table stake but it is not enough to be able to do it one time or to one person, as apparently you should be able to do so at scale across channels. As straightforward as it sounds, in reality, it is one of the most common struggles for many businesses. Adam claims that this is also one of the things that Adobe really excels at, its platform can bring a variety of environments together. He said: “Adobe now has the ability to allow the advertising arm of your company to take those audience segments that you have constructed based on observed behavioral data, and make those same segments available to your programmatic advice. That way, you are infusing the intelligence to the top of the tunnel, meaning that you are dramatically increasing the effectiveness of your ad spend because you are going out of the presenting advertising to the types of people that you know and you want to attract.” Since Adobe has a breadth of products like Adobe Target, Adobe Experience Manager and mobile, the platform enables users to deliver personalized experiences in the last milliseconds in real time based on the context in profile and understand not only who their audience is but also what they want.
Another differentiating ability Adam mentioned is Adobe Sensei is on top of knowing what customers have done in the past, the platform can now make some really strong predictions on what customers want next and what the next best offer is. He stresses that Adobe provides “the ability not only to have the tools delivering personalized experiences in real time but to augment and accelerate those through artificial intelligence capabilities,” He also noted: ”When you look at Adobe, we probably have over four dozen algorithms driving functionality in Adobe Experience Cloud today. That’s our differentiator.”
In my opinion, having a strong artificial intelligence framework is imperative for the leading vendors like Adobe because 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human within the next three years, according to Gartner. Knowing that Adobe is currently working on building its Sensei into Microsoft's tools in order to provide machine learning automation to improve selling, service, and marketing, the vendor stands a huge chance to receive the lion’s share in the upcoming years.
When it comes to the future of digital marketing technology, Adam couldn’t stress enough the importance of experiences: “We feel like the future of marketing tools is actual experience, the ability to not just think about handshaking with customers in the context of campaigns and advertisements but how they now drive product development, how they now drive successful customer service engagement or successful e-commerce.”
Digital marketing hubs is a little bit of an unsettled space, and the competition is cut-throat. On top of that, today’s customers have high expectations from brand interactions which drives enterprises to deliver exceptional experiences at scale not to risk losing customers to competitors. This situation also puts a lot of pressure on vendors. In recognition of these challenges, Adobe has been investing a lot of its resources into the best and quickest way to innovate and disrupt the industry. To me, Adobe has also ridden the crest of the cloud shift as the vendor executed such a smooth and successful shift for desktop software and its software development process. All these efforts and commitments to major innovation seemed to pay off through both impressive financial results and valuable industry recognitions in the end.