Adobe Summit 2019 just finished, and it was such an amazing experience. As we learned, no matter how far we think we’ve gotten, there’s always innovation waiting around the corner, with new breakthroughs from brilliant minds waiting to be discovered.
At the Adobe Summit, we’re reminded year after year that we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to technological advancements. The future is clearly bright for our industry.
This year, the spotlight was on the customer. But, as we well know, this is not something particularly new. Companies across the globe struggled in the past year to take a customer-centric approach and to tailor their strategies to fit their client’s needs.
However, what IS different this year, is that the means to do so have changed. We no longer talk about shooting darts blindfolded, hoping we strike someone and magically turn them into customers. Rather, organizations have taken charge by moving the ball in their court entirely.
What this means is that every strategy, every website, every text, and every button is designed with the customer in mind. Each digital experience should be personalized and have the best user journey possible, with AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning (ML) being the drivers of these changes.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
One of the biggest themes this year is how integrating AI in every aspect of the user’s journey can help deliver the best-personalized experience.
Adobe Sensei, the powerful AI engine from Adobe (which had little practical use a year ago when it was unveiled), is starting to be implemented at the core of every major Adobe product. It is the main driver of change by interpreting, analyzing, profiling and creating personalization at a scale never seen before.
Digital transformation, a trend that started a few years back, has become a must for any company. No matter how big a company is, those who don’t adapt have very little chance of staying in business.
Digital transformation is also recently AI-powered. Businesses are integrating powerful machine learning algorithms in many areas of their operations, with a predilection to customer experience.
From personalized, targeted ads, to in-depth profiling, recommendation engines, and chatbots, AI tools are becoming part of our everyday life.
“Digital transformation starts by reimagining the entire customer journey. It’s taking them from one step to the next via a delightful experience. Most challenging of all, they had to scale the process and personalize the journey, not just for a customer, but for tens of millions of customers,” said Shantanu Narayen, President & CEO, Adobe.
Another big, upcoming trend for the next few years will be the cloud. Adobe has every solution cloud-based, and this seems to be the way the industry is heading for a while.
High mobility, ease of implementation, and infinite scalability are the main pillars of why cloud-based solutions are the future in analytics and marketing.
Cloud-powered digital transformation also enables companies to harness data at scale, and then, in turn, leverage that data and generate powerful, actionable insights.
“To solve today’s challenges, you need a modern, cloud-based big data architecture. You need key ingredients: a data pipeline, a real-time customer profile, AI and ML, and application delivery,” said Anjul Bhambhri, VP, Experience Cloud Platform Engineering, Adobe.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Adobe also extended its global partnership with LinkedIn and Microsoft, and they’ve announced an “account-based experience initiative.” Now, marketers can calibrate their accounts, and address B2B buyers directly on their LinkedIn platform, making it easier to target potential customers, according to Adobe.
“LinkedIn, with millions of decision-makers and influencers, is a goldmine. You can target all tags from Marketo into LinkedIn. With a new, shiny ABM, you can now target key personas and engage buyers across LinkedIn,” said Ajay Awatramani, Senior Director, Product, Adobe.
One of the most important factors in ensuring ABM success is cross-team coordination. To be really successful with ABM is important to get your data clean and to determine the data you need.
“Data, just like everything else, needs to have a strategy. Determine the type of data you need first and then fill in the gaps. It’s a complete strategy. You need a coordinated plan of attack with your stakeholders. As a marketer, you need to lead the charge with sales, and just divide and conquer,” according to Jessica Kao, 2018 Marketo Champion of the Year.