What’s next for CX: Three Adobe Summit takeaways
Adobe Summit 2019 recently hosted nearly 20,000 executives from across the marketing and technology landscape, including many of the world’s leading brands, to focus on digital experience.
When I traveled to Salt Lake City to attend my first Adobe Summit five years ago with IBM iX, I was one of just 8,000 participants who contemplated the event’s theme of reinvention in the digital marketing world.
“Reinvent” was precisely the right term to describe what companies had to accomplish if they wanted to benefit from the then-burgeoning transformation of digital marketing and the delivery of the digital customer journey. It was clear then, but even more so now, that companies have to reimagine how they reach and serve customers, and the continued growth of Adobe Summit demonstrates that organizations get this.
It’s exciting to reflect on the scope of the digital marketing platform evolution and the explosion the industry has seen over the past five years. We at IBM iX recognize the success of digital experiences now lies in the customer insights a marketer can leverage—and injecting these data-driven insights into marketing platforms empowers marketers to deliver brand experiences in more individualized ways. The goal is hyper-personalization—an intense, tailored connection with customers that is consistently efficient and always compelling.
Five years ago, that level of CX might not have seemed possible to organizations, but now it is. As we look forward to the next five years, here are three key themes emerging that are shaping the future of digital experience.
1. Experience Management and Operations Continues to be a Foundational Focus
Organizations need all sorts of tools to deliver the many elements of CX and marketing: content management, data management, campaign execution and email marketing, among others. In the past, brands chose their own agency partners, and those partners in many ways decided which tools would be used to deliver CX and marketing. This led to a lot of bifurcation among solution platforms and some disharmony for companies that wanted nothing more than simplicity.
Adobe Summit 2019 further demonstrated how that multi-tool approach is being dropped in favor of a common platform for enterprise-scale digital operations, regardless of whether the enterprise is multi-branded or has separate business units. Adobe’s introduction of AEM 6.5, with its capabilities for Single Page Application (SPA) management and further progressing of their approach to experience fragments provides a more robust common platform as a singular entry point for enterprises to take advantage of broader cloud marketing capabilities in the experience management space. We met with dozens of clients who are coming around to the ethos that says organizations—regardless of size or type of brand—recognize that to successfully engage customers across all touch points, they need harmonized platforms that offer complete content and digital asset management.
The lead for one global, multi-branded CPG company who met with us put a finer point on this trend, saying: “The power we get out of our investment with Adobe is only amplified as we further adopt their toolset across the marketing cloud, as it gives us greater control over our experience operations and personalization regardless of touchpoint or the brand teams who are working to deliver it.” Which brings us to…
2. Personalization and Progressive Engagement is Starting to Fulfill its Promise
We often hear clients relaying their struggles with data. They need help aggregating, harmonizing and analyzing it all so they can benefit from the many insights buried deep within it. They have to do this if they want to deliver contextual customer experiences.
At Summit, Adobe showcased its new Adobe Experience Platform, a product that will help companies align customer data technology with customer data insights. It’s an evolution of the Enterprise Data Platform space IBM iX has been driving for our customers, and the type of platform that lets users directly access the insights that are necessary for driving a specific marketing campaign or connecting with a customer in the many stages of his or her journey with a brand.
With such a platform, the robust data insights we prepare for customers can now be viewed across organizations and immediately acted on in their never-ending endeavor to personalize customer experiences. The promise of contextualizing each customer’s experience is becoming a reality and with the ability to more effectively operate these experiences we can now help enterprises plan for and manage the growth in content their multi-channel, multi-branded, and now multi-segmented experiences can deliver. Which brings us to…
3. Multichannel Execution and Performance Optimization Will Evolve to Predictive Metrics Based on Customer Value, Not Clicks
Companies’ digital experiences shouldn’t be measured solely by click conversions. In this era of data insights, they should instead judge success through proactive metrics such as operational effectiveness and lifetime customer value. As organizations try to deepen customer relationships, some of them are moving away from traditional metrics like clicks and funnel conversions to those that measure how effectively a company is discerning customer profiles and how it can accurately place a value on each customer. These insights are predictive rather than descriptive, dictating how CX resources should be allocated.
As a passionate fan, I compare this shift in insights to the analytics shift in Major League Baseball. MLB teams now rely on advanced analytics to determine players’ current and future performances, instead of following the longtime practice of compensating players on past performance. Brands can steal a page from MLB and similarly place values on customers. If clicks and funnel conversion rates are the equivalent of old-school baseball stats like earned run average and batting average—both measurements of past performance—then new-school analytics can help companies pinpoint the future motivations and relationship stages of customers the way batted-ball data can indicate a coming breakout for the next MLB superstar.
This year’s Adobe Summit revealed the desire of many companies to join the new school and use data analytics to see how they are delivering CX, and thus determine how much they should invest in each customer. It was one of many revelations that point to another exciting five years in the race to better understand and serve customers.