Marketing and Customer Experience (CX) are typically treated as separate business functions or, in some cases, poorly connected. But there is a growing effort to (effectively) conjoin these areas as organizations are discovering that these departments and processes are more successful if they work together to facilitate/promote a unified approach to the customer life cycle.
Through 2025, the establishment of CX application suites on a common platform will become the focal point of the drive to optimize customer and organization engagement.
Vendors are also taking notice of this change by developing software applications collectively organized to optimize customer interactions, experiences and profitability, all on a common platform. These suites, which are being developed by vendors with very different profiles and expertise, all have in common the goal of facilitating the management and measurement of customer behavior across multiple stages of the customer’s journey. The suites generally include components used by service teams (especially contact centers), marketing teams and back-office employees. Vendors like Adobe have been incrementally building out overarching suites that address broader components of the life cycle and unifying the customer experience.
Adobe, founded in 1982, is one of the oldest and most successful providers of software for the creation and publication of graphical content, including photography, illustration, video and print. Most well-known for its image editing software, Adobe Photoshop, it now offers many content-creation software applications under its Creative Cloud suite.
It also offers a suite of applications geared toward enterprise businesses called Adobe Experience Cloud. This platform includes capabilities such as content management, B2B and B2C digital commerce, omnichannel customer journey management, and B2B marketing.
Adobe’s acquisition of the online marketing and web analytics business Omniture in 2009 led to the development of Adobe Marketing Cloud, which launched around 2012. After a number of acquisitions as well as the addition of several (new) features, Marketing Cloud was reintroduced/renamed as Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe’s platform also contains a customer data platform (CDP) which is powered by the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) layer, Adobe Sensei. Experience Cloud is designed to help marketers orchestrate a true personalized customer experience. By targeting a “segment of one,” planners can capture a customer from lead to close and do it at scale. For example, Adobe’s recent success with Walgreens illustrates the demand for mass personalization. Walgreens was already using Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing infrastructure (which Adobe Experience Cloud is hosted on). This provided a foundation for Walgreens to build a large-scale personalization program. Using Adobe Analytics, Audience Manager and Campaign, the Walgreens creative teams obtained direct access to unified and organized assets to directly target large numbers of customers with personal messaging.
Adobe Experience Cloud is one of the main entry points for organizations to start to unify their CX initiatives. Because it is marketing-centric, it has fewer customer-communication features than other large CX suites available, focusing instead on content and analysis tools. But as experience-management tools coalesce into suites that span departments and processes, it is likely that Adobe will find itself building out more features (like AI and CDP) that touch contact centers, sales teams and other customer-facing workers.
Buyers looking for journey-management tools that embed commerce, analytics and customer data into one platform should consider whether Adobe and its platform make sense in their environments.