Adobe pitches at first-party customer data challenge, marketing workflow with latest tech releases

Adobe Experience Cloud fresh features and tools canvass first-party data collaboration, customer journey anlaytics and optimisation, ecommerce and marketing workflow management

Customer data management, reporting and actionability was put firmly in the spotlight this week for Adobe as the vendor unveiled a new approach to its customer data platform (CDP) offering and journey analytics and first-party data sharing capabilities.

A decade on from its push into the digital marketing category, the swathe of new product and feature announcements to Adobe’s Experience Cloud announced this week extended the breadth of the platform across not only data-driven marketing orchestration, but also customer journey management, commerce and the marketing function’s operating workflow.

On the first-party customer data front, the big announcement this week is the launch of Adobe’s CDP as well as fresh B2B take on the proposition, the latter offering pre-built integrations with the Marketo Engage platform.

Adobe said its real-time CDP can be used to bring different types of first-party event and attribute data into one place including first-party Web, app and media data from interactions such as a prospect’s Web browsing activity and engagement. It’s supported by out-of-box data governance capabilities. 

The vendor said Adobe Real-time CDP is about helping brands activate known and unknown customer data to manage the entire customer profile and journey seamlessly in one system, without the need for third-party cookies. The offering taps into the growing popularity and adoption of CDPs globally, but is also being pitched as a response to the demise of the cookie.

“As consumers, we now expect personalised brand experiences while being in control of the data we share,” said Adobe executive vice-president and general manager, Digital Experience Business and Worldwide Field Operation, Anil Chakravarthy, said. “With Adobe Real-time CDP, we are partnering with brands to deliver relevant, responsive and respectful experiences through first-party data.”

Commenting on the platform, IDG research director of marketing and sales technology, Gerry Murray, said no customer experience initiative will be successful without a data infrastructure to support it.

“Customers expect brands to act as one regardless of where, when, how or with whom they interact. The only way to do that is by making customer data an enterprise service free from application and departmental silos with a solution like Adobe’s Real-time CDP,” he commented.

As a further step to support the growing necessity for marketers to embrace first-party data strategies, Adobe has also debuted Segment Match. This offering allows Adobe customers to build first-party data collaboration and exchange partnerships with each other. This is based on enriching matching first-party profiles with segment metadata for better insights and improved personalisation.

The offering uses Adobe governance tools and frameworks, is based on specific permissions between participating brands, and is pitched as a self-service brand collaboration capability in a secure, neutral environment.

As Adobe APAC product strategy and product marketing leader, Gabbi Stubbs, put it, the data collaboration and partnership opportunity across companies is vast and increasing. Figures suggest 80 per cent of data sharing strategies by 2023 including external data sources will be generating business outcomes rather than just data management functions.

“What this means is data sharing is an essential business capability,” Stubbs said during a press briefing announcing the new product enhancements. Over the course of 2020, she reported Adobe found hundreds of second-party data shares across its DMP offering, Adobe Audience Manager.

“We deem Segment Match as next-level innovation of data collaboration… and forms part of our holistic, third-party cookieless future strategy,” she said.

Based on director customer feedback, Stubbs said Segment Match solves three key challenges with respect to data collaboration: Internal collaboration; brand-to-brand opportunities and finding ways for two entities like Qantas and CBA to be able to enrich data to deliver better experiences across the customer journey; and the publisher-to-brand opportunity.   

By way of example, Adobe said an apparel retailer may partner with a jewellery brand to exchange non-sensitive segment data about their matching customers, such as the types of dresses a subset of their customers is buying so the jewellery brand can recommend accessories for those groups.

In addition, new ‘Look-alike Segments’ capability allows brands to identify additional customers who share similar attributes to their best-known customers.

Customer journey management

Customer Journey Analytics within Adobe Analytics has also been enhanced, including new intelligence capabilities around real-time insights and the ability to integrate and standardise online and offline customer data. Natively built on Adobe Experience Platform (AEP), the aim of the game is better management of customer journeys end-to-end through relevant campaigns in the moment using real-time engagement insights.

Adobe Journey Optimizer has also been natively rebuilt on the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP), a customer journey management tool that can leverage real-time customer profiling and insights from various sources to execute off across end-to-end customer experiences.

According to Adobe, it’s the first tool to pull from customer profiles and leverage information to create real-time customer interactions. The new tool will be available by end of June 2021.


On the ecommerce front, Adobe also debuted a new headless content management offering for websites, aimed at improving accessibility of content not just across websites, but elements requiring rich content such as IoT devices, apps and digital screens by using APIs. It’s also making Adobe Experience Manager Assets Essentials as the new default digital asset management tool within all Adobe Experience Cloud applications.

In addition, new ‘product recommendations’ based on Adobe’s Sensei AI engine are aimed at helping brands target and tailor recommendations to consumers on ecommerce websites running off Adobe Commerce.

Marketing Workflow

Capitalising on its acquisition of Workfront last December, Adobe has also begun the process of integrating the platform into its experience stack. As well as some specific application integrations between the two stacks, the biggest announcement this will is the debut of the ‘Marketing System of Record’. This is aimed at empowering teams from project planning to workflow management, content proofing and appraisals and reporting.

Adobe head of product marketing APAC, Jeremy Wood, said the marketing resource management offering is about bringing cross-functional teams together into one workflow solution for marketing, from campaign managers to operations leaders, executives, creative and data teams plus finance and budgeting.

“It’s a no-brainer that this is a great win for our customers, many of which are point customers already [across Adobe and Workfront],” he said. “We’re bringing cross-functional teams together so they’re not operating in silos but working in harmony across that entire field lifecycle.”


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