CDP, content velocity and customer journeys dominate Adobe's latest product enhancements

Adobe CEO says the digital economy is now personal, yet many businesses still lack the customer insights, data and platform capabilities to act on experience expectations

Ever-more unified customer profile management, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation and comprehensive marketing resource management tools dominated the list of Adobe Experience Cloud product innovations presented at this year’s Adobe Summit.

The digital marketing and experiences management vendor showcased an array of enhancements and new AI-powered capabilities this year, driven by an overarching aim to connect the data and customer journey dots seamlessly and with real-time velocity across campaigns, commerce, content and marketing workflow management. Many of the announcements also reflected efforts to better integrate the Magento and Workfront acquisitions into a more cohesive platform approach.

A year after launching its own take on a customer data platform (RT-CDP), Adobe debuted a slew of new capabilities connected through to other parts of its Experience Cloud offering and aimed at fast, flexible and trusted data connection and orchestration. The company pointed out more than 24 trillion audience segment evaluations are now being surfaced daily through its CDP offering, along with more than 1 petabyte of data processing.

Integration was the name of the game, and Adobe confirmed a fresh connection between RT-CDP and its Adobe Target platform to allow brands to activate customer insights in real-time as audience segments using digital engagement data tied to the customer’s individual profile. This can then be used to deliver personalised experience on websites as well as mobile apps.

Another integration, this time with OneTrust’s third-party consent management platform, has also been introduced to provide tools for managing personalisation using customer consent data. The two companies said a direct integration now allows RT-CDP users to ingest consent data directly into the platform, ensuring customer preferences form part of their experience approach.

A third enhancement is Real-Time CDP Connections, allowing brands to streamline data collection, enrichment and distribution with low-code implementation in order to accelerate real-time personalisation based on behavioural events. This is being achieved by tapping into Adobe’s Experience Platform (AEP) Edge Network’s geographically distributed servers.

AEP is the foundation platform underpinning the Adobe Experience Cloud and range of applications. According to the vendor, 165B edge network calls are being done per day, 99.5 per cent of which are done with <250 millisecond response times.

Yet another new integration is between the CDP and Adobe Commerce, originally Magento, this time to allow users to bring customer insights around a shopper’s browsing behaviour or purchase history to customer profiles in order to better inform shopping experiences delivered. The capability is due for release in the second half of the year.

AI enhancements through the underpinning Adobe Sensei AI engine were also peppered across different components of the Adobe Experience Cloud, from product recommendations to live search and budget forecasting and content creation. Adobe noted more than 80 per cent of its customers are already using AI features as part of their digital experiences.

Among the latest offerings are new sales opportunity predictions through Adobe’s Real-Time Customer Data Platform (CDP) for B2B teams to better focus on fresh prospects based on similar behaviour to existing buyers. This is also being extended into the Adobe Marketo Engage B2B offering later this year. Dynamic chat has also been introduced into Marketo Engage.  

In Customer Journey Analytics, the vendor has introduced new Attribution AI models that allow users to view how online and offline campaigns across end-to-end customer journeys are performing then recalibrate attribution models against ROI targets.

Marketing workflow management

Notably for marketing leaders, Adobe is also extending AI into marketing resource management. Off the back of its acquisition of workplace management vendor, Workfront, last year, Adobe is now introducing Marketing Mix Modelling, a predictive modelling capability that combines historical data with real-time insights from the Attribution AI service. This is designed to help brands analyse their marketing spend and performance across all channels.

A fresh partnership with Anaplan has also been struck, allowing marketing teams to bring Anaplan’s financial and budgeting capabilities into Adobe Workfront.

Cross-Cloud integrations were touted as a further way of assisting personalising experiences externally as well as improving internal team management during the Adobe Summit. One such enhancement is a unified workflow between Adobe Workfront, Creative Cloud Enterprise and Adobe Experience Manager Assets for end-to-end content creation and delivery. There’s also new e-signing capabilities in Workfront to digitise business process sign-off.

And tapping into the growing buzz around the metaverse, Adobe said it’s worked on new integrations across Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud such as the new Adobe Substance 3D Modeler that’s in beta, aimed at making 3D creation and sharing more accessible and powerful.  

Read more: Explainer: What is the metaverse?

Commerce improvements

In Adobe Commerce, AI is now being used to deliver product recommendations and personalisation based on shopper behaviour, product sales, product features, visual elements and wider trends. Live Search then combines real-time catalogue data with AI capabilities to personalise search results for each shopper query automatically.

Third-party partnerships came through on the payments side too, with Adobe introducing Payment Services for Adobe Commerce built on PayPal’s Commerce Platform including credit cards, debit cards and Venmo, plus cryptocurrency transaction and local payment methods support.

Another partnership touted as particularly useful for Commerce users was that with The Weather Company, an IBM Business, to bring real-time weather data into designing digital experiences on the Adobe Experience Platform. A partnership with FedEx meanwhile, gives merchants the option to enable features such as free two-day shipping, smoother returns and checkout plus post-purchase logistics intelligence.

Adobe CEO: Digital economy imperative is based on the personal

Speaking on the state of play right now, Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayan, said businesses have an imperative to redefine how they engage with customers and deliver digital experiences at unprecedented scale. He noted the digital economy is bigger than ever, with ever-more dollars being pumped into machine learning, artificial intelligence, the creator economy and Web 3.0. This is dominating business conversations and investments.

“In the past two years, we have seen a profound global shift in work, learning and entertainment,” Narayan commented. “Increasingly, we are using the digital world to do things we once only did in the physical world.

“The sheer magnitude and impact of these changes across all industries is absolutely massive. It’s not only changed people’s habits and expectations, it’s changed how we work as hybrid and remote work become the norm, and as companies shifted operations to meet customer needs.

“This goes far beyond selling online, it touched on how companies contribute to society, build and sustain trust and earn customer loyalty.”  

Narayan’s call to action now is to make the digital economy personal. “Experiences need to be in real time to deliver messages to the right customer in the right context and through the right behaviour. Customer journeys need to be seamless across numerous touchpoints and whatever channels customers connect with your brand. For end customers, that result is a satisfying experience. And for businesses, it is the imperative to action this data in milliseconds to be responsive to your customers.”

During an Australian media briefing, Adobe APAC MD, Simon Tate, said Adobe research showed 85 per cent of APAC executives expect the current pace of rapid digitisation to continue, with 59 per cent expecting to accelerate CX spend. Yet while many have had a surge in acquiring customers through digital channels over the past two years, only 25 per cent felt they had the data and insights to keep those customers.

“What that tells you is we don’t necessarily have a customer acquisition problem in this new digital-first world, we have a stickiness problem and a journey issue,” Tate said. “Customers are not staying on the journey from acquisition through to transaction, or even if they are, they’re not staying long enough for customers to monetise that customer engagement. That presents a significant problem.

“We see our [Adobe’s] role as helping understand those data points, in ensuring companies in every industry have the tools they need to really understand first-party data and to be able to not just acquire new customers, but keep them on the full journey, from content creation to optimisation, curation and all the way through to transaction. And then be able to have a repeatable engagement to keep those customers longer than a single transaction. That’s the task we have set ourselves up to fix.”  

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