It’s offi­cial. Our cus­tomers have given their seal of approval for the Adobe cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Recently, research firm For­rester released the For­rester Wave: Web Ana­lyt­ics Q2, 2014 report, and Adobe Ana­lyt­ics earned top marks from cus­tomers in three dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. In fact, Adobe Ana­lyt­ics cus­tomers gave us the high­est pos­si­ble scores.

I have the oppor­tu­nity to work closely with our cus­tomers every sin­gle day. My col­leagues and I strive to build strong rela­tion­ships with our cus­tomers, and receiv­ing such strong reviews in the recent For­rester Wave report was a val­i­da­tion of our efforts. Here’s how Mara Hartwig, Senior man­ager of tech­ni­cal Web ana­lyt­ics for the weight loss and fit­ness firm Beach­body, describes the Adobe dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cus­tomer experience:

Our com­pany relies on Adobe Ana­lyt­ics to help us under­stand exactly what is hap­pen­ing on our dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties, so that we can opti­mize the expe­ri­ence in real time, to bet­ter ser­vice our cus­tomers. I con­tinue to be impressed with Adobe’s will­ing­ness to lis­ten to my con­cerns and help the Beach­body team deliver the best pos­si­ble cus­tomer expe­ri­ence to our wide user base.”

I don’t want to use this blog just to pat our­selves on the back. Instead, I’d like to high­light some ways we incor­po­rate our cus­tomers in the devel­op­ment process by reg­u­larly com­mu­ni­cat­ing and strate­giz­ing with them.

It starts with open dia­logues with cus­tomers, from which we’re able to under­stand our cus­tomers’ needs, insights, and busi­ness pri­or­i­ties. We then use what we learn in these dia­logues to develop prod­ucts that are rel­e­vant and use­ful. Specif­i­cally, there are three ways we involve cus­tomers in the process:

1. Adobe Dig­i­tal Marketing’s Cus­tomer Advi­sory Board

Our Cus­tomer Advi­sory Board is made up of busi­ness lead­ers and lumi­nar­ies in almost every ver­ti­cal, includ­ing media and enter­tain­ment, finan­cial ser­vices, retail, auto­mo­tive, and many more. We meet quar­terly with this diverse group, and these dis­cus­sions are invalu­able for Adobe Prod­uct Man­age­ment and Development.

These forums pro­vide an oppor­tu­nity to hear directly from our cus­tomers. Dur­ing the course of meet­ing together, we often learn directly through case stud­ies about the ways our prod­ucts are being uti­lized to help mar­keters reach their goals, and we hear about the impact our prod­ucts deliver. But meet­ing with the Cus­tomer Advi­sory Board also offers an oppor­tu­nity for collaboration.

Hon­estly, this group is an exten­sion of our prod­uct team—their insights directly influ­ence how we pri­or­i­tize the way we work and help us put focus on the areas that will result in being able to bet­ter meet our cus­tomers’ needs.

Dur­ing these dis­cus­sions, the most press­ing mar­ket­ing chal­lenges are a major focus, in addi­tion to indus­try trends. Lead­ers from dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals can talk about their near-future mar­ket­ing goals. We then use that infor­ma­tion to deliver prod­ucts and fea­tures that are rel­e­vant to these busi­ness issues.

But the infor­ma­tion we gather also ensures our prod­ucts are ahead of the curve. We want to help our cus­tomers solve the prob­lems of today, of course, but also have reli­able solu­tions to the chal­lenges they’ll face down the road.

So when we’re at the draw­ing board, look­ing for the most rel­e­vant fea­tures to incor­po­rate into our prod­ucts, we use what we hear from the Cus­tomer Advi­sory Board to develop fea­tures that are rel­e­vant now—and two years down the road.

2. Monthly Cus­tomer Visits

Every month, our prod­uct man­agers are on the road work­ing directly with cus­tomers. It’s an inte­gral part of the process, and another strat­egy we use to deter­mine cus­tomer needs and goals.

These vis­its let us watch our cus­tomers in action and under­stand how Adobe prod­ucts are used in real-world busi­ness envi­ron­ments. This, in turn, ensures that Adobe prod­ucts and fea­tures have the most rel­e­vant appli­ca­tions. Fur­ther­more, a cus­tomer visit also pro­vides a chance to dis­cuss a customer’s unique chal­lenges in detail on their own turf.

Addi­tion­ally, if a cus­tomer is using a beta ver­sion of an Adobe prod­uct, these vis­its pro­vide another oppor­tu­nity to ensure that our prod­ucts, still in devel­op­ment, are rel­e­vant and fit into the work­flow. Our beta process is designed to allow our cus­tomers early access to newly imple­mented fea­tures and capa­bil­i­ties that will make it eas­ier for mar­keters and ana­lysts to do their jobs. More to come on the Adobe Beta Program.

We also sched­ule vis­its with new cus­tomers to help ensure they see impact as quickly as pos­si­ble. We under­stand that our cus­tomers rely on us to make busi­ness deci­sions every day using Adobe Ana­lyt­ics. So when some­thing comes up, we drop what we’re doing to get prob­lems remedied.

3. Adobe’s Beta Pro­gram and Adobe IdeaExchange

Adobe’s Beta Pro­gram pro­vides early access to our prod­ucts in devel­op­ment to a select set of cus­tomers. The Beta Pro­gram isn’t just about test­ing func­tion­al­ity and uncov­er­ing bugs. It is also an impor­tant yard­stick for mea­sur­ing relevance.

The Beta team pro­vides hands-on insight into how our prod­ucts fit into daily work­flow, and Beta mem­bers are often the first to tell us how we can improve the prod­ucts we’re developing.

Plus, we also let cus­tomers help us pri­or­i­tize our work with the Adobe IdeaEx­change. Essen­tially, the Exchange is a forum for our cus­tomers, enabling them to post requests for fea­tures they’d like to see in future prod­ucts. Ideas can then be voted to the top to uncover the most rel­e­vant. To date, more than 200 ideas have been imple­mented into Adobe Analytics.

Cus­tomers Come First

It was an honor to be rec­og­nized by our cus­tomers in the For­rester Wave. But the honor just goes to show how inte­gral of a role our cus­tomers play in the devel­op­ment process. We want to design and main­tain prod­ucts that match our cus­tomer needs and enable them to meet and exceed their mar­ket­ing goals. That starts with an open and con­tin­ual dia­logue with our customers.