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.