At the recent Adobe Sum­mit I had the oppor­tu­nity to speak with mar­keters and cre­atives, engi­neers and devel­op­ers, CMOs and CIOs from all over the globe about the oppor­tu­nity and chal­lenges they face reimag­in­ing the dig­i­tal cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and rein­vent­ing their orga­ni­za­tions to deliver on it.

It was also where we announced one of the largest and most com­pelling ver­sions of Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager to date as part of the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud. While the inno­va­tions are excit­ing on their own, they are more mean­ing­ful in the con­text of what they reveal about how cus­tomer expec­ta­tions are evolv­ing and what we each need to do to be effec­tive in build­ing a rela­tion­ship with our cus­tomers. The explo­sion of dig­i­tal devices and chan­nels is a double-edged sword. While it has given orga­ni­za­tions ever­more ways to reach cus­tomers, with­out the right skills and tech­nol­ogy, dig­i­tal can be the bar­rier that makes cus­tomer expe­ri­ences seem dis­jointed and inhuman.

With the lat­est Expe­ri­ence Man­ager, the team has taken bold steps to make it even eas­ier to use for mar­keters and devel­op­ers, as well as more pow­er­ful in the types of dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences busi­nesses can build across inter­ac­tions from cre­ative to con­tent to com­merce. All this while being mind­ful the “dig­i­tal” should never over­shadow the “cus­tomer” when it comes to a tech­nol­ogy solution.

Here is what the lat­est release reveals about today’s cus­tomers and how your orga­ni­za­tion needs to adapt to compete.

The Mono-Channel Cus­tomer is Extinct

Whether you are dri­ving the dig­i­tal strat­egy for a medium– or large-sized busi­ness, you need to care about the dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence across mul­ti­ple inter­ac­tions. Brand per­cep­tion, loy­alty and pur­chase deci­sions are made by expe­ri­ences dri­ven across web, mobile and in-person. No per­son exists whose rela­tion­ship to a com­pany is formed by only a sin­gle chan­nel. It doesn’t mean you should “peanut but­ter” your atten­tion and invest­ments across all chan­nels. But It does mean tra­di­tional bound­aries drawn between web con­tent man­age­ment, mobile devel­op­ment plat­forms, video deliv­ery capa­bil­i­ties, and social inter­ac­tions become irrel­e­vant in find­ing the best solu­tion for dri­ving dig­i­tal experiences.

In Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager, we have five dis­tinct offer­ings on a sin­gle plat­form that are crit­i­cal for mar­ket­ing and IT to man­age and deliver cus­tomer expe­ri­ences that are truly cross-channel. Each can be adopted by orga­ni­za­tions on their own—or when mul­ti­ple parts of the offer­ing are brought together—the new “Projects” capa­bil­ity enables orga­ni­za­tion around shared teams, tasks, work­flows and assets. These five offer­ings are:

  • Sites (for web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment) — Man­age all con­tent for web and mobile sites, as well as in-store and on-site expe­ri­ences. And the lat­ter rep­re­sent some of the most inno­v­a­tive things we are see­ing com­pa­nies do with Expe­ri­ence Man­ager. For exam­ple, a resort and an air­line com­pany are using Expe­ri­ence Man­ager to power resort sig­nage and in-flight screens, respec­tively, to enhance the in-person expe­ri­ence. Dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences will have an incred­i­ble impact on in-person chan­nels as com­pa­nies con­tinue to real­ize dig­i­tal is not the enemy, but rather a pow­er­ful way to make in-person expe­ri­ences even more compelling.
  • Assets (for dig­i­tal asset man­age­ment and media deliv­ery) - Host, man­age and dis­trib­ute rich dig­i­tal assets across all mar­ket­ing chan­nels. While there are many solu­tions out there for stor­ing assets, we believe that alone is not very use­ful. We’ve focused on capa­bil­i­ties that help cre­ators and mar­keters do amaz­ing things with their assets. Mar­ket­ing assets are of no value unless they actu­ally reach the intended audi­ence and make an impact. Innovations around stream­lined photo-shoot-to-site work­flows with PIM inte­gra­tion and advanced video review and deliv­ery are two of many exam­ples of how we are advanc­ing dig­i­tal asset man­age­ment and deliv­ery for our customers.
  • Com­mu­ni­ties (for social com­mu­ni­ties) — Incite and man­age user gen­er­ated con­tent on owned media. One of the most empow­er­ing chan­nels for cus­tomers is social. With all the con­nec­tions being made on third-party social chan­nels today, busi­nesses have an oppor­tu­nity to deliver social on their owned sites to deepen the con­ver­sa­tion and ulti­mately own the hub for com­mu­nity to con­gre­gate. We have not only intro­duced new fea­tures to this part of Expe­ri­ence Man­ager, but also taken the com­mu­nity mis­sion to heart. We’ve always had an active devel­oper com­mu­nity, but it has now been aug­mented with an online com­mu­nity for busi­ness and mar­ket­ing prac­ti­tion­ers, and all built with Expe­ri­ence Man­ager com­mu­ni­ties. The team launched this new online com­mu­nity at Adobe Sum­mit. It was great see­ing folks from Unit­ed­Health Group, Red­box and Lord Abbett share in-the-trenches expe­ri­ences with using Expe­ri­ence Man­ager, whether it was going mobile, test­ing out expe­ri­ences with respon­sive design or con­nect­ing with Adobe Dig­i­tal Pub­lish­ing Suite to deliver a great tablet experience.
  • Forms (for forms & doc­u­ments) — Build and man­age customer-facing web and mobile forms as well as doc­u­ments. For any­one in an indus­try rid­dled with forms and doc­u­ments and won­der­ing how you can make the expe­ri­ence of fill­ing out a form or issu­ing a doc­u­ment a great one, look no fur­ther. In this lat­est release, there’s been some seri­ous design think­ing in terms of how we can help busi­ness users cre­ate engag­ing forms and the related user expe­ri­ence on tablets and mobile devices, all while being con­sid­er­ate of accessibility.
  • Apps (for mobile appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment and man­age­ment) — Finally the newest mem­ber of the Expe­ri­ence Man­ager fam­ily. This one received quite a bit of atten­tion dur­ing a demo as part of the Day 1 gen­eral ses­sion at Sum­mit (the “Audi demo” – I’m sure those who were at the event will know what I’m refer­ring to here). Every mar­keter and busi­ness should care about mobile apps. Why? Because peo­ple are spend­ing a lot of time engag­ing with them today. A recent Adobe Dig­i­tal Index report found peo­ple on aver­age engage 3-4x longer with a mobile app than a web­site. Until now, though, mobile appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment plat­forms have worked to address half the equa­tion by focus­ing solely on devel­op­ers. We’ve focused on address­ing the needs of both mar­keters and devel­op­ers. As part of this equa­tion, mar­keters and busi­ness users who want to update and per­son­al­ize the mobile app expe­ri­ence can now do so with an easy-to-use inter­face pro­vided in Expe­ri­ence Man­ager apps to update con­tent, ana­lyt­ics and per­son­al­iza­tion options and stream­line the review process.

Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager Pow­ers Reinvention

While tech­nol­ogy is not the only piece needed for com­pa­nies and indi­vid­u­als to rein­vent them­selves, it is with­out a doubt a pow­er­ful enabler. These lat­est inno­va­tions will enable the brands, mar­keters and tech­nol­o­gists who have evolved with us over the years to not only cre­ate world-class web­sites and mobile sites, but to also reuse assets across very per­son­al­ized chan­nels. The newest offer­ing of Expe­ri­ence Man­ager apps is an exam­ple of this—a solu­tion for build­ing and updat­ing mobile apps for both mar­keters and developers.

I am never one to let the world define who we are or the full poten­tial of the kinds of dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences we can help orga­ni­za­tions cre­ate and deliver with Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager. Sim­i­larly, as the scope of Expe­ri­ence Man­ager grows to embrace mobile apps, in-person expe­ri­ences and experience-driven com­merce, see it as a plat­form you can not only use to build your brand’s rel­e­vance in the dig­i­tal age, but also to grow your own pro­fes­sional skills and impact and through which to con­tin­u­ally rein­vent yourself.

Here’s to cre­at­ing some epic expe­ri­ences in 2014! This is only the beginning.