The past few weeks have seen me blogging about the past when the term “experience business” was created, and the present, as experience businesses come of age. Today, let’s look to the future. Because the future is where I have my eyes focused after the conclusion of the best Adobe Summit we’ve ever hosted in Europe.
On day one, Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen declared that he wanted attendees to leave Adobe Summit with a “better understanding of being an experience maker—with help at every step.”
From conversations with Sky and Virgin Atlantic, through to the wise words of fashion and sports leaders such as Victoria Beckham OBE and Anthony Joshua MBE, we learned how others are taking experiences and translating them for their customers in order to build brand support, adoration and loyalty, now and into tomorrow.
It’s all very well recapping an event, but what attendees and listeners want to know is “What now?” How can I go back and put the lessons to work? To answer this, I think we need to project ourselves 20 years into the future and look at the brands we think will survive and thrive.
According to a Forrester Report being launched later this month, experience businesses secure 1.4x higher brand awareness, 1.8x stronger employee satisfaction, 1.5x larger order value, 1.8x more customer retention, 1.3x bigger return on ad spend, and 35 percent faster revenue growth rates than other brands.
Businesses can become experience businesses by starting—and ending—with the consumer and the customer journey when mapping out what they do and how they want to transform. Breaking down silos is key, as customers are everywhere at every touchpoint.
During his keynote address, Shantanu outlined the three pillars of an Experience System of Record. In my opinion, this is a great place to start, so let’s look at this in more detail.
How does a business transform into an experience business?
The first pillar in transforming into an experience business is to look at your data link: what is your data pipeline? That means all the parts of a business producing data every day. You may have multiple CRM systems and several ad servers. Connecting all this disparate data at speed in order to know your customer and respect their privacy is step one.
Pillar two transforms this data into something useful. We call this step “Semantics and Control.” The same customer may be profiled in various ways across your system. They may be a member in a loyalty system, receive email marketing, and visit your website. Despite being one customer, they appear as three different people due to the silos in your system. This needs to change.
GDPR provides challenges, but it’s also a great opportunity for marketers to lean into customer-centricity and look at privacy from a customer’s point of view. Think and design with privacy in mind while breaking down the silos that prevent stronger profiling and personalisation. Solving semantics and control is not easy with legacy systems, as this is where the majority of big customer initiatives occur daily. Don’t look at this as an overnight change—you’ll need to bake in time, patience and constant testing and learning in order to get the balance right.
The third and final pillar is where the real magic happens: Machine Learning. Ask your data scientists how they spend their time. Have them focus on creating unified profiles that capture the totality of a customer’s experience with your enterprise, based on real-time behaviour and action. The goal is more informed action by doing something meaningful with the data. Crunching numbers to produce pretty reports gets you nowhere—it’s how you put your insights into action that separates the amateurs from the pros.
The Experience System of Record is informed by data, but that data needs content, and content needs its own workflow and pipeline from brief to campaign. Machine learning can help increase content velocity by speeding areas that drag you down.
There you have it. Sounds easy, right?
Well it can be when backed by the support of our Adobe Solutions Consultants, or by looking at the various tools provided by our recently launched Adobe Experience League, a learning platform providing intelligent guidance, community connections and expert support to brands regardless of what stage in the experience business journey they are on.
Over the next few posts, the Digital Europe blog will share lessons from brands across different verticals and marketing sectors taken from Adobe Summit educational sessions. From content and design through to CRM and email marketing, we will be looking at some of the key learnings our partners, customers and consultants have picked up over the past to help you into the future.
We hope you’ll join us as we share their stories. As our musical guests from the Summit Bash, the Kaiser Chiefs say: “I Predict a Riot”. Only in our case it’s a riot for better experiences that make better brands.
Be sure to bookmark this blog, and be sure to add your thoughts in our comments.