While delivering great customer experiences has always been important, we are now in the era where experience has become the primary differentiator for brands. According to Gartner, in 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mainly on the basis of customer experience. By 2020, it’s predicted that 85% of a customer’s relationship with a brand will not include human interaction.
What this means to all of us is that digital must be part of the design of every brand and product experience. Also, business leaders will need to arm their employees with digital tools to make those moments of human interaction evermore memorable.
Experience Business is the theme of Adobe Summit this year, and you’ll hear not only from Adobe, but our customers – including McDonald’s, Royal Bank of Scotland, Comcast and many more – about how they’re creating a personalized, compelling customer experience at every link of the relationship, from websites and mobile apps to retail environments.
2016 Annual Digital Trends Survey conducted by Adobe & eConsultancy identified the top three must-haves for organizations looking to improve customer experience. A great customer experience must be: personalized and relevant (25%), valuable (25%), and easy to understand (17%). While there are many impediments that organizations must overcome to transform into an Experience Business, one in four companies say complexity is their greatest challenge.
Adobe Experience Manager 6.2 is finally here, and addressing these must-haves to enhance the customer experience.
I’m excited to share the vision for the latest release of the entire Adobe Experience Manager solution. This is on the heels of last month’s announcement of Adobe Experience Manager’s mobile apps offering at Mobile World Congress.
Over the past three years, we have been on an aggressive journey to build out a world-class digital experience management and delivery platform from our early beginnings as a solution for web content management. Today, it is amazing to see the experiences across websites, mobile apps and IoT that companies have built with Experience Manager to grow their business in digital. Brands like MasterCard, Philips, Under Armour and MGM Resorts leverage Experience Manager to deliver more personalized, interactive and seamless experiences across all customer touch points. Innovations are even leading Experience Manager to help brands and partners reimagine in-store shopping experiences.
At the end of last year, Adobe was recognized as the only leader in the Forrester Wave for Digital Experience Platforms. And the Digital Experience Management track at Adobe Summit has become the largest and most comprehensive track at our digital marketing conference, which will be the largest customer event in Adobe’s history with a record 10,000+ attendees.
While we continue to innovate across the Experience Manager’s portfolio of offerings, Sites, Assets, Forms, Communities and Mobile, it became clear to us over the past year that, as leaders in this space, this was not enough. We could do more to help customers become successful in this experience economy. The digital transformation toward an economy where experiences are redefining how businesses compete is accelerating. Organizations need more than technology, they need the blueprints to guide them on this journey.
Here at Adobe, we have had the honor of working with world-class brands and partners on this journey of digital transformation. After examining thousands of initiatives, we noticed key patterns that separated the most successful brands from the rest of the pack in delivering great customer experience. These patterns simplified into three key components:
- Digital Foundation: Successful brands have been investing in a modern foundation for digital experience delivery that provides a seamless platform for content management, data insights and personalization.
- Content Marketing & Velocity: Top brands have been realizing that in order to deliver real-time personalized experiences, they needed to rethink the processes and technology used to create content within their organizations across creatives and marketers. They already knew what an IDC research report was able to prove; IDC found that 71% of respondents in a survey they conducted needed to create 10x more assets today to support increasing channels.
- Connected Experiences: Leading companies are thinking not only about mobile, but also what comes next in IoT. They are ensuring the customer experiences delivered on different screens and in brick-and-mortar locations are truly connected across screens and employees. I believe brands who are able to crack the code on this at scale will garner the type of customer loyalty many have bemoaned we have lost in the digital era.
The latest release of Experience Manager is all about the innovations needed to accelerate digital transformation.
I’ve met with many brands this past year across the globe. A growing number of you want a single platform that is secure, grows with your needs and is in the cloud. This enables organizations to focus on understanding their customers and delivering unique experiences instead of cobbling together a technology stack for digital marketing. And this is precisely what we’re delivering today.
Here are a couple of highlights:
- Template Editor: Templates enable brands to control the look and feel across the site. A new intuitive user interface allows site producers, instead of developers, to create new templates that allow business users to quickly author new pages with a brand consistent look and feel.
- Personalization of Targeted Offers: Experience Manager has made maintaining variations of experiences for personalization easy. With 6.2, we’ve added the ability to define an "area" that is assigned to a section of the site. This allows the rollout of personalized content across geographies or product lines and enables the teams owning that part of the site to leverage and adapt the personalized offers to their needs.
- Omni-search Experience: Makes it easy to search across everything in Experience Manager — all facets, all places, all content, including mobile or web content, digital assets, projects, and much more. Use search suggestions as you type and spellcheck to get to results faster than ever.
- Security Certifications: New compliance wins include FedRAMP, GLBA, HIPPA, ISO-27001 and SOC2.
Customer expectations continue greater levels of personalization, faster. Last year, we announced significant ways we are bringing creative and marketing workflows closer together with Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud integrations through Adobe Experience Manager. This latest release continues to relentlessly pursue this vision of a new content lifecycle for unleashing creativity in the Experience Business.
The innovations I’m highlighting here help marketers find great content they already have faster (Smart Tags), understand what images and videos are performing the best (Asset Insights), and be able to create content once and have it flow into many different forms (Fluid Content). Sourcing and delivering content quickly is also a community sport so we have easier ways for companies to share their assets with their entire business ecosystem (Brand Portal) and harness the creative energy of customer communities (Community Insights & Scoring). Here’s more information about these capabilities:
- Smart Tags (Beta)– First introduced as a Summit Sneak in 2015 with amazing audience reception, this innovation leverages deep learning technology from Adobe to tag images automatically with useful metadata, allowing for easy image discovery by marketers.
- Asset Insights: A key challenge for marketers is to truly understand what assets are performing well and being used. Asset Insights helps optimize marketing campaigns and creative spend by delivering multichannel insights based on usage and performance.
- Fluid Content: This new capability enables marketers to create text fragments that can be easily assembled into useful content that is specific to various screens and form factors.
- Brand Portal: This was one of the most popular features of our Experience Manager 6.2 beta. It offers a secure, turnkey cloud service for sharing and distributing approved brand assets to internal teams, external partners and agencies.
- Community Insights & Scoring: New community forums, blogs and calendars that enable brands to leverage user generated content to acquire and engage with their customer community, including community insights and algorithmic scoring to determine community experts.
The mobile and IoT explosion does not have to mean further fragmentation of loyalty and customer attention. We need to stop thinking of each click on a website, swipe of mobile app or visit to a store as individual events. Experience Manager, combined with the right contextual insights from Adobe Analytics and the Marketing Profile core service of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, allows brands to connect these events to deliver continuous and immersive experiences that foster deeper relationships.
Here are the highlights on how Experience Manager is connecting experiences across mobile apps, forms and in-store.
- Connected In-Store and Venue Experience: The next version of Experience Manager Screens will provide support for locations, channels and devices, as well as touch-experience across large displays, making it easy for brands to connect digital experiences with in-store and venue experiences.
- Extensibility with Experience Manager Mobile: Cordova libraries enabled in Experience Manger Mobile that allow existing or new apps to be extensible and create richer, more useful business, employee and partner mobile applications. You can read more about this here.
- Forms for Experience Manager Mobile: Easily introduce rich adaptive forms and documents to Experience Manager Mobile apps with drag-and-drop component support for forms and document-centric mobile app workflows such as for field service and B2B sales.
For our customers and partners who have been on the journey with us for many years, I want to thank you again for your trust in Adobe as a partner in making your customers happy and your business successful.
While we are still at the beginning of this exciting adventure in Digital Transformation, I feel like we are at an inflection point. We all have much passion and optimism for the road ahead, but we also have the valuable insights that have gotten us to where we are today.
By: Loni Stark
This article was written and commissioned by Adobe, and the views expressed are their own.