Why Adobe Believes Digital Experiences Will Reshape Marketing

In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, Adobe is encouraging businesses to build relationships, trust and deliver meaningful experiences. But, it’s AI that looks destined to transform the entire marketing industry.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe’s CEO, has delivered his message that people buy experiences, not products to both U.S. and European audiences this year. Narayen also advised that products [aren’t the main] differentiator anymore. Companies are now competing for the hearts and minds of all customers and should aim to exceed their expectations at every point of the journey.

News that it’s less about the transaction and more about the relationship has given birth to “experience makers” who promise to bring this vision to life. Claire Cronin, the CMO of Virgin Atlantic, also waded into the experience factor by saying, “Tans fade, memories don’t.” However, the inconvenient truth is that business needs to use data to drive these experiences.

Data Privacy is Serious Business

Opinions of emerging technologies and how companies handle our personal information have radically changed in just a few months. Although this year’s summit has focused heavily on experiences, some might argue that Adobe appears to look at the world through the eyes of marketing rather than the consumer.

The elephant in the room is that we are now living in a post-Cambridge Analytica world where attitudes on both sides of the fence have evolved. It was no accident that before every keynote speech, the host advised that any data being used in their demo was fictitious. Everyone on stage and in the audience is now hyper-aware of their responsibilities around personal data.

On the one hand, consumers are demanding personalization and improved experiences with their rising expectation levels, but if a brand gets it wrong, they are deemed creepy. The responsibility of getting that balance right will leave many feeling both inspired and dejected in equal measure.

The nerves around GDPR and the hangover from recent events with Facebook will keep many treading carefully, but it should be seen as an excellent opportunity to master the art of customer centricity.

Adobe is on a mission to empower people to be creative and transform their business. But if you take your data outside of Adobe’s walled garden and into legacy solution, you could quickly run into problems.

Building Relationships and Trust is Crucial

As consumers, we are careful how much information we want to share with companies. Businesses need to understand that they need to build trust in the same way we build relationships with friends and colleagues. Nobody would ask a complete stranger a series of personal questions, so why should an online retailer?

However, we might be willing to share additional information with our favorite airline or entertainment venue if it improved our experience and there was already a relationship in place. There is no one size fits all, the consumer will determine how much or how little information they are willing to share based on the strength of their relationship.

Artificial Intelligence Will Revolutionize Marketing

The winning combination of AI and machine learning is already proving to be the most profound shift in computing we have seen for some time. While marketers have been focusing on leveraging a mobile-first age, it seems that we are now entering a new AI-powered world.

Complex workflows that have traditionally taken days or even weeks to complete will soon take minutes. The rising popularity of voice search and digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa is also changing the digital landscape. Sure, we need to question if voice control is practical or suitable in an office environment, but exploring the art of the possible will change everything.

The Rise of Voice Activation and Search

Do we need to continue clicking our mouse? Or are we finally evolving beyond touch when interacting with technology? Adobe’s vision of the future not only involves protecting and securing private data but also making the use of any solution quick and seamless. As we drift from device to device and increasingly use our voice to get what we want, technology is becoming invisible, and solutions just work.

Whether you are a rabble-rouser or wannabe experience maker, Claire Cronin, CMO, Virgin Atlantic, offered the best advice when she advised 5,000 European attendees why they need to embrace the speed of change. “It´s gonna stay and get faster. But let the customer be your compass.”

Get on the Bus, or Get Left Behind

Advances in technologies such AI, machine learning, blockchain, and voice search are coming at breakneck speed. But we also need to remember that the pace of change will never be as slow as it is today.

What will happen to businesses that failed to have an AI strategy or narrow the gap between ambition and execution? Laggards that continue to take weeks to perform tasks that their competitors can complete in minutes could quickly fall behind as a new digital marketplace continues to evolve.

Behind the numerous shiny new tech solutions and inspiring keynotes at Adobe Summits on both sides of the Atlantic, the inconvenient truth is that culture change is the most prominent barrier to providing unique customer experiences. How will businesses prepare for a business world where the relationship is more important than the transaction and the experience is more important than the product or service? Food for thought, indeed.

The Experience Business and TV on the Cloud — Adobe Summit 2017

According to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, transformation is all or nothing. You either commit to it, or you don’t achieve it. And Adobe came to Vegas to commit to the “Experience Business.”

In Las Vegas last week, IBM and Adobe both revealed where the winds are blowing their marketing clouds. The companies held nearly simultaneous summits, and each one offered a new marketing paradigm along with new capabilities that would not have been imaginable a few years ago.

This week, I’m collecting my thoughts on Adobe. Next week, I’ll talk about IBM.

The Experience Business

On top of bringing out Peyton Manning, Ryan Gosling and Penn & Teller …

Penn & Teller at Adobe Summit
I knew who I was there to see.

… Adobe announced a transformed version of its cloud.

According to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, transformation is all or nothing. You either commit to it, or you don’t achieve it. And Adobe came to Vegas to commit to the “Experience Business.”

What Adobe means is that successful businesses must be committed not to their products, culture or business processes, but to the customer experience.

According to Adobe EVP Brad Rencher, consumers have become very demanding. Connecting with them is not about the things companies are selling, but about the experiences they’re delivering.

“A great experience doesn’t just save time for your customers,” says Rencher, “it maximizes the time they spend with your brand.”

What does an experience business look like to customers?

  • Will know me and respect me.
  • Will speak in one voice.
  • Will make technology transparent and let’s the consumer dry the terms of our interaction.
  • Will delight me at every turn because it knows that today’s experience, although it wows me today, will disappoint me tomorrow.

According to Rencher, there are four imperatives for the company to be able to deliver those experiences:

  • Focus on context: Not just are they shopping, but where, when and why are they shopping? What’s the context? Tech can help deliver context at scale, but you must develop your data strategy into a context strategy in order to do that.
  • Design for speed and scale, across your company: Rethink your entire content supply chain so it can deliver exactly the right content for the context of their visit.
  • Real-time response is essential: “Milliseconds make the journey,” said Rencher. It is essential that you can respond to your customers in real-time (still at scale) in order to be able to leverage what you know about the context of their visit.
  • Put customers first: Your content and other responses should match what the customer needs regardless of contact channels or your own silos. Systems integration is key to this as channels expand. “From CEO to the newest hire, we are all responsible for the experience,” said Rencher, “and fractured technology doesn’t get you there.”

Every vendor conference has it’s share of spin, but I don’t think Adobe is off-base on this concept. The best businesses are remembered for the experiences they provide. For example, later in the conference I caught a session where Southwest said “We were always an experience business, we just happen to fly people around too.”

Adobe’s offering is designed to give you the tools to do that easier. And in order to better align their tools with those goals, they announced a new organization and several new pieces for their cloud.

Adobe Experience Cloud  … Now With TV!

The Adobe Experience Cloud and it's structure.
The Adobe Experience Cloud and it’s structure.

“Experience Cloud is where you do the work of the experience business,” said Rencher. And it’s now the name of the entire enterprise side of the Adobe cloud.

Underneath Experience Cloud, you have the enterprise Document and Creative clouds, along with Marketing Cloud, Analytics Cloud and the new Advertising Cloud.

Sensei

Within the Experience Cloud, marketers not only have access to all of those components, but also to a new AI, machine-learning digital assistant system called Sensei.

Sensei is not a single AI entity, but a category of learning, artificial intelligence tools that help marketers spot trends and anomalies, automate some marketing processes and help with the dirty work of crunching numbers and planning marketing.

Advertising Cloud

The new Advertising Cloud is probably the most exciting addition to the Adobe cloud. This tool leverages Adobe’s recent acquisition of TubeMogul’s programmatic advertising software to allow all of your media planning and buying to be integrated into one solution.

That includes both digital marketing and in-line television ads, and marks the first time I know of that TV ad buying can sit in your marketing automation platform and be accountable in the way.

To power that, Adobe is also launching its own, independent advertising network that you’ll be able to access through the app.

A Wrap

Those were my highlights of the Adobe Summit. Were you there or following along from home? Did I miss anything that impressed you? If so, let us know in the comments.

A Fount of Knowledge About Fonts

Get ready, we’re going to get a little geeky here — about fonts. Specifically, OpenType fonts and how they add so much flexibility and readability to any project. What’s even better is that you don’t need the latest designer tools or applications to add interest and impact to your work.

Get ready, we’re going to get a little geeky here — about fonts. Specifically, OpenType fonts and how they add so much flexibility and readability to any project. What’s even better is that you don’t need the latest designer tools or applications to add interest and impact to your work.

Got Microsoft Word? Get set to make everything more professional and legible, while simultaneously adding that “Wow” factor. But first, a brief history of font types:

PostScript Type 1 Fonts

Introduced by Adobe in 1984, PostScript Type 1 fonts are encoded outline font specifications used for professional digital typesetting. They were not widely recognized until Apple came out with its first LaserWriter in 1985 — which at that time had fonts residing IN the printer, using bitmap outlines on the computer in different sizes.

TrueType Fonts

After the introduction and implementation of PostScript Type 1 Fonts, Apple and Microsoft developed an outline standard in the late 1980s that has become the most common format for fonts on both Macs and PCs. This generation of fonts is referred to as TrueType Fonts. TrueType Fonts improved upon PostScript Type 1 Fonts by giving developers better control of how their fonts are displayed at all font sizes.

OpenType Fonts

And finally, OpenType Fonts were developed in the early 1990s. OpenFonts improved upon TrueType Fonts by increasing readability, facilitating different writing systems more effectively, and even adding typography tricks! (That’s the simple description. The geeky one is you’ll have more powerful typographic formatting and simpler font management, with better cross-platform support and portability.)

Of course, you knew that already, right? So check out this animated GIF below, detailing some of the features of OpenType fonts:

Play with the above Demo at Ricardo Magalhães Blog
Play with the above Demo at Ricardo Magalhães Blog
  • Ligatures: Simply stated, a ligature occurs where two or more letters are joined as a single glyph. Why use them? They help keep letters from overlapping and can really improve legibility.
  • Oldstyle and Lining Numerals: The default in almost all fonts is aligning numbers perfectly with each other, which works very well in charts, spreadsheets or anywhere math is involved. But there are some Oldstyle fonts with a default perfect for if you are just using numbers within normal text. Why care? You can now choose which number format to use in any font. Lining numbers tend to stand out in body text because they all stand tall like capital letters. Oldstyle numbers look more like upper and lower case characters, creating a more blended appearance within the text. This is one of my favorite benefits of OpenType fonts, as they improve readability and aesthetics. In an earlier post — “3 Type Facts You Don’t Know, But Should“ — I explain both ligatures and Oldstyle numbers in much more detail if you would like to learn more.
  • Contextual and Stylistic Alternatives: Think of these as accessorizing your fonts, like adding cool jewelry to your type with extra letters and swooshes.
  • Fractions: Now you can choose to use true fractions actually designed for the font, instead of squishing numbers together separated by a solidus. A definite plus for look and readability.
  • Ordinals: In the same way as fractions, ordinal characters are designed for the font rather than programmatically created, increasing legibility.

Remember, these added features are only found in OpenType fonts. This means when purchasing any new fonts, it is important to pay attention: TrueType fonts are still sold. Make sure you are buying an OpenType font.

Flaunt Your Fonts

Ready to get in touch with your inner type-geek? Study this tutorial by Magpie Paperworks first on how to turn on these extras in Microsoft Word.

Whatever the project may be, OpenType fonts could make the difference between so-so and so much more impressive.

The Adobe/Omniture Merger: What It All Means

It’s not often that the geeky world of web analytics gets some sexy news, but that was the case on Sept. 15, when content creation tool provider Adobe Systems announced its intent to acquire Omniture, the web analytics vendor, for $1.8 billion.

It’s not often that the geeky world of web analytics gets some sexy news, but that was the case on Sept. 15, when content creation tool provider Adobe Systems announced its intent to acquire Omniture, the web analytics vendor, for $1.8 billion.

The goal of the merger, according to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, is to create a holistic way to develop creative content and measure the value of that content — be it video, web pages, mobile or social media — to “close the loop” in the content creation and content measurement worlds.

With optimization capabilities embedded in Adobe’s creation tools, designers, developers and online marketers will have an integrated workflow that’ll streamline the creation and delivery of content and applications, according to an Adobe press release. The optimization capabilities also will enable advertisers and advertising agencies, publishers, and e-tailers to realize greater ROI from their digital media investments, and improve their end users’ experiences.

While mergers happen every day, this one appears to be game-changing, at least according to the myriad of comments from vendors in the space that appeared in my inbox right after the announcement was made.

Russ Mann, CEO of Covario, said the merger is “a brilliant strategic move for Adobe, one that could change the rules of the game for digital media — from creation to measurement to monetization.”

He also offered specific examples about what the Adobe media world would be like. They include the following scenarios:
• Video developers and agencies will be able to build Adobe Flash creative with Omniture tracking codes implanted from the beginning, enabling them to track the views of creative across the web.
• Web design firms and e-commerce companies can create dynamic landing pages and rich internet ads via Adobe that have tracking and multivariate testing codes via Omniture. These codes will allow marketers to create pages and new forms of user-customized content.
• PDFs could be tracked, providing valuable metrics for the creators of such content.

Blaine Mathieu, chief marketing officer of Lyris — and former executive at Adobe Systems — said the acquisition demonstrates that the online marketing space is heating up.

“While the large enterprises that Adobe and Omniture serve will have the money and experience to understand the ROI of an integrated suite,” he said, “we believe this deal will also trigger marketers in midsized businesses to better understand the value of an integrated online marketing tool set.”

What do you think it all means? How will it affect your interactive marketing programs and strategy? Let us know by posting a comment here.

The Adobe/Omniture Merger: What It All Means

It’s not often that the geeky world of web analytics gets some sexy news, but that was the case on Sept. 15, when content creation tool provider Adobe Systems announced its intent to acquire Omniture, the web analytics vendor, for $1.8 billion.

It’s not often that the geeky world of web analytics gets some sexy news, but that was the case on Sept. 15, when content creation tool provider Adobe Systems announced its intent to acquire Omniture, the web analytics vendor, for $1.8 billion.

The goal of the merger, according to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, is to create a holistic way to develop creative content and measure the value of that content — be it video, web pages, mobile or social media — to “close the loop” in the content creation and content measurement worlds.

With optimization capabilities embedded in Adobe’s creation tools, designers, developers and online marketers will have an integrated workflow that’ll streamline the creation and delivery of content and applications, according to an Adobe press release. The optimization capabilities also will enable advertisers and advertising agencies, publishers, and e-tailers to realize greater ROI from their digital media investments, and improve their end users’ experiences.

While mergers happen every day, this one appears to be game-changing, at least according to the myriad of comments from vendors in the space that appeared in my inbox right after the announcement was made.

Russ Mann, CEO of Covario, said the merger is “a brilliant strategic move for Adobe, one that could change the rules of the game for digital media — from creation to measurement to monetization.”

He also offered specific examples about what the Adobe media world would be like. They include the following scenarios:
• Video developers and agencies will be able to build Adobe Flash creative with Omniture tracking codes implanted from the beginning, enabling them to track the views of creative across the web.
• Web design firms and e-commerce companies can create dynamic landing pages and rich internet ads via Adobe that have tracking and multivariate testing codes via Omniture. These codes will allow marketers to create pages and new forms of user-customized content.
• PDFs could be tracked, providing valuable metrics for the creators of such content.

Blaine Mathieu, chief marketing officer of Lyris — and former executive at Adobe — said the acquisition demonstrates that the online marketing space is heating up.

“While the large enterprises that Adobe and Omniture serve will have the money and experience to understand the ROI of an integrated suite,” he said, “we believe this deal will also trigger marketers in midsized businesses to better understand the value of an integrated online marketing tool set.”

What do you think it all means? How will it affect your interactive marketing programs and strategy? Let us know by posting a comment here.