Diana Lee Caplinger, Chief Administrative Officer, Consumer Technology/Head of Marketing Technology, SunTrust
There has been a significant paradigm shift in recent years. This shift is squarely focused on improving, optimizing and personalizing the client experience. Gone are the days when development teams led the charge for software and product development. Today, product development requires experience gurus with PhDs, focus groups, usability testing, and specific, real-time data. These teams need tools that allow interoperability and the timely aggregation of data.
So, what do today’s digital and marketing practitioners need?
A strong partnership for one and it comes as no surprise that digital and marketing teams rely heavily on industry partners. Just as we are committed to listening to our clients, we want our partners to listen to and understand our evolving needs. We want partners who understand innovation and make decisions to continuously improve their own offerings, so that we can enhance ours too.
We want partners that embrace collaboration and idea sharing. And finally, we need our partners to be future-minded – to constantly think ahead and anticipate our needs.
When you say the word Adobe, people often think about PDF, not necessarily product delivery tools. However, I often explain that Adobe offers more than just Photoshop and Acrobat Reader. Rather, it lays a road for marketers and technologists to be successful with digital delivery, client centricity, and asset generation. Adobe, an international multi-media and experience-focused organization, has invested millions of dollars buying companies over the past 20 years. Its commitment to innovating and listening to clients so that it can offer the best software aligns with the principles of many of its technologist and digital marketing users.
Adobe has acquired well-known companies such as Omniture, Magento and Marketo, strategically and swiftly integrating community engagement systems, analytics and content management tools as well as product capabilities including automation, campaign management and web optimization features into their Experience Cloud platform. These purchases have helped secure Adobe as a one stop shop for marketing departments and agencies. And, it’s not just about its acquisitions; what is truly powerful is how the company has learned to leverage the best of each organization, all the while, thinking ahead to what digital and marketing practitioners will need to be continually successful.
For any digital or marketing practitioner, it is well-known that conversions and click through rates are not enough to sustain profitability in this rapidly changing business environment. Companies must predict and respond appropriately to prospect and client behavior. Accurately anticipating the needs of potential and existing clients requires innovative, integrated platforms. Practitioners need partners that make research & development a top priority and that are eager to partner with other companies to embark upon Proof of Concepts (POC) and explore techniques to make engaging with clients easier, faster and more secure.
Adobe is a great example of this; it was one of the first companies to add location based capabilities to its mobile SDK and to embed AI and machine learning into each of its platforms. Analytic tagging data is quickly married with a mechanism to deliver content based upon geographic location and segmentation. The company brings value to practitioners through its partnerships as well – it has several APIs that integrate with non-Adobe solutions, allowing companies to pick and choose which products to use and connect it to existing architecture. Software users have the opportunity to identify behavioral trends, compare AI to human-generated audiences and then dissect the data to optimize campaigns. This type of innovation encourages test and learn routines and facilitate agile practices.
Practitioners appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback to their partners. Even better? A partner that creates dedicated forums for feedback and listening. Adobe’s Experience League and a Client Advisory Board (CAB) promote the sharing of desired features, pain points, and other key feedback - online sounding board for information sharing and skills sharpening. The CAB provides an ongoing chance to give direct feedback to Adobe product teams, but also for users to become better practitioners.
In my role, collaboration is invaluable – it’s great to see that principle embodied in a partner. Adobe employees work independently to drive value but also all work together to drive the ultimate client experience and meet business goals. To get that done means they have to have architects, engineers, product managers, designers, testers, developers, etc. that work quickly, fail fast, and deliver. This supports the speedy nature of their platform lifecycle. New functions are continuously added and major upgrades of the products are typically released annually.
A partner that has been on its own journey better understands its clients. Adobe has come a long way from basic, computer based drawing tools, and today is frequently leading the way for all things digital. Digital teams can effortlessly switch an image background settings, color, and treatment. Marketing can perform a search to find and re-use assets in the digital asset management repository. This reduces creation costs and campaign launch time. Using AI, marketing managers can select which text and image treatment will yield the best results. They can run multiple campaigns simultaneously based upon an audience or physical location.
Adobe has managed to continue to anticipate market needs and be in the top quadrant on research firm reports. The company listens to its clients and its clients’ clients. It fosters innovation internally and externally, and not being afraid to test and learn themselves. For technologists and digital marketers looking to continually improve and bring value to their organizations, partnerships are key—partners like Adobe are delivering the rich client centric experiences digitally upon which technologists and marketers rely upon.