Last Wednesday, April 28, 2021, I had the pleasure to participate in the Adobe Summit 2021 as a partner and ambassador. This summit was organized remotely for health reasons. For more than a year I have been invited to many events for big brands and I must say that this one was particularly well organized. The quality of the speakers and the technical system chosen made the event not only pleasant but also very interesting.
A great American show
As only the Americans know how to do, we attended a great show. We had stars like Serena Williams and Dan Levy, but also the whole management of Adobe (American and EMEA – Europe, Middle East and Africa). What struck me was that Adobe also does not hesitate to put forward its employees at any level. I will talk about this later when I go into detail about the conferences I attended.
The common denominator of this event was the digital transformation and how to promote the growth of companies in the era of the digital economy. So we were able to attend exciting conferences across four pillars that are:
– CMOs/CIOs – marketing and information bosses (IT, data…)
– Digital citizens
– The digital economy
– Agility in marketing
Like any self-respecting event, we were treated to several announcements.
First, Adobe introduced the first Customer Data Platform (CDP) – the real-time customer data platform – designed for first-party (i.e. post-cookie-tier) data. This platform allows brands to activate customer data (known and unknown) to manage the entire customer profile and journey seamlessly in a single system and without the use of third-party cookies.
Adobe also announced that its Adobe Experience Cloud service now offers real-time personalization to thousands of global brands (a marketing professional’s dream). Among others, Adobe mentioned its collaboration with ServiceNow, Panera Bread, The Home Depot, The Coca Cola Company, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Hilton. These brands, and many more, continue to accelerate their investments to deliver a unique, data-driven customer experience.
We also learned that more than 75% of Fortune 100 companies now use Adobe enterprise applications – something to be proud of indeed!
I had chosen to attend 7 conferences – including the keynote – as well as the sneak previews of new Adobe technologies.
The first one was on data-driven customer experience with an evocative title – the future is now. In this conference I could see how Adobe had included three essential elements of customer experience in its offerings.
– How to know and respect your customers
– How to engage with customers in an impactful way
– How to continuously learn and optimize your customer experience
We were able to see real life examples with companies like Land’s End and Verizon.
The second conference was my favorite. Disrupting Sustainability. Not only was the speaker (a member of the UN) passionate and exciting, but it was also gratifying to see that Adobe was planning an important angle in its development around sustainability and respect for resources. We were able to see the circular economy, the implication of sustainable development in the customer experience and especially this notion of culture change that companies today cannot afford to forget.
The third conference explained the 5 fundamental steps to become data-driven through concrete examples around the game. We started with a clear vision: “Gaming must be enjoyable for everyone”. So it’s essential to be data-driven to prevent gambling addiction and create an internal culture that encourages testing, learning and growth. So, we got to see the fundamental steps of transforming into a data-driven organization.
The fourth talk was about automated B2B account-based marketing. We saw how the use of Artificial Intelligence to classify customer accounts allows marketing automation. The key today is around personalization of marketing and communication. This conference explained how Adobe uses Artificial Intelligence to help professionals offer an optimized service to customers. The customer experience is strengthened and the link with the brand is enhanced.
The fifth conference was on the Adobe Experience Manager as a cloud service, the main innovations. We were able to discover the main innovations for Experience Manager proposed as a cloud service. The speakers helped us understand how with Adobe’s tools we can achieve SaaS-like agility to adapt to the ever-changing market expectations and stay on top of the latest innovations in customer experience management. A key part of this conference was understanding that Adobe’s cloud service followed these 4 rules:
– Always on
– Enabling scalability
– Always up to date
– With a high level of security
The last talk taught us how to enable customers to buy on their terms: with a real-life example of E-sign at CarMax. The nation’s leading used car retailer, CarMax sells more than 800,000 used cars each year. The company recently underwent a true omnichannel transformation of its purchasing process by leveraging Adobe Experience Manager Forms and Adobe Sign to provide customers with 100% digital documents. Customers can now complete the end-to-end purchase process on their terms: in advance or at the time of delivery, in-store or at home, or any combination that suits them. Specifically, we have seen the key elements of digital contract transformation in the automotive industry:
– Digitizing paper forms and using Experience Manager Forms as a CMS.
– Transmission of contracts to customers using Adobe Sign
– Storing and sending contracts to third parties
The speaker also gave us 5 takeaways:
1. Identify the scope and use cases
2. Solve the 4 key steps
3. Find quick wins
4. Learning and iteration
5. Adapting and improving
Then a rather unique activity was waiting for us. I have to say I have never seen it before at a conference: we participated in previews of Adobe’s new products, which were all equally innovative, disruptive and exciting. Once a year, every Adobe employee, from engineers to data scientists to UX designers to product managers, has the opportunity to share innovative ideas to evolve the way brands interact with their customers. Adobe shared the top seven projects under the leadership of Dan Levy, leveraging the latest technologies in areas such as AI and low-code applications.
I attach to this presentation of the Adobe Summit 2021 some pictures of the conferences to make you understand also the strong experience we had (we were tens of thousands of attendees and this is very impressive).
Adobe is and has always been a brand focused on the customer experience. They demonstrate through this summit the very strong place they have in today’s marketing.
I spent a very rewarding day with the speakers. I’ll see you next year for the next summit, which I hope will be in person!