Real-time customer insights are more essential than ever.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to every business, including Adobe. We’re sharing the lessons we’ve learnt — like the need for real-time customer insights — in this six-part series.

The pandemic changed everything

Your customers are living in a different world than they were just a short time ago. We all are.

With COVID-19 keeping so many people home, your customers’ interactions with your business have very likely changed. And your strategy needs to change with them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to understand their behaviours in real time.

“We were fortunate we had strong relationships with our customers. This, coupled with real-time data and insights, was key to our ability to help.”

Marissa Dacay
Senior Director, Global Enterprise Marketing

Christopher Parkin headshot


Learn more about real time data

The need for deep understanding

Here at Adobe, real-time, data-driven insights are part of our DNA. So, when the coronavirus began changing the way we all live and work, we were able to dig into our data, gain insights from our customer relationships and pivot as quickly as possible.

Going into 2020, we had a product-centric strategy. But when we started closing offices in Asia and Europe and shelter-in-place orders went into effect, we flipped our strategy to focus on what our customers needed most during this time. Our industry strategy team discovered that customers needed solutions that solved for business continuity. Yet, what one industry was facing was 180 degrees different than another.

We tapped the expertise of our industry strategy team and their deep understanding of the pressures, challenges and impact of the pandemic in any given industry. They helped us reframe our messaging around how to drive business continuity and successfully emerge from the pandemic.

“Although the challenges and severity of disruption were very different across industries, we were able to quickly identify patterns for how leading companies were pivoting digital strategies to serve their customers,” says Christopher Parkin, senior director of industry strategy and marketing at Adobe. “We also recognised that there were genuine and empathetic ways that Adobe could help our customers pivot to new demands while preparing for the future.”

Christopher Parkin headshot

“We also recognised that there were genuine and empathetic ways that Adobe could help our customers pivot to new demands while preparing for the future.”

Christopher Parkin
Senior Director, Industry Strategy and Marketing, Adobe

More optics, more opportunities

Of course, not every business has a high-touch field marketing team. Many have customers who come to them through brick-and-mortar, websites, apps, call centres and in-person events. This is where real-time data is even more essential. The more detailed and up-to-the minute your customer profile is, the more you can understand which pages are seeing increased traffic, what apps would be most helpful, what they’re buying and what they’re not. Then you can provide content, products or services that are truly helpful in the midst of a pandemic.

At Adobe, we count on our data-driven operating model to provide granular insights into customer behaviours at each stage of the journey. The coronavirus has highlighted just how important that is. These insights allowed us to immediately identify opportunities and challenges and pivot quickly to develop highly relevant customer-centric experiences.

The same holds true for NASCAR. With people unable to attend live races, NASCAR had to rethink their business model to maintain some kind of continuity. They realised with more people at home and spending time on their computers, pivoting to e-sports was an ideal option. On 22 March, the first-ever eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series race was broadcast on FOX Sports. Millions tuned in, many who weren’t normal patrons of the racetrack. Fortunately, NASCAR had been building a robust digital foundation and was able to identify who these new fans were. “This foundation is going to help us to get smart about these new audiences brought in via e-sports and figure out the best way to engage them moving forward,” says Tim Clark, NASCAR chief digital officer. Both online and on track.

The more you learn, the more you can adapt

Understanding your customers during COVID-19 is essential for meeting their needs — which could be very different in the midst of a pandemic. Now is the time to ensure that you have the infrastructure in place to gain real-time, actionable insights. Because the changes you make will not only benefit you today, they’ll help you to emerge from the pandemic prepared for whatever the future brings.

Key takeaways:

Key takeaways

Remember that behaviours have changed from a few months ago and real-time data is more important than ever.

Key takeaways

Ask yourself if you have the infrastructure in place to gain these insights and if not, look at investing in one.

Key takeaways

Use your data and sales team to identify new behaviours, challenges and opportunities.

Key takeaways

Focus on new ways to add value at the moment.

Key takeaways

Understand how the coronavirus has affected different industries and regions.

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Lesson 5

Lesson 2

Agility is key when pivoting in a pandemic

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Explore other lessons online

Read each of the six lessons for adapting and advancing during a pandemic.

How customer data and our field marketing team helped us quickly pivot our strategy. Plus, how NASCAR used digital tech to understand vast new audiences when they moved their races online.

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Lesson 1: Real-time customer insights are more essential than ever

How our crisis response team created new messaging and rolled it out in just a few weeks. And how medicine marketplace 1mg sent emails to 14 million users to clarify confusion about COVID-19.

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Lesson 2: Agility is key when pivoting in a pandemic

How we stayed connected to our customers. Also, how Vitamix is using food to bring people together. And how theatre companies and orchestras are finding new ways to keep their audiences engaged.

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Lesson 3: People need human connection, especially at the moment

What we learnt from moving Adobe Summit online in just three weeks. Also, how Australia’s NSW Department of Education is using what they learnt from last year’s bush fires during COVID-19.

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Lesson 4: New ways of working can have lasting benefits

How we’re meeting the needs of our remote workforce. Also, what retailers everywhere are discovering. And how TSB Bank rethought their digital services and what they gained.

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Lesson 5: Re-Examine everything -- from strategy to structure and beyond

How we’re using our online learning community could help our customers. And how COVID-19 became the proving grounds for the US Census Bureau’s digital efforts.

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Lesson 6: We aren't going back, so accelerate digital adoption now
Ebook cover - The Reinvention of Normal


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Get the playbook as an eBook to explore all six lessons — with additional examples — in one place.

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