Experiences fuel brand growth — one journey at a time

Experiences fuel brand growth — one journey at a time

Think about the last time you bought something awesome — not just all the steps that got you to that point, but everything that happened after. Maybe you were delighted and subsequently bought more products from that brand. Or maybe, sadly, your item arrived damaged — but the brand offered great support, facilitating a seamless replacement process. In either case, you were on a journey. Your journey. As Experience Makers it’s our job to make customer journeys efficient and memorable for our customers.

And let’s face it, we’ve gotten really hung up on marketing channels. But the reality is today's consumers — whether booking a trip, purchasing groceries, or cheering on their favorite team — don’t care about channels. They just want a great experience exactly when and where they need it. They are free to hop around, taking as much time as they want to choose the path on their unique journey that feels right in the moment. We might get lucky and catch them at the right place and time with our brand-initiated campaigns, but there’s a good chance we won’t.

Transforming omnichannel engagement

Our most beloved brands are figuring out how to wow customers. They’re starting to harmonize their priority campaigns with empathetic customer engagement in the moments that matter, even anticipating customer needs to make the next step in a journey a rewarding one. However, our 2023 Digital Trends report showed that although many organizations can collect data, their ability to immediately enhance it with human insight — and then turn it into meaningful interactions — comes up short. Fifty percent of practitioners and senior executives use multiple technologies or vendors for customer experience management, all without a unifying platform.

What we need today is a connected system of engagement, with real-time access to meaningful insights, and intuitive ways for practitioners to act on them — ensuring that every interaction with your brand is personalized. This is how we’ll make it less about you and your channels, and a lot more about your customer and their journey. At Adobe, we believe the time has come for a tectonic shift in omnichannel engagement, and we’re committed to making it happen. But for this change to occur there are three things brands must do starting today:

  1. Blend campaigns with customer-initiated journeys and unify engagement across outbound, inbound, and even physical touchpoints — all in real time.
  2. Tap into automation and intelligence in the form of AI — not only when delivering a personalized experience but also when designing one.
  3. Equip practitioners with the inspiration, guidance, and best practices needed to creatively reimagine customer engagement — right within tools they use every day.

From campaigns and channels to customer-guided journeys

At Adobe Summit 2023, we announced how we’re bringing the vision of a single system of omnichannel engagement to life. It’s a true engagement hub, complete with campaign planning and ad-hoc audience composition with data federation, as well as one-to-one journey orchestration across all channels, decisioning, and personalization. This is something no other tech provider has undertaken at the necessary level of scale, let alone breadth and depth of capability.

We’re bringing two decades of market leadership in robust campaign management to Adobe Journey Optimizer to create a single system that can handle sophisticated marketing campaigns as well as real-time, individualized journey optimization. We will do this by creating a consistent experience across Adobe Campaign and Journey Optimizer and providing a path to unification for the practitioner experience.

That channel mindset — or mind trap — we fall into? Forget about it. Adobe’s new capabilities are intended to help you overcome it. We will make it easy for brands to connect email and mobile engagement execution to website experiences — all within a singular, connected frictionless customer journey. We’re bringing all the primary owned channels of engagement together, including email, mobile push, SMS, in-app, web, and even direct mail.

We’re also improving productivity and getting more value out of content by extending the content supply chain deep into all your engagement channels by connecting natively to Adobe Experience Manager Assets and Experience Fragments. With these embedded and integrated capabilities, we’ll tap into all the exciting new automated content generation features being made available in Experience Manager.

AI-powered hyper-personalization

We’ve been talking about personalization for as long as I can remember. And I often wonder, why has it remained elusive for so many brands? Paradoxically, consumers crave personalized experiences but are somewhat wary of a brand’s intentions and how data might be used to make an experience more personal. According to our 2023 Digital Trends report, only 9% of organizations take advantage of intent signals to predict and personalize the next best experience. For many brands, targeting based on historical customer data reflects their highest level of CX personalization.

I believe that the relatively slow progress most of us have made in personalization has to do with how difficult it is to achieve at scale. Regardless of promises of automation, the burden has fallen on sheer marketer muscle to make it happen. This is about to change. I believe that AI will give personalization a long overdue boost. It’s our opportunity to evolve from “because you like or bought this” personalization to true insights-powered, omnichannel personalization. In other words, hyper-personalization.

That’s why we’re announcing significant enhancements to fuel deeper and more connected personalization — all while honoring privacy, security, and consent. This includes updates to our AI-powered algorithms in the offer decisioning engine in Journey Optimizer, as well as enhancements in Adobe Target to use first-party data from Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform for richer personalization even on the next click for logged-in customers.

And here’s something marketers have been waiting for. In addition to using AI to deliver “last-mile” personalization, our goal is to make marketers’ lives easier when it comes to all the upstream work that needs to happen. We will do this by using Adobe Sensei GenAI to generate harmonious multi-modal experiences, not just copy or images. This will be integrated into our message design workflows as a helpful copilot and will produce experiences that perform well by capitalizing on insights from your prior campaign content and data. It can also be tuned to your tone of voice and include specific keywords as input parameters.

Accelerating time to value — creatively

Most marketers will agree that they’ve never been under as much pressure to deliver value to their business — and to their customers — than they are now. And while there has been tremendous and justified focus on data, marketers are challenged to find their inner creative to take on the challenge of reimagining customer journeys in the omnichannel context. But what are we doing to support our practitioners in this regard? How do they find the time? Our 2023 Digital Trends report revealed that 62% of senior executives agree their organizations have become efficient but at the cost of time or freedom to be creative and design unforgettable experiences — with 44% citing lack of time to be creative as a CX barrier.

To help address this, Journey Optimizer will now include resources to jump-start creativity when it comes to building journeys for memorable brand experiences. Users will be able to pick from a wide variety of use case playbooks supporting cross-lifecycle journeys — from welcome or onboarding to retention journeys for at-risk customers — organized by business goal, industry, and role. Whether you’re a journey manager, lifecycle marketer or product manager, you will be able to take immediate advantage of more than 30 use case playbooks built on best-practice guidelines, complete with journey maps, schemas, and visually impactful templates designed to boost time to value — not to mention make your journey practitioners the envy of their peers.

If you want to learn about more about our approach to personalizing omnichannel customer journeys, visit the Adobe Journey Optimizer page on our website.

As vice president of Adobe Experience Platform, Real-Time Customer Data Platform, and customer journey products, Sundeep leads a critical portion of Adobe's digital experience product strategy organization. He focuses on powering digital businesses across both B2B and B2C for companies of all sizes. Sundeep brings more than two decades of experience in leading strategy for digital marketing and customer journey management products, including Adobe Target, Journey Optimizer, Marketo Engage, and more. Before joining Adobe, Sundeep spent seven years as vice president of product management for Oracle Responsys. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Osmania University in India.