Digital Transformation is in our DNA
How we transformed our Creative Cloud business with a data-driven operating model.
annual page views
Adobe internal data from FY2019
2019 Creative Cloud Revenue
Up from $1.81B in FY2014
FY19 Annual Report, Q4FY16 Investor Relations Data Sheet
- Move from box software to subscription service
- Drive better customer acquisition
- Create greater customer lifetime value
- Build long-term, sustainable customer loyalty
- Established new industry-leading enterprise business in 2011
- Expanded Creative Cloud franchise by 45%*
- 11.5 billion annual visits, 61 sites, 31 languages, 30% enterprise traffic from mobile*
*Adobe, as of Q4 FY2019, Adobe internal data from FY2019
Digital transformation is a challenge that every company in the Experience Era must face. And while we think we have something to say about the topic because of the products we sell, we’ve transformed our Creative Cloud business, so we know what it takes. We’ve come a long way, moving from a distant, intermittent relationship with our customers to a 24/7, personalized interaction. As a result, we’ve consistently reaped the benefits — including happier, more engaged customers, greater recurring revenue, and much more.
As it is for any company that transforms, our success is a combination of factors. Certainly, technology is a big one — by and large, we’ve used Adobe Experience Cloud. But maybe more important is the strategy we adopted to take advantage of our technology. Digital transformation for its own sake serves little purpose, so we focus our strategy where it matters most — our customers. To do this, we've developed a rigorous data-driven operating model (we call it DDOM) that makes that possible.
Creating a single source of truth
Customer data is the lifeblood of experiences. But the way brands use data to power experiences differs from company to company. And while there may not be a single silver bullet for perfect operating models, our DDOM has been crucial to the success of our transformation.
The model outlines the different phases of the customer journey — discover, try, buy, use, and renew — which helps us structure the way we monitor the health of the business. Each phase has a specific KPI, programs, and owner, and we take all the data we collect through the business around these to establish a single source of truth.
Customer journey and KPIs in our data-driven operating model.
Watch our video to see this model in action as we use our technology to deliver a smooth, personalized customer experience from start to finish.
This model aligns all our departments, and leaders meet weekly to discuss performance and each specific KPI. Because we’ve aligned on which KPIs matter at each stage of the journey, we can more effectively take action to achieve them and measure our performance against them.
It’s a model built with customer-centricity in mind — a customer journey framework that tells us how to engage with our customers in a personal, effective way at any point in the customer journey. Essentially, it helps answer these three questions:
- How should we engage with our customers?
- How do we measure that engagement?
- How do we know if that engagement is successful or not?
With this single source of truth, everything else falls into place. And as we’ve used this DDOM, we learned three crucial lessons.
All digital, all the time
Digitizing as much of the customer journey as possible is fundamental to the success of our operating model. Digital channels allow us to move faster, scale, and better meet customer expectations. But making everything digital is also crucial because it gives the data we need for our data-driven model. As customers interact with us, they create digital signals that we can then analyze and act on. This is obviously the heart of digital transformation but focusing our efforts around the customer journey gave us the discipline we needed to make it happen.
Let the data do the driving
With a digital customer journey, we bring in a lot of data. But by focusing the model on specific and well-defined customer-centric KPIs, we are able to decide which data we really need. But this means the ability to stitch data across the entire customer journey is mission critical. Being able to gather data, segment it, build audiences, and act on those segments is the backbone of personalization. The model helps us make sense of the data around us. Otherwise, there’s no point collecting it in the first place — we’re just swimming in it.
A guiding structure
Our operating model only works if we follow it. It sounds obvious, but the key to our success with the operating model is the rigor to which we adhere to it. Having data and gleaning insights is only valuable if we have the people and processes in place to identify opportunities (with the help of artificial intelligence), to decide on (or automate) actions, and to measure those actions in a very fast cycle. And key to how these people and processes work is a single vocabulary that unifies how we plan and operate cross-functionally. We are disciplined in the way these people and processes work, which ensures that every action we take is for the customer.
From try to buy and beyond
Our data-driven operating model is key to the transformation of our consumer business.. But the tactics we use to drive our customers through their journey and meet those KPIs are every bit as important. At each step of the way, and for every interaction we have with our customers, we use Adobe Experience Cloud to carry out our vision — to craft personal experiences for each customer that deliver on what they need.
Customer acquisition for us starts with a single goal — to get prospects to create a personal profile on Adobe.com that connects their experience across products. Or what we call an Adobe ID. To drive this, we use a number of different channels — like advertising campaigns at different levels, search marketing, and social marketing campaigns — which all push traffic to Adobe.com. Then, we use our products to create content, segment messaging to new and current customers, test and optimize it across audience segments, scale and manage ad campaigns, and analyze performance.
For example, we use Adobe Advertising Cloud for search, video, and display advertising, helping us plan, buy, measure, and automate all our advertising needs. Because Advertising Cloud takes advantage of the artificial intelligence of Adobe Sensei, we can model for clicks, cost, and revenue for different budget scenarios.
At the same time, we use Adobe Audience Manager, our data management platform, to segment our messages to both new and existing customers, so we can send the right message every time. Audience Manager also allows us to use tactics like look-alike modeling to target new customers who we think will be more likely to buy.
Finally, we can tie all the data we get from Advertising Cloud and Audience Manager into Adobe Analytics. But when it comes to customer acquisition, we’re not just looking at web traffic. We’re able to put behavior on Adobe.com in context of the entire journey, from their first interaction with us to the most recent one. And of course, since Adobe.com is built on Adobe Experience Manager, we take advantage of the power of Experience Manager to deliver exactly the content new customers are looking for. A cloud native solution, Experience Manager lets us create modular, scalable content that is search-friendly and can be personalized by audience.
Try and Buy
While getting customers to our site is obviously important, getting them to stay and to buy is crucial. We can guide prospects to create an Adobe ID by carefully analyzing each customer’s behavior on Adobe.com and giving them the offers they want. For example, trials and other offers are promoted in meaningful ways at times when the customer is looking for them.
Once a prospect creates an Adobe ID, we can track their natural journey across different channels, identifying patterns, developing insights, and creating experiences that cater to a wide spectrum of their needs or interests. We then can provide targeted, personalized communications through our social, email, display, and search marketing channels, as well as through the in-product marketing and targeted content on Adobe.com. Based on a customer’s behavior, demographic, and other characteristics, we can suggest personalized content and products that will generate interest.
Here again, Experience Cloud is at work. Adobe Target gives us a powerful recommendation engine, and Adobe Campaign lets us orchestrate triggered communications across channels, using Audience Manager to define the right segments. Then, Experience Manager helps us create, manage, and deliver dynamic content to any user in a number of languages and countries. And Adobe Analytics works with all of these to measure and optimize our success at every step.
Use and Renew
As a prospect becomes a customer, we begin the important retention process. We can send content based on a customer’s behavior within the first few days, whether that content is training, inspiration, or news. And it’s always personalized for each customer, enhancing their experience.
Adobe Analytics plays a main role in retention, drawing in data from current customer behavior and gaining more information about each user. This then lets us refine our personalization efforts, using Adobe Campaign to deliver the perfect personalized message at just the right time — in both the short and long term and through a variety of channels. And we’ve even started using our new Adobe Experience Platform to help create a real-time profile that our customer success agents can use to deliver much better service.
This is just the beginning
Our transformation didn’t happen overnight. In fact, we think we’re still transforming. Because once you put your customer first, you realize that as their needs evolve, so must your business. So today, we’re taking what we’ve learned from the B2C world to the enterprise in our B2B efforts to redefine customer experience management. Our goal is to become truly B2E — business to everyone.
But our transformation isn’t over. New technologies will continue to emerge. New customer expectations will continue to evolve. But we believe that our commitment to having the right people using the right technologies with the right processes will serve us as well in the future as it has in the past.
We use Adobe Experience Cloud every day to manage our customer experiences and power our DDOM. You can too.