Each year the Adobe Summit is marked on the calendars of marketing professionals, system integrators, consultants, CMO’s, and CTO’s everywhere.
The Las Vegas event attracted 12,000 attendees and the Authentic team was among them. Over the years, the Summit has also become the time and place for Adobe to announce industry-changing news. This year, they delivered again. While it’s usually true that whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, we wanted to bend the rules and share our key takeaways from this year’s event.
The Adobe Experience Cloud
One of the biggest announcements was the introduction of the Adobe Experience Cloud (AEC), a “comprehensive set of cloud services designed to give enterprises everything they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences.”
Built on the Adobe Cloud Platform, AEC includes Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics Cloud, and Adobe Advertising Cloud. It also leverages Adobe Sensei’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, and integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud and the Adobe Document Cloud. This is further evidence of their leadership in marketing technology that allows enterprises to plan, budget, create, deliver, and measure how they deliver digital experiences to the right person, at the right moment, in the right context.
At the heart of the Adobe Experience Cloud is the Marketing Cloud, which consists of Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Target, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Social, and Adobe Primetime. While each of these products have received standard upgrades and improvements, Adobe Experience Manager now boasts an improved digital asset management system that automatically synchronizes content, based on shared metadata, across Clouds to ensure that only the latest version of assets are used.
Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Analytics, which make up the Adobe Analytics Cloud, continue to add more features and capabilities as well. More importantly, as part of the Adobe Cloud Platform, they now leverage Adobe Sensei and Adobe’s new Standard Data Model to gain new insights and share them with other platforms. Additionally, as part of the ever growing collection of integrations, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Social are now available in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, enabling creative teams to publish video content across all social media channels and receive real-time insights.
New Kid on the Block
Adobe Advertising Cloud, the third piece of the Experience Cloud, claims to manage the entire advertising journey, from search to traditional linear TV.
Now available globally, the Advertising Cloud is made up of three Adobe Media Optimizer (AMO) offerings:
- A search management platform called AMO Search
- A Demand Side Platform that automates display, social, video and programmatic TV buying
- AMO Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), which ties dynamic creative optimization into the Creative Cloud
In addition to these offerings, the Adobe Advertising Cloud provides companies with transparency and visibility into their marketing costs, in one unified platform. With creative, data and measurement, and media buying all working under one roof, the Adobe Advertising Cloud works hard to deliver consistent ad experiences to audiences based on their interests and behaviors, measures the results, and adjusts where necessary. By automating the advertising campaign process, the Adobe Advertising Cloud addresses the most common marketing challenges, so you don’t have to.
Adobe + Microsoft
Several Adobe partners announced integrations with the new Experience Cloud. However, what really got our attention was Adobe’s announcement that they have partnered with Microsoft on a “set of joint solutions that integrate the Adobe Experience Cloud with Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft PowerBI.” Clearly, Adobe is trying to send a message that it doesn’t matter if you are a Java shop or a Microsoft shop -- they want you to be an Adobe Cloud shop.
Thoughts and Questions
The additions and enhancements made to Adobe’s suite of products has brought it once again to the forefront of discussion in our offices, as well as across the business software world. And for good reason. On top of being one of the market’s celebrated leaders, Adobe is clearly demonstrating thought leadership with these announcements, showing that they’re worthy of being among the frontrunners in the market. Their unveiling of Adobe Sensei’s (their AI tool) that can decide how much and where your advertising dollars should go, is a symbol of that. And yet, despite Adobe’s impressive showing, we can’t help but lament the remaining unanswered questions surrounding Adobe’s digital marketing and digital experience solutions.
Adobe remains one of the — if not the — costliest digital experience solution on the market
It starts at the licensing, goes into the implementation, and then continues with the operational aspects of the tool. It helps brands deliver world-class digital experiences, but at a world-class price.
Does your organization have a world-class digital experience budget?
Implementing the full Adobe Experience Cloud will take a lot of time
Let’s be honest, there are many instances where Adobe is the perfect tool. But, even if you can write the check, the reality is that it can take 18 months or more to implement a full solution, which is an eternity in this rapidly adapting agile marketing world where marketing priorities need to constantly shift.
Will your organization’s needs be the same in two years time?
Even the most digitally mature organizations struggle with getting everything out of the Adobe Cloud Platform and its products.
Most brands don’t fully integrate all of Adobe’s different products, with some pieces left totally untouched. That means there’s a good chance that your organization may not connect with the vision and story Adobe is sharing at Adobe Summit, and therefore, may never see a true return on your investment in the product. There are a few reasons why this happens — and in fairness to Adobe — their software is not to blame.
Some organizations may have expertise in one or two individual solutions from the Marketing Cloud, but they tend to keep these capabilities segregated. Unfortunately, it’s primarily due to a siloed organization or challenged support structure; some just aren’t ready for the way these connected solutions may disrupt their current organizational structure or model.
Bottom line: The Adobe Experience Cloud is a sophisticated platform that requires sophisticated users to realize its full capabilities.
Do you, your organization, and your digital experience partners have the level of commitment and maturity that Adobe demands?
If you answered “yes” to all three questions then you should consider yourself one of the elite organizations with the time, budget, and maturity to realize the full potential of the Adobe Experience Cloud. However, if you answered “no” to any of the three questions, there are plenty of dynamic lightweight tools out there that can deliver most of what you need. Two we often recommend are HippoCMS (now part of BloomReach) and dotCMS.
When you’re at a 12,000 person conference, you realize there are a lot of people thinking about, providing services around, buying, and using Adobe’s products. As you walk around, listen to conversations, and speak to people, it becomes obvious that not everyone knows everything about all the pieces of the Adobe Experience Platform. Remember, it’s the culmination of multiple products brought together under one offering. However, despite its complexities and lengthy implementation time, Adobe is a powerhouse. The costs, huge feature sets, and implementation time involved may not suit everyone, but they clearly suit a batch of the most elite brands on the planet.
As we move through 2017 and into 2018, we predict that Adobe will focus on analytics, machine learning, and automation features that will allow organizations to better manage when, where, and how much to spend on advertising. New opportunities for digital interactions are appearing every day and marketers need to be able to adjust quickly. Any tool that gives a marketer the ability to adapt faster than the competition will be highly sought after.
Adobe is a market-leader and has created an industry-leading suite of tools. The impact and effectiveness of some of their new products remains to be seen but they continue to demonstrate thought leadership and product innovation, and that keeps them ahead of the industry. If you’re trying to amplify your marketing capabilities in 2017 and beyond, you simply have to consider AEC as an option. But before moving forward, ask yourself this last question:
Do you have enough people and resources to commit to, and stay committed to Adobe in order to see a return on your investment?