Here Is How To Optimise The Customer Journey With Adobe Experience Cloud

Understanding the Adobe Marketing Cloud features and benefits and their capabilities in optimising the customer journey through technology.
Published May 3, 2019
Last updated November 14, 2021

In digital marketing today there are many buzzwords, phrases and mantras that are echoed throughout thought – leadership content.

You all heard them.

Phrases like “In the right place, at the right time with the right message” and “Customer comes first” have been repeated so often that they sometimes can make you feel a bit turned off.

We know how you feel.

This is why we focus on discovering and presenting you the little-known methods you could actually use to serve the customers in an inventive way and stop worrying about the buzz.

In this article, together, we will dive into Adobe Marketing Cloud. We will discuss the platform as it is and clarify how to use it for the purpose of customer journey optimisation.

About Adobe Marketing Cloud

You probably noticed how Adobe has been the solution enterprises praise, and we are here to confirm – it’s for a good reason.

With their latest rebranding and acquisitions, Adobe has become a one-stop shop for all your marketing needs.

Adobe Marketing Cloud is in fact, just one part of a larger solution known as Adobe Experience Cloud. In 2017, the brand decided to restructure the platforms, after which it came out with three separate tools that serve different marketing needs but are still a part of one unified platform.

Now, Adobe Experience Cloud is made of Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Advertising Cloud and Adobe Analytics Cloud.

The entire solution is built on the Adobe Cloud Platform, leveraging Adobe Sensei’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.

In addition, Experience Cloud integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud.

Because of this, Adobe Experience platform is the end-to-end customer experience management (CXM) solution for marketing, advertising, analytics, and commerce across industries.

Based on Adobe’s data sources, 85% of Forbes largest tech companies use their Marketing Cloud platform including Sony, Cisco, Google, Panasonic, Samsung and Microsoft.

Considering that the main marketing opportunities that companies are aiming to leverage are – customer experience, multi-channel campaign management and big data – Adobe has proved it’s worth year after year.

According to the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report for Digital Experience Platforms and for the second year in a row, Adobe is a leader with the highest ranking for “completeness of vision.”

Additionally, for 2018. Forrester report named Adobe as a leader in the Cross-Channel Campaign Management.

So let’s see what exactly does Adobe offer when it comes to optimising the customer journey and providing a delightful customer experience.

Key Features and Benefits of Adobe Marketing Cloud

Adobe Marketing Cloud offers an integrated set of solutions that empower marketers to craft experiences that differentiate their brands, connect with customers and proactively engage them.

Each solution can function as stand-alone, integrate with each other and connect with other solutions whether with Adobe or even separate platform providers altogether.

Adobe Marketing Cloud includes the following solutions:

  • Adobe Experience Manager
  • Adobe Target
  • Adobe Campaign
  • Marketo Engage
  • Adobe Social
  • Adobe Primetime

The fundamental purpose of Adobe Marketing Cloud is to help companies manage, personalize, optimize and orchestrate campaigns and customer journeys in one place.

Adobe was consistently offering great tools for marketing automation to B2C (business to customer) companies until their acquisition of Marketo Engage happened in 2018.

Now, Adobe Marketing Cloud is even better, as Marketo is well known for B2B (business to business) marketing automation power.

Marketo offers functionalities such as Account Based Marketing, Lead Management through Mobile and Web applications, and Sales Connect – built to efficiently align the marketing and sales department.

We won’t be talking much about Marketo here, however, if you would like to know more about it, check out this article.

For the purpose of explaining the customer journey optimisation in Adobe Marketing Cloud, we will focus on the first three platforms within the Cloud, which have the widest use in the market.

Want to know more about Customer Journey Optimisation?

Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) brings your content management system (CMS) and digital asset management (DAM) together.

However, when you look deep down, the solution can be divided into further parts which include Sites, Assets, Forms, Communities and Apps/Mobile.

Adobe Experience Manager has been named as a leader in Gartner’s July 2018 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management.

As the name states, this solution is all about managing the customer experience.

In essence, Adobe Experience Manager is the pillar tool with which you can deliver irresistible cross-channel experiences powered with content across the complete customer journey.

It serves as a hybrid Content Management System (CMS) that provides smooth content administration and it’s delivery.

Think about your customer across different devices.

Any digital display that the customer is using while interacting with your company, Adobe Experience Manager is owning.

For instance, the platform allows you to easily optimise the use of your digital assets such as video, images and dynamic media in one place.

If you are using an image for one channel, AEM will format and prepare the image for your future use on multiple channels – saving you time and effort.

The efficiency of the platform is also evident in its Forms feature – an end-to-end solution – that connects your forms and communications processes, so you can give your customers a seamless journey from acquisition through retention.

One of the features that have proven impactful gives customers the option to save a partially completed form to pick up at a later time and save the information to a secure and personalised user portal.

Further on, easy management of user-generated content from blogs, forums and reviews is another strong feature you can optimise within the platform for the best customer experience.

Beyond the capabilities AEM offers, its features also support personalisation to improve the customer journey.

The features allow you to:

  • Present content based on location, device type and site history
  • Create content easily through a touch optimised user interface
  • Leverage a built-in targeting engine, which processes page requests and determines the content to display

Adobe Experience Manager Integrations

What can you do to make sure you are optimising the right features that will ensure a delightful customer journey?

Well, integration is the starting point if you want to go from crawling to running.

Adobe Experience Manager integrates with Adobe solutions seamlessly and effortlessly, allowing you to reap the rewards faster while saving cost.

Adobe CC + Adobe Experience Manager = Its native connection will empower synchronisation of creative assets and allow you to update any changes automatically, so you can get content to market faster and create the personalized experiences your customers expect.

Adobe Analytics + Adobe Experience Manager = Site optimisation and leveraging behavioural and actual profile data to measure and use for the future.

Adobe Campaign + Adobe Experience Manager = Accelerate the creation and delivery of digital content across channels. You can match the best content to the most relevant contacts – so you make more of your assets, more often.

Adobe Target

In short, Adobe Target is the personalisation engine of the Marketing Cloud

It paves the way from basic testing to targeting to true segmentation and personalisation through:

  • A/B Testing
  • Multivariate Testing
  • Targeted Recommendations
  • Automated Personalisation
  • Email Marketing Optimisation
  • Geo & Experience Targeting
  • Mobile App Optimisation

Adobe Target can be leveraged in multiple ways, from product tests on your website, emails and banners to even IoT.

For example, Sony is currently leveraging Target in its PlayStation Store on PS4.

Target is very often used as a stand-alone tool because it offers impressive benefits for marketers in the optimisation of the customer journey.

Starting from running tests and learning from them, the platform can offer valuable analytics and context that will empower you to discover deeper customer segments and the best way to target them.

Additionally, Target allows you to test elements within entire campaigns to ensure minimal risk while putting out only the most optimised experiences for your customers.

In terms of advancing your personalisation strategy to behavioural level, Target Standard Edition provides features that support:

  • Creating segments by accessing data in Adobe Experience Manager
  • Conducting rule-based targeting, A/B testing and multivariate testing
  • Delivering content and product recommendations to targeted customer segments

Most importantly, with the help of machine learning and Adobe Sensei AI, Target allows you to segment your customer bases by grouping them around attributes such as age, gender or location.

So you can adjust the content delivery as needed.

If you are using Target Premium, you will be able to share segments across your website or mobile devices.

It will give you more flexibility to update content based on seasonality, demographics or even short-term external changes.

Based on the buzz that was going around Adobe Summit in 2018, one of the most underutilized features of Adobe Target platform is Adobe Target Profile.

The feature lets you pass data to the profile which will subsequently and continuously evolve in data richness, as it recognises your customer during every interaction and from any device or browser.

The full potential of Adobe Target profile is yet to be discovered as we evolve in our goal of delivering a consistent experience for our customers.

Another feature that is still under the radar and the big players are already exploiting is Personalised Search with Adobe Target.

It can be used as a search relevancy ranking tool to optimise the discovery stage of the customer journey or by utilizing its native access to the profile data, it can empower you to provide more personalised experiences to returning customers based on the historical data you stored during previous visits.

Adobe Target Integrations

As mentioned above, Adobe Target is often used as a stand-alone tool, and still offers great benefits to marketers everywhere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t scale it up to optimise the customer journey even better than before.

Adobe Target + Adobe Analytics = Better audience segmentation.

“ Traditionally, the integration has been all about looking at your test results within your Adobe Analytics, but this integration kind of ‘flips that’. So now, it’s all about identifying audiences within your analytics suite that you want to go after and repurpose with Adobe Target.”  Brian Hawkins, Adobe Summit 2018

Adobe Target + Adobe Campaign = Better Conversions

Leveraging online behavioural data enables experiences to be personalised in real-time which improves relevance to the customer and subsequently results in better engagement. The more detailed your picture of the customer, the easier marketing attribution becomes, so you know where to spend your marketing budget for the best return.

Adobe Campaign

Adobe Campaign is the campaign management tool that is redefining the way of engagement with customers.

It has modified the design of reaching out, campaign execution and measurement by securing the consistent and relevant personalisation delivered across multiple channels.

By providing the visual orchestration of campaigns, Adobe Campaign simplifies their design and management for marketers for better efficiency and transparency.

Adobe Campaign consists of powerful features that will allow:

Integrated Customer Profile – A single view of the customer that holds the relevant data for campaign use.

Targeted Segmentation – An easy-to-use intuitive interface that helps execute effective targeting focusing on one-to-one personalisation.

Cross-Channel Campaign Orchestration – A visualisation of tightly integrated journeys across multiple channels.

Email Execution – The ability to boost delivery rate and increase engagement.

Real-Time Interaction – Ability to provide personalised one-on-one offers in real-time, for both inbound and outbound channels.

By going beyond the capabilities we can find above, we unveil its real potential measured in conversions.

When fully utilised, Adobe Campaign lets you plan, automate, track and optimise marketing communications across multiple channels and deliver superior customer experience.

As it’s making the most out of each interaction, Adobe Campaign moves organisations beyond siloed channel marketing to orchestrated customer journeys.

It can simplify your daily tasks with processes automation and performance monitoring.

Also, it provides insights into customer behaviour with actionable analytics that can drive your future campaign decisions and ultimately result in a better-optimised customer journey.

Adobe Marketing Cloud and Mercedes – Success Story

Mercedes is just one of the big names out there utilizing Adobe Marketing Cloud (along with other Adobe Solutions) for their marketing efforts.

In their example, we see a smart strategy and process automation fueled with the platform capabilities resulting in the first-class customer experience through their customer journey with the brand.

Mercedes is obviously engaging its audience across a number of different channels including Mercedes Magazine, the website and the mobile app.

Each of them has different workflows and content needs, but being able to manage them all in one place means that Mercedes can stay on brand and on message.

For their Campaign needs, Mercedes uses Experience Manager to gather all assets together in one place.

Naturally, as it happens with different campaigns needs – image content usually requires updates or revisions.

By switching through Adobe’s product, with only a few clicks Mercedes creative team can modify the selected image content in Adobe Photoshop and send it back to Adobe Experience Manager as an adjusted piece of asset.

To prepare the image for various channels it will go to, Mercedes uses “Smart-Crop” feature in the AEM.

Powered by Adobe Sensei, “Smart Crop” dynamically decides what the focal point of any image is, and the crops around to deliver that integral part of the image in different sizes.

Next step is the delivery of this image through their digital channels.

To accomplish that, they utilised the feature called “Experience Fragments”.

In essence, this feature allows you to manage all your content across all of your digital channels in one place.

By simply dragging and dropping the image into “Experience Fragments” the content is ready to go into the execution platform, which in Mercedes’s case is Adobe Target.

With a couple of further clicks, Mercedes’s creative team exports the content to Adobe Target, which makes it instantly available for their optimisation team for further execution.

Next step is working on the targeting strategy.

Again, by applying the power of Adobe Sensei intelligence and its models, Mercedes determines what’s the best content they can provide for each audience segment.

Looking at the automated segment report in Adobe Target, Mercedes uses the attributes and segmentation insight to drive their conversions higher and provide much more relevant content in the customer journey of signing up for a test drive.

In the past, to create such a unified digital marketing plan, you would need to stitch together a series of individual solutions.

Today, Adobe Marketing Cloud unifies all these tools into one integrated platform.

The platform aids segmenting and targeting customers and consequently ensures that they never forget their journey with your company.

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