Transforming the Manufacturing Value Chain

Marketing Cloud

Creating value and stronger relationships with partners, distributors, and customers

Manufacturing is no stranger to transformation — lean processes took hold in the 1970s, outsourcing defined the 1990s, and automation marked the 2000s. Now a fourth wave — Industry 4.0 — is digitizing the sector with a rise in data and computing power, analytics and business intelligence, new interfaces, and more options for transferring digital instructions to physical reality.

While Industry 4.0 promises efficiency, process effectiveness, and even a shift in value from products to data-driven services, the benefits extend far beyond manufacturing output. According to the IDC, two of the top ways manufacturers say they are applying big data and analytics to their businesses are to support sales and marketing activities, and to understand and target customers. Additionally, the desire to improve customer acquisition and retention, as well as introduce new or improved products and services, are both cited as significant initiatives driving IT investments for manufacturers.

The digital transformation inherent in Industry 4.0 allows you and other manufacturers to adjust to all business challenges — including improving the customer experience, or how you interact with distributors, partners, and customers. And this adjustment is coming none too soon. McKinsey surveyed 300 manufacturing leaders in January 2015 and found that, at that time, only 48 percent of manufacturers considered themselves ready for Industry 4.0 — but 78 percent of suppliers said they were prepared.

To meet the needs and expectations of your suppliers, distributors, partners, and customers, you must move forward with adopting a digital foundation that can not only improve production, but also add value to your entire supply and distribution chain. The technologies your business uses to organize, collect, store, and analyze data, create and publish content, and manage content across digital and offline channels is the digital foundation that will help address the sales and marketing activities needed to deliver exceptional experiences and contribute to top-line growth.

Deliver the B2C-like experience your customers expect.
For several years, B2C brands have been investing in digital marketing practices that deliver personal and relevant experiences to customers, and ultimately increase revenues. While the business models of B2C and B2B differ, the people engaged in the experiences are the same — they are using the same digital devices to explore consumer and business products, and to find ways to add value to their investments. This leaves B2B players with the need to reach out to all types of customers with better experiences — experiences that are personal, built on data and analytics, and that are fluid across all touchpoints.

Your technology foundation needs to be robust enough to deliver the right content to all of your distribution partners how and when they need it. By making their jobs easier, you’ll ultimately improve efficiency for everyone in the supply chain — a true win-win.

Managing digital assets — such as photos, video, copy, slides, etc. — with your digital foundation is a key factor in transforming how you interact with your value chain. The benefits of integration range from faster on-boarding of new distributors and customers to enhancements that improve the speed and reliability of content distribution to the ultimate customer. The more seamlessly you can engage with customers, distributors, and other partners, the faster you will realize ROI from becoming an “experience business.” According to the PwC Global Industry 4.0 survey, most companies expect digital technology investments to pay for themselves within two years.

Maxim Integrated streamlines customer engagement.
As you adopt the model of an experience business, the evolution of buyer expectations requires that you give attention to both interactions facilitated by distributors and other partners, as well as direct-to-customer engagements.

Maxim Integrated, a semiconductor manufacturer, reinvented its interactive digital experiences by transforming the company’s website. An open platform that integrated with Maxim’s existing platforms — such as SAP,, and Oracle Eloqua — as well as its product information systems was high on its list of criteria.

Now, the company has the ability to track every online interaction with any of its more than 9,000 products as site visitors are efficiently lead through an online experience that recommends solutions and helps customer audiences make fast decisions. This enables Maxim Integrated to better understand how its customers use its website, and to deliver specific content based on where each visitor is in their buying journey. Ultimately, by combining operational systems with front office tools, Maxim will be better connected with partners and customers in real time.

For Maxim Integrated, the benefits of implementing a cohesive digital platform were seen in four main areas.

“We designed our new website to help our audience make fast decisions,” says Robert Reneau, director of digital marketing at Maxim Integrated. “We wanted to improve the online experience for our customers, partners, and our internal teams looking for recommended solutions. Now, with our digital platform, we can offer our customers and partners relevant content faster.”

Focus on meeting customer expectations.
Econsultancy’s 2017 Digital Trends survey found that customer experience is the most important differentiation tool for competing in today’s global marketplace. Digital manufacturing enterprises have the resources to be focused on designing and customizing user-friendly solutions for every player in the value chain.

Implementing effective experiences across your value chain also requires an understanding of what users within your ecosystem need at every engagement point. The ability to collect and analyze data is an essential tool for anticipating what users need, and for delivering the right solution at the right time. Improving the experience for the ultimate user of your products translates into better efficiency.

For example, it’s easy to forget how important a powerful and effective search tool is in the context of a user experience. “A company has documentation for thousands of product entries, often available in multiple languages,” says Andrew Arocha, group vice president at Adobe. “If all of that documentation is digital, I can index it and make it searchable, and that ability offers tremendous gains in efficiency.”

The ability to know how to constantly improve your experiences is another benefit to a digital system that can track customer engagement. At DuPont, built-in web analytics give the marketing team download, usage, and asset statistics that they can utilize to determine what people want to see. “We have limited time and budget, and we want to focus our teams effectively and not waste time creating materials they won’t use,” explains Joanne Hewitson, global digital marketing lead at the Crop Protection Division of DuPont. This information helps them clarify their best opportunities.

Making the right tools available online, and easy-to-use, is key to ensuring that your customers get what they need from your website.

Get out of your own way.
Let’s face it, it can be challenging to replace existing systems that you have invested a lot of time and energy into building. But for manufacturers, integrating new digital solutions into their technology mix promises to improve both efficiency and competitiveness.

“Manufacturers must decide how and where to invest in new technologies, and identify which ones will drive the most benefit for their organizations,” says Deloitte’s Cotteleer. “In addition to accurately assessing their current strategic positions, successful manufacturers need a clear articulation of their business objectives, identifying where to experiment in newly emerging technology ecosystems. They need to overcome the inertia of legacy operations and develop a test-and-learn approach.”

The benefit of starting with a foundation for an improved web experience, such as implementing a robust content management system, is that it improves the productivity of your entire value chain, as well as internal groups. Content is easy to manage and access, web pages can be updated, personalized, and localized with drag-and-drop functionality, and customer groups are easily segmented and targeted. Your ROI will come from higher conversion rates, increased sales, improved distributor relationships, streamlined supply chain management, and better after-sales support.

Integrating digital solutions into manufacturing enterprises is already resulting in higher revenues and lower costs. If you’re looking for bottom line data to justify your decision, here it is: PwC interviewed 2,000 people across nine major industries and 26 countries and concluded that, over the next five years, digital integration will increase revenues by 2.9 percent per year, while reducing costs by 3.6 percent. This underscores the value manufacturers will find as they shift their focus from producing the best product at the lowest cost, to using data for valuable insights on how to deliver the best customer experience.

Enhance your distributor’s digital experience.
Improving your value chain must first benefit and engage distributors, suppliers, resellers, and all of the partners that connect you with your customers. Your digital foundation needs to be sophisticated enough to deliver content and information to all of your distribution partners how and when they need it. By making their jobs easier, you ultimately improve efficiency for everyone in the supply chain.

For example, make it easy for distributors to access the data and materials necessary to help sell and support your products. They need automated tools for functions, such as responding to questions from prospects, requests for proposals, price quotes, and technical support.

Because distributors represent your company, your system should be capable of facilitating customization based on factors such as geographic regions and vertical market segments. Distributors, just like your customers, will speak different languages and have different requirements for compliance, depending on their global location. They need localized support, customized for their end users.

Fundamentally, your digital platform needs to facilitate the development of a brand portal for all of your distribution partners, so you can empower them with the same experience business tools you would use to reach your customers directly.

By delivering the right information at the right time, and by providing localized marketing and branding assets, you’ll create better engagement with prospects and customers. This will translate into improved efficiency and higher profitability for both you and the value chain partners you work with.

Bridge online and offline worlds.
For both customers and distributors, your digital solution needs to synthesize virtual and physical business processes. What this means is that you need an extensible digital platform that can connect with everything from computer-aided design and manufacturing systems to inventory management software. An important factor in an enhanced value chain is being able to connect the dots between information, product data, and the design, shipment, and use of those products.

Eaton Corp., a power management company and Adobe customer, is using a digital platform with customized APIs that enables it to integrate partner and customer information with real-time data from its back-end production systems. This enables the company to transform a hodgepodge of website and legacy tracking systems with a single system that can access, analyze, and connect customer and production data in real time.

For one example of how Eaton’s digital platform can now facilitate the customer journey, consider — hypothetically — the experience of an engineer from a heavy equipment manufacturer who needs a hydraulic cylinder for a new product design. The engineer types “hydraulic cylinder load” into the search box and is immediately presented with an online tool for providing specifications, such as the load that will be put on the cylinder, and how quickly that load needs to be pushed or pulled. Almost instantly, Eaton matches its products with the customer’s needs, and the automated system recommends several hydraulic cylinders that meet the specifications. The system even provides CAD specs and drawings that the engineer can immediately download and test as part of the new design.

‘This is one example of how digital integration can save manufacturers and their customers enormous amounts of time,” says Bella El-Harazin, Area Vice President at Adobe. “The customer gets access to a customized solution without having to pour through specifications from different companies. And Eaton now has presented a potential customer with exactly what is needed: A specific set of hydraulics from Eaton. Instead of relying on something chosen by a purchasing manager, based on straight price competition, the engineer quickly found the perfect solution online.”

Find more value in your value chain.
By integrating your technologies into a solid digital foundation that helps you collect and analyze data, create and publish content, and manage it across digital and offline channels, you can transform how partners and customers engage with your company. Improving the value chain means using this digital foundation to maximize efficiency from the initial prospect inquiry all the way through post-sales support.

Manufacturers like Maxim Integrated and Eaton have discovered that digitally integrating business resources that are essential to operations, production, marketing, sales, and delivery improves audience engagement, and bolsters their own competitive position in the marketplace.

While the transformation process is an investment, there is significant ROI waiting for companies that cross the digital divide. Your strategic plan for improving your value chain should start with solutions that offer the biggest return on investment for your company, and for your partners and customers. In today’s marketplace, ROI directly correlates with customer experience you deliver. Make your company irreplaceable to your customers, and the profits will follow.

Learn more about how digital experiences for distributors and customers can help manufacturers improve efficiency, experiences, and growth, or read about more best practices in our #manufacturing series.

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Take TV Beyond the Living Room With a Unified, Multiscreen TV-Delivery Platform.

Marketing Cloud

In Anytown, USA, a family of four is gathering in the living room to watch some TV, but they’re not all watching the same show. Mom and son are streaming Stranger Things on Netflix, Dad is catching the fifth inning of the Cubs game on his iPad, and their ‘tween daughter is glued to this week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show on her smartphone. And, as Mom heads to the gym and the kids leave to hang out with friends, each of them expects their mobile devices to pick back up right where they left off.

The TV experience has officially left the living room. In the US, 2016 was the first year in which digital ad sales outpaced live TV advertising — and that trend is predicted to sweep the globe in 2017, with total digital ad sales possibly reaching $77.37 billion, compared to linear television’s $72.01 billion. It’s not that TV is dead; it’s just that more delivery methods have sprung to life — and they’re personalized.

New, More Personalized, Multiscreen Delivery Options
Ad dollars go where the eyes go — to personalized, over-the-top (OTT) experiences across multiple screens, giving companies like Amazon and Netflix a head start in multiscreen TV delivery. With rich user data and analytics that traditional media companies lack, they are able to recognize, understand, and act upon new viewer behaviors — such as streaming a TV show on their iPad while at the gym — as they emerge.

Using these insights and capabilities, tech companies have the digital chops to personalize every step in the multiscreen experience. The good news for other companies is that no one has mastered the personalized multiscreen experience yet. Even companies that are leading the charge into OTT territory — HBO, for instance — are learning on the fly.

Multiscreen Personalization 101
Though HBO was smart enough to launch HBO GO two years ago, they still stumble with basic multiscreen personalization today. Start watching an episode of Veep on your iPad while at the gym, and when you get home, try finishing it on Roku — the experience breaks down, leaving you searching for where you left off.

This seamless streaming experience is multiscreen personalization 101. Mastery is knowing what someone wants to watch before he does, using technology to deliver that content the moment his iPad connects to his gym’s wireless network, and once he returns home, showing him an ad for new workout clothes based on his gender before the next episode starts.

To give your viewers the content that’s just right for them — across multiple screens, wherever and whenever they want it — you need a unified technology platform with a specific combination of capabilities. Look for a platform that allows you to stream video to any device, create flexible workflows, and view detailed insights and results.

Comcast’s Recipe for Multiscreen Success
We’ve already seen success with this formula — using a unified, multiscreen, TV-delivery platform, Comcast can not only deliver new, personalized, multiscreen TV experiences quickly and easily, but also access data that allows them to understand, engage, and capitalize on unique audiences more effectively.

If you’re planning to spend millions of dollars developing original content, advertising, and new experiences, you need to see results — and with a platform that enables advanced levels of multiscreen personalization, you get them. Major media companies that use the right technology are seeing a 385 percent, five-year ROI; a 24 percent increase in engagement rates; and a 59 percent decrease in the development time required to deliver an OTT service.

The 5G Effect on Mobile Video Delivery
This is just the beginning when it comes to future possibilities for personalizing the multiscreen TV, with the very near future promising new markets and experiences. Mastering personalization delivers results now and perfectly positions you to ride to the top of the next wave in multiscreen delivery and the biggest revolution in streaming video since video went mobile — the launch of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile standard.

The 5G standard — launching in about a dozen US pilot cities this year — will secure speeds 10 to 100 times faster than typical fourth-generation (4G) connections. We’re talking user download speeds of 100 mbps!

Beyond the mind-boggling possibilities within the Internet of Things and the implications for virtual reality (VR) entertainment — both entirely new realms of media personalization — these speeds do something very specific for mobile video delivery that’s never happened before. The 5G standard unlocks the live-event experience on mobile. Picture the impact of personalized mobile ads during a livestream of mega sporting events — billions of dollars are up for grabs in that space alone.

The Future of Personalized, Multiscreen Experiences Beyond Mobile
It’s also important to remember that the future of personalized multiscreen experiences isn’t locked up in mobile. Imagine using connected TV to enable viewers to zoom in on their favorite players during the big game, to watch their favorite teams through new VR headsets, or to see augmented-reality ads spring to life as they walk down a city street equipped with 5G — you won’t have to imagine these possibilities for much longer.

Multiscreen TV is still anyone’s game to win. However, the media companies that put themselves in winning positions by establishing multiscreen TV foundations now will definitely lead the media industry into the future. With the right technology, your company can achieve results in the next five years — and you can position yourself to create what comes next.

For another perspective on making every screen a TV, check out our infographic.

The post Take TV Beyond the Living Room With a Unified, Multiscreen TV-Delivery Platform. appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.

Fluid Experiences Guide B2B Customers on Their Buying Journey

Marketing Cloud

How Technology Facilitates Personalization & Engagement

When the maintenance manager for a major metropolitan school district needs supplies for the floor cleaning equipment in use system-wide, he logs in to the manufacturer’s website and quickly places a new order from an online dashboard that facilitates purchasing and procurement across multiple channels.

This ordering ability is indicative of how B2B companies across the technology and manufacturing industries are treating information like a raw material that can be shaped and molded to create personalized customer solutions. B2B enterprises are moving beyond basic online interactions, and creating e-commerce solutions designed to deliver fluid customer experiences that transcend a single screen or platform.

“Digital disruption has fundamentally changed how buyers make purchasing decisions in every business vertical,” says Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of content and commerce at SapientRazorfish. “Today, B2B buyers now expect personalized, contextually-relevant commerce experiences at every touchpoint.”

Tenant, the manufacturer of the floor cleaning equipment, understands the need for streamlining, and has simplified online workflows and optimized the ability for customer self-service.

When a school district maintenance manager wants to place an order, rather than searching online for dozens of products, he simply imports a template of what he needs into Tennant’s web interface and, voila, 120 items populate his shopping cart. Before he is ready to checkout, he can access a pre-populated list of schools in his district where he can direct shipments . He also has the option of setting a customized re-order schedule to automatically ship supplies in the future, which helps Tenant lock in future sales for the company. The entire process optimizes efficiency for both the customer and the supplier by creating a guided transaction process that can easily be handled without the direct involvement of a sales rep.

“Creating a high-fidelity experience at every step in the B2B customer’s journey is the essence of fluidity,” explains Errol Denger, director of commerce at Adobe. “B2B companies need to deliver fluid experiences that adapt to the context of the user interaction. This requires delivering highly curated and consistent information across platforms and devices.”

Implementing Omni-Channel Solutions

The challenge is to break down traditional silos by engineering engaging, omni-channel experiences that exceed customer expectations. Differentiation in the B2B marketplace is not just about product. It requires leveraging data, knowledge, and technology in order to create a virtual crystal ball that ensures that customers receive the right information at the right moment.

The implementation of “fluidity” can be as simple as ensuring the continuity of messaging on two different social media platforms or as complex as integrating IoT technology into a device that lets a technician order a replacement part with a single click on the touchscreen of the machine he or she is servicing.

“Delivering fluid experiences requires a real-time understanding of what the customer’s problem is, and then offering a curated solution that makes it easy to solve that problem,” says Errol. “B2B companies can outmaneuver e-commerce portals by delivering across every touchpoint, which is a weakness of one-size-fits-all marketplaces.”

What’s more, a fully integrated B2B platform provides a roadmap for customer engagement by providing real-time context about who the person is that is interacting with a company’s content. That context then becomes a powerful tool for enabling highly targeted content delivery that offers customized solutions and product options.

Today’s B2B companies need a marketing platform that provides users with a rich digital buying experience that facilitates engagement and makes it easy to use. That means providing customers, sales reps, distributors, and service technicians with desktop and mobile apps that offer real-time access to marketing collateral, automated sales processes, and key sales systems that streamline purchasing and fulfillment.

While B2B legacy systems lack the functionality to deliver personalized, responsive content, new technology offers tools that can track and analyze user engagement and interaction. That integration — and the knowledge it yields — gives companies a deeper understanding of each customer, and facilitates the ability to personalize a fluid experience for every user.

Fluidity Extends Beyond Customers

Developing fluid experiences does not stop with optimization for customers, it includes improving the flow of information within a company’s operational environment, too.
One example of a fluid experience in action is an HVAC technician dispatched to repair an air conditioning unit. The tech starts the service call by scanning a 2D bar code that connects to an automated remote diagnostics tool. Once the problem is identified, the tech can access a video that provides an overview of the repair process on his or her phone. While the video is playing, a parts list is generated for the repair that the tech can later download or forward to the supplier.

A B2B company implementing fluid experiences benefits by improving its efficiency in the field. In the HVAC example, that means a faster repair process, which enables the tech to handle more jobs on any given day.

The key elements of fluid experiences include a single view of the customer — or internal end user — that allows for seamless content delivery across all devices, intelligent content that adapts to its context, and deep personalization in every digital interaction.

Single Customer View: B2B companies need a holistic, comprehensive, profile of each uniquely identifiable customer. This includes everything that the company knows about the customer, such as when and how they were last contacted, how much they spend on an average order, what they purchase, and the length and history of their relationship with the company. By extension, all of this information can then be used to forecast that customer’s potential lifetime value to the company.

Intelligent Content: Intelligent content adapts to the context in which it is being consumed. For example, suppliers will have negotiated different pricing contracts with different customers. When different customers log in to your commerce site, they can automatically receive pricing quotes consistent with their contract. Similarly, they will receive product descriptions and specifications localized to the areas where they are doing business.

Deep Personalization: Personal experience delivers on the promise that every single interaction that a customer has with a company will demonstrate that the company knows, understands, and values the customer.

A platform that integrates digital asset management and content management is a cornerstone for delivering a personalized omni-channel customer experience. “You have to ensure that you have an asset management solution that provides uniform information about your products across all channels,” says Tristan Saw, senior director, strategy & consulting at SapientRazorfish. “That means consistency in how your product and your brand is represented — no matter where the buyer touches it.”

While integrating your DAM and CMS is a must, the real magic comes from leveraging all of the information you have about a user in order to connect the dots between what a customer needs and how you can meet those needs in the most expeditious and cost-effective way for both the buyer and the seller. Water takes the form of any container you pour it into, and your information and data needs to be just as malleable in order to deliver personalized solutions for your customers.

Learn more about Razorshop B2B online or explore how Adobe is facilitating fluid B2B experiences in high tech and manufacturing.

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Is Your Marketing IP Secure?

Marketing Cloud

Your marketing team works tirelessly to present fresh, creative ideas that improve customer experience and increase your bottom-line. It’s your marketing intellectual property — your great ideas, original concepts, and novel designs — that defines who you are. Going digital has helped your business soar, but as you share documents online and off, have you thought about security?

Success demands getting campaigns to market quickly, but it also involves passing mission-critical information safely and securely. Who is reading your plans for a new product launch? Who has data on your key customers, media buys, and budget? At the end of the day, is your marketing IP secure and company compliant?

With security controls in place, you can protect your documents, data, and personal information. Whether it’s password protecting a white paper before sending it, or managing digital signatures, smart security controls ensure your Marketing IP — and thereby your overall marketing experience — is protected.

A comprehensive approach to security and compliance spans not just documents, but applications too. Here are three elements that need to be in place for maximum marketing security and suggestions for applying them:

1. Secure document sharing
Controlling who has access to your most critical documents keeps information private and confidential. But you also need to prevent anyone from making changes, printing, or altering assets without your permission. Your software should allow you to create PDF documents and apply a host of security measures, including encryption, access control, and certificate signatures.

Take advantage of these features by:

  • Defining a set of security tasks that your employees can apply without formal training or special tools.
  • Applying passwords and permissions to control access or prevent changes to any PDF document, thereby restricting printing, copying, or altering.

2. Electronic and digital signatures
With over 7 billion mobile devices worldwide, more and more applications based in the cloud, and cyber threats at an all-time high, demand has surged for simple and secure ways to sign and manage documents — like vendor contracts and non-disclosure agreements — on smartphones and tablets. Security and compliance around digital signatures lets you know exactly who is signing.

Truly secure digital signature products will:

  • Sign documents with certificate-based digital IDs from trusted service providers.
  • Request signatures from others, tracking the signing process, and archiving signed documents automatically.
  • Bring the end-to-end signing process into compliance with e-signature laws in the United States, the European Union and most industrialized nations worldwide.

3. True redaction
Redaction removes hidden information in metadata and other non-graphic objects on documents, protecting sensitive or confidential information. Be sure your software offers a set of redaction tools where the information you select is completely removed, not just masked, as is often the case.

With true redaction, you can:

  • Permanently delete both text and graphic images in a document before you distribute it.
  • Search and redact based on patterns, such as phone numbers, credit card numbers, and email addresses.

Keeping your marketing department agile enough to stay responsive to changing market demands means maintaining a digital workflow that’s safe and secure. Moving documents shouldn’t be complicated. With smart tools and digital solutions that work, Adobe Document Cloud can help you keep your most valuable assets safe and secure.

Adobe Document Cloud solutions include Adobe Sign and Acrobat DC, along with mobile and web applications, flexible APIs , and turn-key integrations. Adobe Document Cloud tools — particularly Adobe PDF — keep your most critical documents secure and compliant. Once you transform the document process, you’ll be better equipped to deliver compelling experiences, get business done faster, and compete more effectively. And, by empowering departments across your organization, you’ll increase operational efficiency, reduce risks associated with human error, and create intuitive and safe digital experiences.

Learn more about how Adobe Document Cloud can help you keep business moving while you reach your security goals.

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7 ways to personalize TV

Marketing Cloud

When TV viewers go to their favorite screen to watch a TV show, they want something good right there in front of them. They want personalized TV.

In our guide, Television Gets Personal, we share proof that consumers want personalized TV and cover several ways that media companies can successfully deliver it, helping you envision a TV experience that’s intuitive, intelligent, and interactive.

Of course, personalized TV wouldn’t be possible without data and technology. Media companies need data to understand viewers’ taste preferences. And, they need technology to infuse those preferences into an experience that delights the viewer.

If you’re a broadcaster, cable network or operator looking to infuse more personalization features into your TV service, the following seven ways are a good place to start.

1. User data – Get the most accurate and complete data on your users by keeping information such as their name, age, gender, location, and previously shared preferences in a customer database. The more accurate and complete this data is, the better it can inform your segmentation. Then, you can anonymize the data and use it for segmentation with a data management platform such as Adobe Audience Manager.

2. Session context – With each viewing session, you can capture more data, which will lead to better personalization. Capture the browser type, device type, IP address, and time zone. This data can feed into a personalization algorithm that can recommend different content to the same user based on whether he or she is on a mobile device or a PC. Or, based on whether he or she is watching in the morning or watching at night.

3. Third-party data – Data from external providers can be used to further understand your users or your content. For example, you can purchase data about the products your audience buys or the types of websites that they visit. You’ll also want to purchase content metadata so that you can make personalization decisions based on the genres, subgenres, cast, awards, year of release, and user ratings of shows that your users have watched.

4. Segmentation – You can use segmentation to orchestrate different types of personalization experiences for different segments of users. Segments can be generated based on behavioral attributes about your audience such as how frequently they visit your service or what type of content they most frequently watch. Segments can also be generated based on contextual attributes you know about your visitors such as device, time of day they most frequently visit, or geo location. To drive the most engagement from your audience, you can drop each viewer into an experience that’s proven to work with other people in their segment.

5. A/B testing – A/B testing lets you test your hypotheses about how your data can be used to improve personalization. For example, you may have a hunch that viewers who browse sporting websites are more likely to respond to recommended sports content. You can test this hunch by exposing a control audience to your existing personalization algorithm, which doesn’t consider sports browsing data. At the same time, you expose a test audience to a new personalization algorithm, which does consider sports browsing data. If the test audience outperforms the control audience on one or more metrics that you care about, such as viewing time, then the new algorithm is a success.

6. Algorithms – Algorithms make up the decision engine for personalization features. Once an algorithm has been programmed to know what data to consider and how to consider it, then it can make personalization decisions on the fly for every viewer of a personalized TV service. You don’t have to be able to develop algorithms in order to personalize a TV service. Solutions like Adobe Primetime recommendations include built-in algorithms that you can use.

7. Automated optimization – Optimization technology makes personalized TV smarter over time. For example, Primetime recommendations automatically conducts A/B testing to continuously improve the decisions that it makes regarding video recommendations and visual layouts.

These seven data sources and technology capabilities put personalization within reach of any TV service. In fact, many media companies already have the data they need to do personalization well. Others can get the data they need.

If you’re embarking on implementing more personalized TV services into your brand, we’d love to hear from you.

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Remember This: B2B Customers Are Consumers, Too

Marketing Cloud

Deliver the Digital Experiences They Expect or Kiss’em Good-bye

Manufacturers in today’s global marketplace need to embrace digital solutions in order to optimize the online experiences they deliver to their customers. Maxim Integrated, a semiconductor manufacturer, realized that their website was failing to deliver to prospective B2B customers, who were logging onto, and quickly bouncing away from the company’s legacy website because they could not easily find what they needed. Chances are, the elusive B2B buyer — who orders lunch on Foodler, books a plane ticket on Expedia over lunch, and catches an Uber ride back to the office — will move on to a competitor who makes the online experience easier.

The analog days of cold calling and pre-sales schmoozing are long gone. Digital technology is facilitating a new matchmaking paradigm. Today, buyers will find you — if you’ve got the digital infrastructure in place to be discovered. Once prospects enter your online ecosystem, they begin to build a relationship with your brand. In the digital world, making that connection requires you to align your content with what a buyer needs, from the first moment they make contact with your company.

B2B customers are consumers too, with an added twist — they need to produce and deliver results for their companies as fast as possible. No one can afford to wait. Maxim Integrated learned that manufacturers can better serve their customers by creating a user-friendly digital experience that delivers spot-on information at exactly the right moment.

Why are digital experiences so important?

The future of manufacturing is digital. Some experts call this movement Industry 4.0, while others refer to it as the emergence of an experience business transition, in which a companies invest in technology capable of connecting content and data with behavioral, engagement, and predictive analytics.

Becoming an experience business is about more than increased efficiency. It’s about competitiveness in today’s marketplace. Success in marketing, sales, and support depends on how well you engage with your customers. Your message has to resonate in a business environment filled with an ever-changing choice of products and technologies. Customer experience is one of the most important ways in which companies can both differentiate themselves and close sales deals.

Customer experiences matter, and B2B customers are simply consumers playing a different role in a different context. In fact, according to a recent survey, 80 percent of B2B companies say that their customer’s expectations are higher because of what they experience as consumers. This means that manufacturers need to prioritize customer engagement during the B2B sales processes, across multiple distribution channels, and on whatever device the buyer prefers to use. The bottom line is that competing in the digital economy requires delivering information to prospects and customers when and where they want it.

How one company went digital

It used to be agonizing to scour Maxim Integrated’s website for information and specs on their products, which number more than 9,000. Search was slow, and instead of focusing on better content delivery solutions, Maxim Integrated’s IT department spent inordinate amounts of time fixing problems on an outdated system that could not scale or connect easily with other software systems. The process was time-consuming and ineffective.

The semiconductor manufacturer solved the problem by leveraging a digital foundation that combined digital asset management (DAM), customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) into one system. Says Robert Reneau, the company’s director of digital marketing, “Now we can transform the online experiences we offer our customers and partners, and deliver content faster.”

That’s the name of the game these days — respond at the speed of light, and deliver a consistently good user experience. “Our previous approach typically involved costly and difficult-to-maintain workflows,” says Reneau. “But now, we are integrating responsive design into our processes to publish content once and deliver it across any device. We have created a digital communications platform that makes our customer’s navigational experience simple and easy.”

The past is prologue

Evolution is not always easy. For some manufacturers, moving from legacy systems to a completely digital model requires letting go of processes that are deeply ingrained in the company’s operating ethos. However, companies like Maxim Integrated understand that legacy systems just don’t have the technological horsepower to drive content velocity, or to connect with prospects and customers in real time.

If your company is still relying on technology that represents the way you’ve “always done it,” it’s time to rethink your strategy. Legacy CRM solutions, for instance, lack the ability to process and deliver personalized digital assets on demand. To move forward, you need to understand your options. In order to build a digital foundation, it’s important to know what solutions are available, how to apply them, and how to integrate them with your existing IT infrastructure.

Moreover, you need a digital platform that can be customized. Something that works for one customer might not work for another. Delivering the right content at the right time requires an understanding of how your customers identify, research, select, and purchase products. You also need state-of-the-art analytics tools that will facilitate tracking user activity, modeling how purchasing decisions are made, and predicting what users are looking for at various crossroads on your website.

Implementing a digital solution

The first step a manufacturer needs to take in moving toward a fully digital content management platform is to develop an understanding of how technology can deliver better customer experiences, lower costs, and, ultimately, boost the bottom line. Maxim recognized the advantages of combining its DAM, CRM, and ERP systems to form one, well-oiled machine. So they implemented a fully extensible digital platform, and customized it to meet their specific needs. Here are five steps that any company can use as a starting point for developing and implementing a digital content platform:

1. Create a cross-functional team. Great results depend on multiple parts of the company — including marketing, sales, operations, IT, support, customer service, and legal — working together to develop a strategic plan.

2. Focus on understanding your customer’s journey and experience. Obtain a clear idea about what customers want from your company, and how to deliver the online experiences they expect. Mining website analytics and focus groups with customers can help sharpen your team’s focus.

3. Establish benchmarks for results. Don’t try to achieve everything at once. Develop a strategic plan for building and implementing a digital foundation that can be tested and tweaked as you move forward. This will require an accurate understanding of the capabilities of your DAM, CRM, and ERP systems. As the system is rolled-out, monitor user engagement and results closely in order to determine how best to optimize the platform to meet both company goals and customer expectations.

4. Leverage an existing framework. For most manufacturing companies, customizing a digital framework is a more cost-effective approach than trying to re-invent the wheel. Your platform should be unified, easy to use, and capable of integrating with other systems. It is essential that you start with a scalable platform that can integrate easily with your company’s core tools, workflows, and data sets. Finally, consider security, as well as a cloud-based infrastructure that provides complete redundancy to prevent any downtime.

5. Consider your ROI. Return on investment matters, so crunch the numbers and consider how the new system will reduce costs while increasing sales.

For manufacturing companies that are serious about a digital transformation, moving to a platform that facilitates faster content delivery on virtually any device is usually an easy decision. The combination of cost savings and improved customer engagement means higher conversions and a clear path toward increased sales.

Transform your manufacturing business with digital experiences, and read about more best practices for managing digital experiences or read more in our #manufacturing series.

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Experience Chains: Linking Great Experiences Across Companies

Marketing Cloud

Imagine flying into San Francisco International and having a driver ready to pick you up and deliver you directly to your hotel. There, the concierge greets you and hands you the key card to your room. Or better yet, an app on your phone directs you to your room and unlocks your hotel door. And, all of these actions are enacted without your initiation. You may think this is an experience for the elite, but this “experience chain” — where multiple brands collaborate to provide a singular experience — is getting closer to reality for all of us.

From a customer’s perspective, a travel excursion like the one mentioned above is a single experience. But in today’s on-demand economy, a single business can’t deliver such an end-to end experience for a consumer outside of its core business.

How do brands work together to deliver a unified and seamless experience rather than multiple, possibly disjointed, but hopefully related, experiences?

As I go from place to place or site to site or app to app on my phone, once I leave the context of the brand I was interacting with, I’m basically breaking whatever experience I was having and starting a new one. That’s where an “experience chain” is needed. The idea is that two or more related businesses (an airline, ground transportation, and hotel, as in the example above) work together to create a seamless experience for their joint customers, which in turn helps all three companies succeed.

For airlines, on-demand cars, and hotels to collaborate on an experience chain, they need to find a way to share information that allows them to deliver an exceptional experience throughout their customer’s entire trip. Instead of ordering a car when you get off your plane and then finding out the closest driver is 10 minutes away, imagine that as soon as the plane is at the gate, the airline shares that information with a car service, so that by the time you walk out to the curb, your car is pulling in to greet you. The hotel and car service also exchange information about where your hotel booking is (so the car knows where to take you) and when you will arrive (so your room is ready for you).

How is this possible? It takes sharing the right data at the right time — and having entire organizations from multiple businesses eager to help.

Get C-Level Support for Information Sharing
As companies commit to true collaboration, there are so many exciting ideas that can come to fruition, including experiences that go beyond what a single brand can deliver. But it will take the willingness and capability of one business (like American Airlines) to share their data with another (like Uber and then Marriott) so that the customer’s positive, even delightful experience can continue seamlessly from one brand to the next.

Sharing data, first throughout a single organization — whether from calendars, social media, purchases, or surveys — requires buy-in that starts at the top and then moves down into the other layers. Perhaps the product design team is getting negative feedback on why money transfers take five days, so they need to share information and data back and forth with the financial team to brainstorm creative ways to change the process and facilitate better user experiences. Or, the legal department needs information on how to keep the customer in mind when developing their terms of service to ensure they don’t stand in the way of a positive customer experience. This collaborative focus on the customer throughout an organization is key for making an experience business work.

The next major step to develop experience chains is to have C-level executives buy into the sharing of data among partnering companies. Data security is always of utmost concern, but experience businesses need to be willing to trust their partners. They should implement and insist upon rigorous controls, as well as develop ethics and standards that protect the type of information needed to keep experience chains going.

We already have dozens of customers subscribed to data “co-ops,” designed to help them create better analytics and experiences for their own businesses. These companies already have the mentality and CEO support to share data that will help them deliver better experiences.

Use AI, But Don’t Neglect the Human Touch Just Yet
Technology also plays a valuable role in creating experience chains. Today, artificial intelligence is used to look at a customer’s history and then provide current options based on what he/she is likely to need or do. Where we expect it to become extremely valuable is in predicting what consumers want and delivering it without them having to ask. This kind of preemptive decision making is the golden ticket we’re all working toward — and we’re getting closer every day.

For example, smart home technologies such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are listening to us and learning about our preferences at different times of day and are starting to make decisions for us (kind of creepy, I know). If my smart refrigerator orders fruit and I leave an apple in the fruit bin too long, then it will decide to order fewer apples the next time. Or if my home assistant recognized from my schedule that I had been in back-to-back meetings all day, it could know to play relaxing music when I arrive home.

You might recall the Tesla-Dunkin’ Donuts-Visa experience chain we shared at the Adobe Summit last year — your Tesla gets a text about a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, automatically orders a coffee for you, and it’s ready and paid for through your Visa account when you arrive, so you just grab it and go. As long as experience businesses commit to true collaboration, AI can help create many similar and fulfilling experiences.

This being said, I don’t believe we should automate everything just yet. We aren’t to the point yet where AI can make the right decisions that take into account my emotional state or my history as a consumer of any particular product. Additionally, the human touch is still needed, in most cases, to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. Interacting with an automated machine doesn’t often make me feel better about a product or service. That only happens when I get a human on the phone and can feel my problem being solved.

Experience businesses that are eager to operate in an experience economy will succeed as they help each other through experience chains. Learning how to structure your organization — as well as work with other brands and even competitors — will help deliver fluid, compelling, and personalized experiences that create an emotional connection between the customer and the brand, resulting in long-lasting loyalty. It’s a win-win-win for all.

Read more ideas about the future of experience business from our #AdobeTT participants.

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