Becoming an Experience-Led Company: Customer Experience Track at Adobe Summit

Marketing Cloud

Digital is changing everything — consumers have infinite choices in content, they’re connected to an explosion of devices, and they want every experience with your brand to be seamless. To meet the demands of digital, you need to become an experience-led company — a company that delivers in-the-moment experiences that are compelling, personal, useful, and delightful to the customer at every touchpoint.

With these qualities, your brand experiences can create real connections with your customers and, ultimately, build lasting loyalty. The Customer Experience Track at this year’s Adobe Summit will show you how to deliver a standout customer experience — from content creation to delivery, measurement, and refinement. Join Adobe experts and partners for insightful discussions and best practices to help organizations of all sizes create these standout experiences that generate real connections with customers.

This year’s Adobe Summit sessions will focus on three core competencies:

  1. Building a digital foundation for delivering experiences;
  2. Delivering more relevant content, faster than ever before; and
  3. Connecting these experiences among an ever-growing number of channels and devices.

Along the way, you’ll also learn how optimized customer journeys form the centerpieces of the most effective content strategies and customer experiences for top brands around the world.

Don’t-Want-to-Miss Sessions at Adobe Summit 2017
Here are my recommended sessions for Adobe Summit this year, including both general and industry-specific sessions.

S4304: Digital Transformation: Patterns for Success
While transforming customer experiences to meet the growing demands of connected consumers is critical, the road to achieving this can be perilous. Various studies cite failure rates of 70–80 percent. In this thought leadership session, we share some of the trends we believe are going to change the game in the year to come. Learn about the patterns of success that have emerged from the thousands of companies that Adobe works with, what has worked in the area of digital experience, and what innovations and resources are available to help organizations increase their success rate.

S4305: Wyndham: Where the Experience Business Has Come to Stay
Legacy technology, multiple brands, and a growing number of digital properties are creating challenges for brands, specifically as they strive to be successful in their digital transformations. Hear how Wyndham Hotel Group embarked on their year-long digital-transformation journey and how they reimagined customer engagement on web and mobile, raising conversions and customer loyalty.

S3985: Adobe Experience Manager Rockstar: The Top Tips Are Here
Come hear from the winners of the first Experience Manager Rockstar contest as they share the digital-experience tips, tricks, and project strategies that were voted the best of the year.

S3942: Adobe Experience Manager Sites: Top 10 Innovations
Learn about the top 10 digital experience-management innovations that will emerge in the next release of Adobe Experience Manager Sites 6.3. We’ll walk you through these new features — must-haves for all organizations that want to be successful — and show you how you can get a head start on today’s constantly evolving landscape of digital transformation.

S3944: What’s New in Experience Manager Assets: Top DAM Features
We know that you want to get the most out of your Adobe Experience Manager Assets investment, but finding the time to track every innovation is difficult. Get the latest updates and ensure your teams are empowered with the cutting-edge features of 21st-century digital-asset management (DAM).

S4194: Delivering Tomorrow’s Optimized Customer Journey (and the Mail) Today
Australia Post, the country’s postal service, wanted to remain relevant and valued by its customers in this changing world, a world “completely transformed with digital, with our customers being more connected and living at a faster pace.” So, the 200-year-old institution had to completely reinvent itself, rolling out a variety of services with a central focus — to make the lives of Australians easier and better. In this session, you’ll find out exactly how they did it.

S4192: Build It, and They Will Come: Growing a Successful Optimization Program
Many organizations hear about the big wins of optimization and know they need to get in the game. They buy the optimization solutions but quickly discover that they don’t know what to do next. In this session — presented by members of the US Bank optimization team — learn how to staff an optimization-program team and build support for its efforts, develop key partnerships and program processes, and expand optimization across the organization and ingrain it into the company culture.

S4384: Personalization Strategies Leveraging a Data Management Platform (DMP)
Adobe Target is an optimization solution that allows data-driven marketers to rapidly experiment and create high-converting personalized experiences. Find out how the combination of Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Target can take your personalization initiatives to the next level.

The Road to Adobe Summit 2017
There are so many great sessions at Adobe Summit this year — so, make sure you check out the entire Summit catalog to find the best sessions for you.

The post Becoming an Experience-Led Company: Customer Experience Track at Adobe Summit appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.

Adobe Target: Optimization for the Experience Business

Marketing Cloud

We want to give you a preview of something that you’ll be hearing about a lot at Summit next week—Adobe Target’s new Experience Optimization Framework. We also want to take this opportunity to describe an important new governance feature that simplifies the way the experience business works. Why now? Rising customer expectations, technology re-platforming projects on shiny new architectures, increasing IT restrictions and growing use of artificial intelligence (AI). Sound familiar?

Welcome to the modern web. In this era, customer experience rules supreme, and every part of the business must be in lock step with that goal. More than ever, businesses for which digital is a key piece of their strategy—in other words, all businesses—need to take well-honed data-driven practices beyond marketing and embrace experience optimization in all aspects of their CX strategy.

Experience Optimization is all about the marriage of CX strategy and personalization with a purpose; it’s a practice that allows you to easily and rigorously experiment with and personalize exceptional customer experiences across expansive web sites and mobile apps—or for that matter, all your brand’s digital and customer touchpoints. Those experiences must meet and exceed a customer need and do it in a way that makes each customer feel uniquely valued, and helps the business achieve a desired outcome (think stellar conversion rate, NPS, record sales… you get the picture). All this requires much more than a basic A/B testing tool or hard-coded targeting rules that simply help you deliver a pleasant-looking web page.

How Adobe is empowering experience business practitioners:
Several years ago, we set out to democratize optimization and personalization across organizations. We knew that your marketers increasingly wanted a direct hand in driving revenue from the company’s digital and customer touchpoints. They didn’t want to have to rely on your IT teams and developers to try out their ideas. We also understood that by giving more people a hand in optimization, your company could scale its efforts and multiply its success.

As we built out Adobe Target, we knew that good governance would allow your users to focus on the projects that were important to them and give them the appropriate permission levels with those projects. We also provided much-needed guide rails through our user interface and its workflows to promote adherence to optimization best practices.

New digital touchpoints rapidly emerged, expanding opportunities for optimization to mobile apps, kiosks, set top boxes and more. Today, we see more opportunities for optimization—for example giving your call center workers optimized scripts while on calls, providing more meaningful responses to your customers from AI-driven voice assistants like Alexa, and delivering customer insights on tablets, so your salespeople can provide personalized in-store assistance. In anticipation of these opportunities, we built our Experience Optimization Framework. This framework now extends the reach of Adobe Target, enabling you to optimize for three main areas—Web, Apps and Connected Experience. It also leverages a common user interface, set of workflows, architecture, and governance.

Just as the web doesn’t stop changing and innovating, neither do we. We want to share some valuable new governance features that overlay all three areas of the framework. We also want to introduce you to a totally new Enterprise Optimization Framework for Web. Finally, we’ll point out a way to use the framework for Connected Experience that’s perfect for when you need—or just want—ultimate control of Target.

Governance that fits your business, not the other way around.
We believe that technology shouldn’t dictate how you do business—that only creates unintuitive workarounds that make more work. Instead, we want to give you control and flexibility in how you apply user roles and permissions so that our governance molds to how you did business, not the other way around.

Adobe Target administrators can now create “properties” based on how you organize your business or optimization projects, and assign users access to those properties and appropriate permissions within them. For example, a multi-national auto manufacturer with a dozen automotive brands that cater to different personas doesn’t want all users from business units personalizing experiences across the company. Instead, they could assign properties by business unit and allow appropriate users to personalize associated web, app, and even in-car experiences from one shared user interface.

With the new governance capabilities in Adobe Target Premium, you can now assign a user to one or more of these properties based on the work they do, and then assign them specific roles and permissions within each property.

New Experience Optimization Framework for Modern Websites
For years, we’ve offered and meticulously updated our established implementation framework for web and mobile sites. About a year ago, we realized that to fully address the web of today, the modern web, we needed a fresh start. So, as we maintained the old single-line-of-code framework, we began creating its replacement in parallel. We are now excited to offer you the Experience Optimization Framework for Web, AT.js, an implementation framework that’s state-of-the-art today, and future-proofed for emerging trends. This isn’t just a theoretical framework—many Adobe Target customers have started to use it.

Here’s a quick glimpse of why we’re getting so many “likes” for this framework:

  • Takes advantage of the asynchronous content delivery offered by single page application (SPA) websites by offering extensions for popular SPA frameworks like Angular and React. This means better customer experiences with responsive delivery, and high fives for your IT department who gets to offer high performance sites using fewer resources.
  • Enjoys backing from a dedicated, growing SPA developer community because our extensions support the work of your developers. We developed this from the ground up for SPAs. Your developers understand what true support means.
  • Provides a validation layer in the communication between receiving an experience from Target and delivering the experience to your site—essentially a space station airlock in which you can validate data, insert security code, or take other measures. More high fives for your IT team. Now they have more control over changes made to sites through optimization and an additional layer of security to help them sleep more easily at night.
  • Eliminates delays in display caused by document.write(), making Google’s announcement that they’d block document.write() on slower 2G mobile traffic a non-issue for you. We suspect that in the future, Google may place this block on other mobile traffic speeds, and that other browsers currently taking a “wait and see” approach may adopt this change.

So, what does this all this mean for your experience business?

“Marriott adopted AT.js as part of an overall reimagining of our web technology strategy. Its modern architecture is noticeable faster with today’s web browsers,” explains Marriott’s director of digital experiments Lee Carson. “We have strong reason to believe that the page speed gains alone have led to millions in revenue. Along with the Adobe APIs, AT.js will be critical to rolling-out omnichannel experimentation and personalization across not only our natively digital channels, but call centers and front-desks.”

Experience Optimization Framework for Connected Experiences
If you’re like most of our customers, you believe that our Adobe Target APIs are designed to extend the Experience Optimization Framework to IoT devices. That’s absolutely spot on. Target can truly be used everywhere, from ATMs, to in-store kiosks, set top boxes, gaming consoles, smart displays, and even call centers. But these APIs have another critical use—allowing you to implement Target directly on your web servers if you need or want more control over Target, and have the technical chops to do so. In other words, you can deploy Adobe Target on your website server side.

We’re seeing a trend in the number of you who are interested in server-side implementations of software as a service. If you’re among these customers, you have strong technical abilities and are willing to trade off the use of the Visual Experience Composer for creating compelling experiences for more control. Some of you need this control as a result of company policy or industry regulations. Others of you simply want the ability to embed Target directly into the DNA of your website to collect additional data and conduct more complex tests. Still others of you may have concerns over privacy, performance, or both associated with JavaScript-based implementations.

Regardless of your reason for wanting a server-side implementation, you expect the same performance, governance, and enterprise scale offered by a client-side implementation. With the Experience Optimization Framework, server-side deployment of Adobe Target offers exactly that.

Resting on our laurels—not an option.
We understand that for you to succeed as an experience business, we can’t view our job as done—ever. We must constantly evolve Adobe Target to stay out in front of changes in the customer experience, the web, and technological innovation. We think these latest developments and ways of using Adobe Target speak to that.

So, what’s next? Just wait and see. In the meantime, we’ll keep scanning the horizon for the first sighting of something new that impacts your work and your world and help you get ready for it.

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Save the Date: Think Tank by Adobe — The Future of the Experience Business

Marketing Cloud

We are on the cusp of one of the greatest and most disruptive technology waves in history — the experience business wave. Nearly 90 percent of companies recently surveyed by Gartner indicated that they expect to compete primarily on consumer experience — up nearly three times from 2010. In our hyperconnected, hyperlocal, hyper-personalized world, a brand’s success relies almost exclusively upon its ability to deliver compelling personalized experiences to consumers, both online and offline. How well consumers receive these experiences depends greatly upon data that drives an active understanding of the customer and fuels the experience as well as brands that personalize the experience for the customer and then deliver that experience to the right person at the right time and in the right place.

This year, at Adobe Summit, we’re holding the next iteration in our Think Tank by Adobe program, bringing together industry leaders from the top experience-focused brands to dive deeper into how organizations can deliver experiences that create emotional connections to the brand.

Join us for the live stream of The Future of the Experience Business Think Tank by Adobe on Monday, March 20 at 11:30AM PDT.

Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, will moderate the live-streamed discussion where we’ll explore:

  • Data — How do organizations leverage data and customer profiles in ways that show their deep understandings of their customers? How can they incorporate dynamic insights to move persona-based marketing to person-based marketing and rethink the way they measure and predict customer behaviors using artificial intelligence?
  • Design — What role does design play in creating experiences that make customers want to come back for more?
  • Delivery — How do today’s organizations deliver seamless experiences that are optimized for the consumers in the moment they matter most — regardless of devices or environments?

The Think Tank working group that will tackle these questions includes luminaries across different industries, disciplines, and brands:

  • Nandini Nayak — Managing director of Design Strategy, Fjord (Accenture);
  • Steven Cook — Former CMO, Samsung NA;
  • Ethan Imboden — VP of Creative and head of Design, Frog;
  • Jay Schneider — SVP of Digital, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines;
  • Rana June — CEO, Lightwave;
  • Dan Newman — CEO Broadsuite and Forbes contributor; and
  • Theresa LaMontagne, Head of Digital Marketing & Media Ops, Verizon
  • Jordan Kretchmer, GM of Adobe LiveFyre & Adobe Social, Adobe

Add the event to your calendar and join us via live stream on Monday, March 20 at 11:30AM PDT.

Adobe Think Tanks are in-person forums for sharing ideas among luminaries who work at the cutting edge of technology, communication, and creativity in a variety of disciplines. Past Think Tanks include The Future of Digital Experiences, the The Future of Work, and The Internet of Things.

We encourage you to join the conversation by following @AdobeMktgCloud and #AdobeTT on Twitter and by visiting Think Tank by Adobe for more information.

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Adobe Unveils the Next Generation of Adobe Experience Manager to Power Digital Experiences

Marketing Cloud

We are just a few days away from Adobe Summit, the leading industry conference that paves the way for brands to transform into experience-led business. At Summit we will be sharing some of the exciting new innovations in the next generation of Adobe Experience Manager, the digital experience management and delivery solution within Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Over the past couple of years we have a seen rapid growth in consumer appetite for rich experiences not only with smartphones and tablets, but a slew of IoT devices. Brands who have made Experience Manager part of their digital foundation for transformation have new demands that extend well-beyond websites and mobile apps.

Companies are grappling with the ways immense amounts of data and content come together to disrupt not only how marketing is done, but also how digital impacts the entire product/service experience. The new opportunities for personalization and value-add is turning the traditional customer journey and on its head. Two years ago, I spoke about how mobile apps are “…becoming the remote control to the Internet of Things.” While this is more true than ever before, “products,” brick-and-mortar locations and the way people interact are becoming a melding of digital and physical. While augmented reality is an obvious example of how this is happening, this trend is manifesting itself in more subtle and ubiquitous ways.

Fluid Experiences to Power the Connected Customer Journey
All of this requires content…a lot of it. Not just any content, but the kind that is engaging and surfaces exactly when someone needs it, wants it…regardless of the device they are on. It’s something you and I do effortlessly when we have a conversation with someone that spans email, text, in-person, over phone.

One of the overarching principles that has guided this latest release of Experience Manager is that content is the fuel of digital experiences. When combined with data insights and intelligence, content provides the bedrock of what companies need to compete on customer experience. This is why it’s critical to offer capabilities that allow brands to:

  • Source the best content
  • Managing content in an omnichannel way
  • Enable content to quickly flow to all the content-hungry connections across more traditional touch points and new ones

On our continued journey to realize this vision, with Experience Manager 6.3, companies can now deliver compelling digital experiences beyond owned to affiliated properties — web, mobile, IoT — at incredible scale. We introduce new capabilities in the latest release to realize the vision of what we call “fluid experiences” — content that flows and adapts to its context with the help of Adobe Sensei, our AI and machine learning framework. The experience fragments and content services features extends Experience Manager to power not only web and mobile experiences, but also well-structured touch points like ATMs and Pinterest to emerging less-structured mobile app and IoT experiences.

Accelerate Velocity in Content and DX Foundation
Since our acquisition of Livefyre last year, we’ve made significant strides when it comes to integrating Experience Manager Livefyre with the rest of the Experience Manager platform. We’re enabling Experience Manager Assets to source and obtain permission for user-generated content (UGC) from within the interface of Experience Manager Assets. This, combined with continued improvements in the integration with Adobe Creative Cloud, drive greater content velocity.

Finally, we want you to be able to take advantage of these innovations, so we are accelerating your ability to get the foundational elements of your digital experience strategy — websites, digital asset management, forms — set up quickly with more production-ready components, UX best practices and tools to help you connect digital experiences to data in your enterprise systems, like CRM.

I invite you to explore what’s new and these videos that showcase some of the features in Experience Manager 6.3.

Digital Transformation Requires More Than Technology
While we continue to be cited as the market leadership and receive recognition from industry analysts, the ultimate measure of our success is the success of the brands and partners that choose to continue to be part of the journey with Adobe. So beyond the cutting-edge technology we provide, we have also been investing greatly in the customer community and resources you have to lead your organization through change using Experience Manager.

This includes:

The path to digital transformation of the customer experience is exciting, but it can also be incredibly challenging as it requires an approach that brings together creativity, marketing expertise, technology skills and often requires collaboration across functional groups. Don’t go it alone.

Here’s to the amazing things we’ll achieve in 2017!

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Introducing the 2017 Summit Insiders

Marketing Cloud

Adobe Summit | The Digital Marketing Conference provides an exceptional opportunity for marketing leaders to come together and learn how to create the best experiences for consumers. Let’s be honest — we live in a time when experiences really do matter. Nowadays, consumers have myriad choices to make regarding who to work with, who to buy from, and much more. Consistently creating excellent experiences gives consumers even more reasons to work with your brand.

We’ve Provided More Than One Way to Access Adobe Summit’s Amazing Insights!
Adobe Summit provides a valuable experience to not only those attending in person, but also the entire digital-marketing community. We realize that not everyone can make it to Adobe Summit in person. Luckily for you, Adobe offers keynotes in livestreamed fashion. So, even if you can’t join us in Vegas, you can still learn these valuable lessons from afar.

In addition to the livestreams, we have an incredible group of on-the-ground, digital correspondents who will help us share the Adobe Summit experience far beyond the walls of the Sands Expo Center.

There will be plenty of opportunities to join the conversation, so make sure you closely follow #AdobeSummit as well as all the influencers listed below.

We Are Pleased to Introduce Our Summit Superstars!
Without further ado, it is my pleasure to announce the individuals who will be participating in Adobe Summit, sharing its messages with the broader digital-marketing community:

Adel de Meyer — @AdeldMeyer
Brian Fanzo — @iSocialFanz
Christoph Trappe — @CTrappe
Chris Rauschnot — @24k
Daniel Newman — @danielnewmanUV
Diana Adams — @adamsconsulting
Dio Favatas — @diofavatas
Emily Thomas — @emitoms
Jeff Barrett — @BarrettAll
Kelly Ann Collins — @itskac
Mack Collier — @MackCollier
Madalyn Sklar — @MadalynSklar
Matthew Owen — @mowenranger
Neal Schaffer — @NealSchaffer
Pam Moore — @PamMktgNut
Rebekah Radice — @RebekahRadice
Ross Quintana — @Ross_Quintana

See You There!
For those attending Adobe Summit 2017 with us next week, we’re looking forward to meeting you in Vegas. And, for those who won’t be able to attend in person, please accept this as your personal invitation to join us online.

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Solving Tomorrow’s Challenges

Marketing Cloud

As one of the world’s largest technology and manufacturing companies, Philips is known for its ordinary products such as light bulbs as well as extraordinary products such as complex medical imaging machines. With a huge digital presence and mobile traffic increasing from 15% to nearly 50% in the last three years, the company wanted its digital experiences to reflect the brand’s standards for quality and technical excellence. But that’s easier said than done for a company that maintains 1 million pages of content in 38 languages.

Using Adobe Experience Manager, Analytics, and Target in Adobe Marketing Cloud, Philips now delivers personalized content that helps drive revenue across its global sites. The company picked Marketing Cloud for the seamlessness of its experience delivery, measurement, and customization.

“Integration among Adobe solutions provides authors, marketers, and brand teams all of the capabilities to get enhanced content and experiences to market quickly,” says Joost van Dun, .Com Manager, Corporate Experience at Philips.

Global teams benefit from up to a 75% reduction in translation times and up to 90% lower translation management costs thanks to Adobe Experience Manager. Marketers at Philips have seen such positive results using data from Adobe Analytics and Target to make site enhancements, every new page or experience on Philips properties is now validated by testing and analytics before being pushed live.

Learn more about how Philips uses Adobe solutions to simplify, standardize, and formalize digital marketing here.  

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Why Retail Businesses Need to Move Beyond Click and Mortar

Marketing Cloud

Story, a retailer situated on 10th Avenue in Manhattan, built their entire business model around an experience-first approach. Part concept, part lab, and part store with a revenue stream, Story swaps out everything — from store design to inventory — to match the theme of the month. From “Home for the Holidays” in December and a “Love Story” in February to their “New York” story, the brand finds themes to tell the stories that consumers are living.

To do so, they blur digital and physical lines to create a seamless and frictionless customer experience. Online, consumers can read articles and watch videos surrounding the current story. In their physical location, consumers attend live events and shop retail, all with the same theme they saw online. Wherever consumers engage with the brand, the experience is the same, delivered via a plethora of micro-moments that span both physical and digital touchpoints.

Four Steps to Create Your Frictionless, Seamless Retail Experience
Like Story’s team, your marketing team is working hard to create campaigns that highlight the features and benefits of your retail brand. However, Story demonstrates that great marketing campaigns alone do not create omnichannel brand experiences. Experiences are crafted from looking at every interaction your customer has with your brand — from your website and the story you tell about your brand to actual interactions with sales associates — and then creating frictionless and seamless experiences that make the most of every micro-moment. The result can be an immersive and unforgettable experience for retail customers. Following are four steps to help your brand create a frictionless and seamless retail experience across all touchpoints.

1. Blur the Lines Between a Campaign and an Experience — Start With a Story.
Clearly, Story has created a memorable and compelling experience through their ability to tell a cohesive story. But, a great story is not the be-all and end-all for a seamless customer experience. Think of the “story” as the promise of a great customer experience at all touchpoints. To do so, don’t stop at digital marketing.

The iconic Kellogg’s brand looked at new experiences as ways to engage with their customers in different ways. Rather than traditional TV spots or grocery-store promotions, they wanted to create truly interactive experiences. That’s why, to celebrate their 110th anniversary, they opened their first restaurant in Times Square, Kellog’s NYC, to offer customers new ways to engage with their brand, giving well-loved cereals a modern epicurean twist.

They partnered with award-winning chef and founder of New York’s Milk Bar, Christina Tosi, to offer tasty, modern cereal treats — like Pistachio Lemon, Berry Me in Green Tea, and The Chai Line — all of which incorporate Kellogg’s cereals. Then, they turned to the graphic-design firm, Virgo, for graphics that combined both historic and current Kellogg’s characters to tell Kellogg’s 100+-year-old story. The result: the same brand story that consumers grew up with came to life in Kellogg’s brick-and-mortar location, helping Kellogg’s stand out in the retail crowd.

2. Create a Seamless Experience — Both in-Store and Online.
The customer experience should not differ from channel to channel. Instead, you need to form a cohesive retail-brand experience for your customers. Your look and feel should be the same throughout the customer journey, regardless of how a customer first interacts with you. After all, the days of the linear sales funnel are gone. You can’t select which channels a customer chooses to engage in or how they interact with you at every touchpoint. Since you have an omnichannel presence, you must make sure you provide an omnichannel customer experience.

Still, despite customers’ expectations of omnichannel experiences, some brands still separate their customers into ‘store’ and ‘online’ segments. But, the fact is, most customer journeys may start online, but they end in the store. In fact, 92 percent of all retail purchases still happen in-store, making the true omnichannel experience critical for all retail businesses. You can’t afford to have stellar customer-response rates on Twitter while in-store staff members are rude (or vice versa).

At Sport Chek, all their sales associates specialize in at least one sport. If they don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, it can be easily accessed on tablets preloaded with vendor content that Sport Chek provides for its staff. This two-tiered approach to having knowledgeable employees is invaluable. Sales associates act as experts to help customers find the products that are right for them. If Sport Chek provided a wealth of expertise on their websites but left consumers hanging when it came time to make purchases, customers would likely walk away feeling betrayed, as campaign promises weren’t delivered on from awareness all the way through to conversion.

3. Make the Most of the Micro-Moment — No Matter the Channel.
Every moment matters. Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce, emphasized the importance of micro-moments. She defines them as the short moments when consumers act on a need to do, learn, discover, watch, or even buy something. And, through the collective experience of these moments, consumers are ultimately driven to convert. In these moments, consumer expectations are higher than ever, and the ability to meet those expectations at each micro-moment often determines how far the consumer will go toward conversion.

For instance, you may think that having an endless array of online options in every category is likely to increase your sales. However, this can lead to the paradox of choice phenomenon in which customers see all these options and are struck with decision paralysis. In that micro-moment, when they view how much inventory they have to look through, they may feel overwhelmed or not know where to start. By optimizing this micro-moment to include only six to seven products that will be highly relevant to the consumer, brands can curate frictionless experiences and send a message that they not only know their customers’ needs, but can also meet them.

In this same way, in-store shopping should be effortless with a seamless experience focusing on optimizing the micro-moment. This helps solidify a truly amazing experience. UK retailer Argos implemented a new strategy they call “Fast Track.” It allows customers to order online and pick the item/s up in a nearby store. With Fast Track, Argos hones in on creating great micro-moments by guaranteeing customers a 60-second visit from arrival to departure. This means customers can literally order an item while they’re on the train and grab the item on the way out of the station. By optimizing this customer micro-moment, the brand has decreased wait times and made the shopping experience completely effortless, and in turn, increased their sales as well as their customer-retention rates.

4. Connect Micro-Moments for an Enhanced Customer Experience.
Remember, all channels of your brand should be treated as equally important. Customers expect to receive the same customer service and have the same experience no matter how they engage with your brand — in person, online, through social media, or via mobile. Further, they expect each interaction — or micro-moment — to lead them through that cohesive experience. This means marketers must use today’s touchpoints to understand what shoppers are looking for in the subsequent micro-moments — even in an omnichannel context.

Outdoor retailer Orvis recently launched digital enhancements to improve their in-store experience. If a store customer asks for a product that the store doesn’t carry, sales associates don’t send customers away empty-handed. Instead, sales associates use iPads to locate a store that does have the item, order it, and have it shipped directly to the customer’s home. Lastly, they process all online purchases and in-store purchases on one receipt — the true definition of a universal shopping cart. While costs were involved in improving the customer experience, it has paid off. Within three months, Orvis had met every one of their annual goals. Digital ordering increased by 12 percent, and their email capture rate increased 400 percent.

Bad Experiences Lead to Churn and Impact the Bottom Line.
Neglecting brand experience can increase churn and hurt your bottom line. Conversely, positive brand experiences can improve customer retention and increase acquisition rates. Gartner states that, by the end of this year, 89 percent of businesses will be competing based on customer experience.

And, if we think about it, this makes sense — 13 percent of customers tell 15 or more people when they’re unhappy with an experience. Conversely, 72 percent of consumers will share positive experiences with 6 or more people. In addition, 67 percent of customers cite bad experiences as a reason for not returning to a retailer. The bottom line is, if customers are unhappy with their experiences, you stand to lose both existing and potential customers alike. Getting ahead of the pack when it comes to customer experience can greatly strengthen your retail brand.

In Conclusion
At the end of the day, it’s important for all retailers to realize that customers regularly move through multiple channels. Story and a plethora of other innovative brands are grabbing attention by telling their stories with optimized brand experiences to delight consumers at every touchpoint — even down to those micro-moments that many brands take for granted. Take simple steps to begin offering a cohesively great brand experience to your customers. Even small wins translate into big gains as consumers understand you’re there to serve them in their moments of truth.

Learn more about optimizing your retail brand experience by reading our guide, “Moving Beyond Click and Mortar.

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Brilliant Advertising: Unlock the Power of Programmatic Advertising With the Right Creative

Marketing Cloud

In 1976, Jhane Barnes designed a pair of pants that made men look so good that even John Lennon wanted a pair. Within two years, she bought a loom and, inspired by fractals — yes, fractals — became a force in the textile market. Fractals are comprised of one pattern that is repeated infinitely to create some of the most beautiful designs in nature. In 1992, to create beautiful fabric without having to spend years drawing the thousands of tiny details on her designs, Barnes applied the concept behind fractals to fashion.

Fractals are comprised of one pattern that is repeated infinitely to create the most beautiful designs in nature.

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She began by collaborating with mathematician Bill Jones (who specializes in software that creates patterns for wearing) and physicist and software developer Dana Cartwright (who translates Jones’s mathematics). The tools they created enabled Barnes to zoom in on nature’s fractals until she found an image that interested her. Then, she could set that image on repeat to create more intricate designs. Lastly, she swapped out background colors and weaves to add dimension and a feel to her fabrics that would resonate with her target consumer. In the process — though Jones’s and Cartwright’s software helped develop different design variations for target consumers — all the images derived from one design, helping Barnes retain her unique “Jhane” look.

Fractals Come to Advertising.
Programmatic advertising began as an automated way to buy and sell ad inventory through exchanges that connected advertisers with publishers. Nowadays, it’s a common tactic for most advertisers. Last year, Chris Breikss, president and cofounder of 6S Marketing, tweeted something that intrigued marketers. He wrote that he was, “Learning about the Mandelbrot set, fractals, and self-similarity at the Programmatic Insight Summit.”

On the surface — like in fashion — the connection between fractals and programmatic advertising isn’t obvious. But, when the underlying concept of fractals is applied to programmatic advertising, it makes way for a revolutionary concept: scalable mass personalization. Similar to Barnes’s fractal designs, creatives can develop infinitely similar ads and then swap out ad components — images, copy, pricing — in real time to create ads that are sure to resonate with the target consumers who receive them.

Because of these new customizing capabilities, the implications of programmatic advertising have become far-reaching for brands that are striving to maintain a competitive edge. Enthusiasm has grown, as targeting capabilities have become more apparent, and in 2016, US programmatic digital-display ad spend topped $22 billion — comprising 67 percent of all digital-display ad spend in the US. Ultimately, programmatic isn’t about ads at all, but rather, giving each customer a personalized, holistic experience — even if there are thousands, or even millions, of individual consumers. And, as with Barnes’s designs, programmatic done well is the scalable melding of art, math, and science that enables brands to deliver on customers’ wants and needs.

2016 U.S. programmatic digital-display ad spend topped $22 billion — 67% of all U.S. digital-display ad spend.

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Make the Switch to Programmatic Advertising.
Marketers now have a tool that empowers them to match ad execution to the needs of media while allowing them to optimize in real time, manage multichannel campaigns, and target consumers with personalized ads throughout their customer journeys — all the way through to purchase. Done well, programmatic saves time and money and improves engagement and conversion performance. Following are three steps to help you apply the power of today’s programmatic advertising to your brand.

1. Unlock the Beauty and Power of Programmatic — Break Down Organizational Silos.
In school, Barnes was never great in math. Nowadays, though, by collaborating with those who are, she is able to scale her design process and delight target consumers. Likewise, the divergent groups that make up the list of stakeholders for programmatic advertising are worlds apart, but their collaboration can achieve great impact.

The CMO understands the brand and the focus of products; the head of digital advertising combines analytics and creativity to implement marketing campaigns; media buyers make decisions on ads and budgets; creatives produce custom ads; and marketers develop relevant, integrated, compelling messages across channels. Planning and analytics — often the instigators of data-driven advertising — drive results from digital efforts. And, if they all succeed in working together, the ultimate result is smarter, more effective campaigns that better resonate with consumers. For this reason, brands are finding it’s well worth the effort to bring all these groups together.

To drive acquisitions of a premium credit card, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) wanted to reach Canadians who were interested in travel. The marketing team assembled a group that comprised the creative group that was handling production, the media-buying team, and data analysts who defined the test and established performance reports. Working in collaboration, they developed a matrix of various product-benefit messages that were tested against an awareness control message. In doing so, they came up with one message — no seat restrictions — that led to a vigorous performance uptick of 28 percent in conversions.

2. Bridge Art and Science for Spot-On Customer Experiences.
Now that you’ve broken down silos to enable a collaborative approach, the next step is to take the immense amount of data available across your organization and find meaning that allows you to build a complete picture of each customer’s wants and needs — the perfect melding of art and science — so you can then deliver on them with personalized experiences. Without data, creative insights come only from intuition. But, like a fractal — whose beauty is defined by simple, yet powerful, mathematics — successful programmatic creative is fueled by data.

Big Data can be the inspiration behind stories that connect you with the right prospects — the trick is finding a message that resonates. After all, the best creative in the world is meaningless if it doesn’t serve a purpose; and creative that triggers emotion, but doesn’t increase engagement, doesn’t achieve the marketing goal. The solution is to identify the variables that impact results. In other words, if you’re going to send a personalized ad, test to learn which variables — including product, description, price, image, offer, location, dates, deadlines, and whatever else you can come up with — have the greatest impact.

L’Oréal sought to build a campaign over the summer to showcase two sunscreen products — one sunscreen for women and another for children. To create relevant ads for each segment, the company used audience-targeting lists to reach women both with and without children. By swapping out the images and copy, L’Oréal targeted the right consumers in real-time with creative that was personalized to drive engagement and conversion.

3. Embrace the Similar.
For most marketers, customizing multiple versions of one campaign, serving up real-time ads with strong creative, and making adjustments based on consumer reactions is challenging. For programmatic success, marketers and creatives must create simple, powerful pieces of content with modular elements that can be adapted to create the ads they want. Templated creative reduces development time, as you only need to produce the key assets that power creatives.

The ability to quickly make changes can be a factor in deciding how to produce an endless number of iterations of your ad. With dynamic creative, you have one ad layout with variable attributes that can be generated in real time. Barnes was able to apply software tools to her designs — swapping out colors and weaves — to create designs that grabbed attention in her target markets. Likewise, being able to grab images from your data assets and update ad components — price and copy, for example — through a data feed makes it easy to change ads without going through the creative process again.

Once you’re able to mass-produce ads, quickly test and optimize creative components to improve campaign performance. Identify the best ads to serve to customers and adjust those ads to improve performance. Use your data to create options and technology to select the best. By using a dynamic creative template, content-feed options, and digital assets, you can create relevant, personalized, and timely ads that are deliverable to large audiences — complete with a 1:1 personalized feel. Dynamic creative allows you to reach granular audiences with flexible ad creative that’s personalized in real time to drive user engagement, conversions, and integrated experiences across devices.

In Sum — Bring on the Brilliance!
Barnes proved that embracing the similar can take creative to new heights, allowing custom art to be created for the masses. Likewise, the goal of programmatic advertising should be to maintain a high volume of creative and personalized experiences while using technology to automate the execution. By matching insightful data with imaginative design and copy, you can pull new audiences into your brand story. For those who think automation is diminishing creative, the opposite could not be more true. Designing an experience that’s not only warm and human, but also dynamic and highly personalized isn’t diminishing at all, but rather, sets a new creative bar.

Programmatic makes it easy to select a highly targeted audience and then use dynamic creative to deliver an impression designed specifically for them. But, personalized, real-time advertising at scale also requires real-time creative at scale, and this realization is having a profound effect on how creative teams develop assets. In this new era of programmatic, marketers and creatives face challenges that can be met by getting buy-in from the right stakeholders, fostering communication and collaboration among creatives and digitals, and pursuing new ways to approach creative and production challenges.

To learn more about the power of dynamic creative in programmatic advertising, download our white paper: Brilliant Advertising. Unlock the power of programmatic with the right creative.

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Consumers are Loving the Mobile Revolution – and Brands Must, Too.

Marketing Cloud

The printing press democratized information, broke down global barriers, and allowed for the building of ideas on a continental — and, in time, a global — scale. As a result, industries began to collaborate toward progress. Discoveries from one generation were passed on to the next and then built upon, lending to the development of lifesaving medical practices and cultural shifts based on new ideas and philosophies. The book became one of the first assembly-line products — ushering in the concept of mass production of manmade products. Though the printing revolution began with making a small impact in one industry, it ultimately grew to impact the very foundation of our current global ways of life.

The Mobile Revolution Starts Now.
A major shift — like the invention of the printing press — is occurring now. Mobile devices are increasingly changing the way we live our daily lives, affecting everything from how we work and connect with each other to how we shop for things we need. On a global scale, consumers are turning to affordable and always-accessible mobile devices to connect with the brands that impact their lives.

Most Brands Struggle With Mobile.
Ninety-two percent of our survey respondents consider their smartphones to be their primary devices, and the average user checks her smartphone 85 times per day. And, we are only at the start of this mobile revolution. As the revolution progresses, further spreading across the globe, mobile will increasingly dominate the customer experience. Brands need to either optimize for a mobile world — or risk being left behind.

Sadly, though many brands recognize the need for internal change to meet shifting consumer demands toward mobile, almost two-thirds of the respondents surveyed in our Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing on Mobile continue to focus on a channel-centric view with desktop at the center, and only 20 percent have a well-defined mobile strategy. Many brands simply don’t know where to start in their shift to a mobile-centered organization. Democratized efforts and proper allocation of resources can usher brands into the heart of the mobile revolution.

Get Your Whole Team on Board.
A vast majority of companies have a team dedicated to their mobile strategies. Interestingly, almost all IT decision makers believe that IT owns their companies’ mobile strategies, while two-fifths of marketing decision makers claim they own their companies’ mobile strategies.

Though it’s been proven that customers are interacting with brands more and more via mobile, most brands have not decided who owns mobile internally. Too often, mobile falls under IT without input from marketers regarding how the customer experience affects mobile strategies. Though it’s great that companies are dedicating teams to their mobile efforts, from the customer standpoint, the mobile journey spans all channels and devices. A dedicated team shouldn’t mean mobile capabilities aren’t considered across campaigns and on all levels of the customer-centric organization. The mobile focus must be democratized to become an organization-wide effort.

Through integration efforts, brands can make their mobile strategy an organization-wide tool to meet customers’ needs for effortless and valuable customer experiences. DuPont underwent a digital transformation. To execute it, they turned to Adobe Experience Manager first to centralize their assets. Then, using Adobe Experience Manager Mobile, regional teams could easily update information on their apps used around the world. The Germany Division team, for example, replaced its 400-page printed customer label and safety manual with an app. As a result, DuPont improved their time to market (for updated information) in the region by 50 percent — allowing farmers to enjoy always up-to-date information at their fingertips to better protect themselves and their farms.

Feed Your Mobile Efforts. Put Your Resources Where Your Strategy Is.
In the next decade, three billion people — mostly in developing countries — will gain online access, meaning smartphone and mobile users will increase dramatically. And, for current users, almost 60 percent of the total time spent online is via mobile apps. Brands that can develop a mobile-first strategy now can reap the benefits in the future.

Democratizing mobile efforts is easier said than done, though, as 40 percent of companies cite a lack of resources — including budget and staff — as the top challenge for crafting positive mobile experiences. Companies must allocate their resources where their strategy is — and many brands are doing just that.

They’re Investing in Technology.
Our survey findings show that a significant slice of technology spend is allocated to creating, measuring, and optimizing mobile. Annual development investment ranges from $4.2 to $4.8 million for apps and $4.9 to $5.1 million for mobile websites, according to both marketers and IT decision makers. Consistent with last year, one-third of digital-marketing spend is being devoted to mobile-marketing programs to drive customer acquisition. Budgets have held steady, but most expect these expenditures to increase next year.

This is good news for brands — but don’t stop there. You can create opportunities to reduce costs by reusing content across multiple channels, including mobile. Integrating with core systems and technologies can also aid in cost-cutting measures. It’s important to remember that mobile apps are best used when integrated into core systems — content-management systems (CMS), customer relationship-management (CRM), or enterprise resource-planning (ERP) systems, for instance. When your mobile strategy is integrated with your complementary core systems, it is more likely to run efficiently and help you capitalize on opportunities.

They’re Investing in People.
On average, mobile teams have fewer than 50 members. Despite this, over one-half of marketing and IT decision makers expect their mobile teams to grow in the next year. This growth includes increasing full-time staff members on mobile app teams and the number of team members dedicated to creating and publishing mobile apps.

In addition, mature mobile brands often work via a federated approach, with a centralized mobile team dedicated to making key decisions as well as independent teams that execute depending on their context. For example, DuPont has teams in each of their global markets. “While we centralize as much as we can, we also have to give the countries enough flexibility to deliver the right message to farmers in their regions,” reports Joanne Hewitson, global digital marketing lead, Crop Protection Division for Dupont. Local teams may optimize the centralized strategy based on language, economics, culture, local trends, and other contextual factors to deliver more relevant and valuable mobile experiences to users.

They’re Investing in ROI Sustainability.
The cost of acquiring new customers is too high for brands to risk high-churn mobile strategies. Right now, cost-per-acquisition averages continue to climb, with Android apps at about $2.57 and iOS apps at about $3.99 (as reported in late 2015). But, after 90 days, the retention rate drops to 4 percent. A solid mobile strategy that keeps users engaged will help you reach — and keep — new users, resulting in billions of dollars in ROI down the line.

Yes, customers want personal and contextual mobile experiences, but they prefer those experiences to be delivered via brand apps. Still, many brand apps fail. The average app loses 77 percent of its users within three days of being installed. And, the top reason that apps fail is that they deliver insignificant value to users.

To sustain the success of your app, it’s important to take advantage of strategies that are optimized to keep customers engaged. The features within your app make it easier than ever before to deliver compelling, personalized mobile experiences. Built-in authentication and geofencing capabilities allow brands to enjoy ample data to better identify their customers’ needs. Then, using these insights, brands can leverage customizable home screens, push notifications, in-app messages, deep-links, and more to deliver on those needs in highly relevant and timely ways.

MLBAM Exceeds Customers’ Mobile-Experience Expectations.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) offers their in-stadium fans their Ballpark App. To make the app experience exceptional, they have tapped into app-personalization capabilities. Using Adobe Marketing Cloud, they define and track points of interest in their stadiums via geofences. When fans use the Ballpark App near these points of interest, MLBAM can track metrics like which fans are attending road games, which are interested in watching video highlights or checking scores via the app, and why fans chose to log in to the app. In addition, MLBAM ran mobile campaigns and then used app-acquisition tracking to determine which campaigns were most effective. Then, by connecting campaigns to the geofenced stadiums that were part of those campaigns, they could send in-app messages to app users, touting premium subscriptions and promotions. By connecting all customer touchpoints, MLBAM optimized the customer experience to meet fans’ needs via their app experience — without consumers having to ask.

In Conclusion
The mobile revolution is here, and brands must get on board with it. If you’re ready to focus on mobile but don’t know where to start, having the right tools can help. Adobe Marketing Cloud lets you use data to effectively reach and engage customers and prospects with highly personalized content across digital touchpoints, whether in mobile apps or web. Further, it allows skilled people across your organization to reach consumers with relevant information without heavy reliance on IT, decreasing time to market for both relevant information and customer experiences. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of focusing on mobile strategies, you can read more in the 2017 Adobe Mobile Maturity Report.

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