Understanding the Adobe Experience Platform
In recent years, Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) has become crucial to marketing technology stacks. AEP aims to provide complete intelligence on customer interactions and experiences across channels as a customer data platform and management system. With rising consumer expectations and digital disruption, brands need unified solutions to engage customers effectively amid intensifying competition. This article examines what Adobe Experience Platform entails, its critical capabilities, use cases, and overall value.
What is Adobe Experience Platform?
Adobe Experience Platform is a cloud-based enterprise platform that allows brands to ingest, standardise, understand, govern, and action large volumes of customer data sourced from multiple touchpoints to deliver personalised experiences. It converges Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics Cloud, Adobe Advertising Cloud, and AI/ML services into an integrated system.
At its core, AEP ingests and processes high volumes of transactional, behavioural, and observational data in real time via API connectors. After ingestion, it cleans, structures, labels, and enriches every data element through schema and identity mapping services. This unified customer profile gets leveraged across analytical, data science, marketing, and customer-facing applications to activate personalised customer experiences.
Key Capabilities and Services
Adobe Experience Platform provides a set of core services:
1. Data Ingestion: Ingests batch or streaming data from multiple enterprise sources via pre-built connectors and APIs into a unified Real-time Customer Data Platform (CDP).
2. Data Governance: Provides data usage policies, compliance, access controls through Adobe Experience Platform Launch, data usage labels, and consent management.
3. Data Insights: Analyses ingested data to generate actionable insights for personalisation with Attribution AI, Customer AI, and Journey AI.
4. Content & Commerce: Manages content sharing and ecommerce interactions through AEP Content and Commerce Cloud and real-time web/app personalisation powered by Adobe Target.
5. Customer Journey Management: Maps end-to-end cross-channel customer journeys with analysis to optimise experiences via Journey Optimizer.
6. Engagement & Orchestration: Executes omnichannel engagements and orchestrates customer experiences leveraging intelligence from AEP's analytical services.
7. Developer Tools: Provides SDKs, APIs, and sandboxes to extend capabilities and build custom solutions integrated with AEP.
Unified Customer Profile
A distinct ability of Adobe Experience Platform is creating the Unified Customer Profile. This structured profile gives a complete, actionable view of each customer by stitching identity, attribute, and event data from all sources into one view in real time. Brands can instantly access this actionable profile across Adobe applications to coordinate personalised engagements based on individual behaviour and history.
AEP natively integrates Adobe applications like Analytics, Target, Campaign, Marketo Engage, and Advertising Cloud. Hundreds of out-of-the-box connectors also allow ingesting data from CRM, ERP, PoS, subscription systems, etc. Using RESTful APIs, brands can feed data from proprietary data sources into AEP, too.
Real-World Use Cases
Let's examine some common examples of Adobe Experience Platform usage.
Brands can enrich customer data with insights and orchestrate personalised cross-channel marketing campaigns across email, web, mobile, social media, call centres, and stores in real-time based on consumer analytics and modelling from AEP. Marketers gain complete visibility into marketing performance through attribution and engagement metrics for continuous optimisation.
Retailers can deliver personalised promotions, recommendations, and search results across the web and mobile apps, leveraging unified customer profiles with real-time data access. Connecting offline and digital data enables omnichannel commerce use cases like buying online pickup in-store (BOPIS), inventory visibility, and cross-channel returns.
Travel businesses can enhance loyalty programs by leveraging intelligence from customer profiles to offer personalised tier upgrades, recommendations, exclusive offers and tailor rewards based on preferences and travel history data. Attribution and journey analytics further help optimise loyalty initiatives.
In real-time, telecom providers can equip call centre agents with 360-degree customer context derived from profile attributes like subscription data, usage patterns, and inquiry history to offer contextual recommendations and dwell-time reduction. Text analytics further empower agent assisting abilities.
Media brands can categorise audiences into meaningful segments based on interests, behaviours, and attributes derived from online/offline data for better-targeted advertising, content recommendations, and subscription promotions personalised for every part.
Key Benefits and Outcomes
Let's discuss the significant advantages brands can realise by implementing Adobe's customer experience management platform:
- 360° Customer Intelligence: Unified, accessible, and actionable customer profiles enhance understanding and provide intelligence to personalise engagements across channels.
- Real-time Activation: Data from across the enterprise gets leveraged in real-time to coordinate contextualised brand experiences via customer journey analytics and orchestration.
- Martech Consolidation: Converging multiple-point solutions for analytics, data management, and marketing engagement into a single platform simplifies technology landscapes.
- Enhanced Personalisation: Granular segmentation and predictive modelling capabilities empower hyper-personalised messaging and recommendations, driving conversion lift.
- Improved Loyalty: Better brand experiences and relevant incentives enhance customer loyalty, retention, and lifetime value.
- Superior CX: Real-time data access helps brands interact contextually across touchpoints to deliver consistent, seamless CX.
- Operational Efficiency: Unified data management, automation, and workflow streamlining improve team productivity.
As per a recent Adobe study, brands using the Adobe Experience Platform witnessed compelling improvements in key metrics over 12 months:
- Conversion rates increased 10-15%
- Marketing spend ROI jumped 10-20%
- Customer acquisition costs lowered by 15-30%
- Customer retention rates rose 15-25%
Implementing Adobe Experience Platform
Now that we have discussed AEP's critical aspects, let's examine key considerations when implementing Adobe Experience Platform for customer experience management:
Planning for Adobe Experience Platform
AEP is frequently positioned as an enterprise customer data platform bringing together disparate data to enable omnichannel personalisation. However, it entails thorough planning across people, processes, governance and technology before procurement.
Building the Business Case
Addressing the following areas can help construct a ROI-driven business case:
- Strategic imperatives: Personalisation maturity goals, martech simplification needs, CX improvement vision
- Use cases: Omnichannel, campaigns, analytics, customer service, commerce
- Data: Auditing current schema, formats, infrastructure, and governance
- Value quantification: Conversion lift, revenue growth, cost reduction
- Rollout plans: Pilots, target operating model, scaling
Showcasing value in business terms through piloted use cases can secure executive sponsorship for enterprise-wide adoption.
Robust governance is indispensable, given AEP's data-driven nature. Hence, documenting policies across these facets early on is vital:
- Data security: Encryption, access controls, audits, and monitoring procedures
- Consent Management: Capturing permissions, managing consumer data rights
- Compliance: Guidelines per GDPR, CCPA, and vertical regulations
- Data lifecycle: Collection, infrastructure standards, retention rules
- Data quality: Accuracy, completeness, and enrichment protocols
- Change control: DevOps release management, environment controls
- Education: Training programs on governance for internal teams
Deploying Adobe Experience Platform
While AEP delivers extensive capabilities from inception, brands need phased rollouts across business units to ensure adoption.
An iterative implementation approach focused on the highest impact, but most minor viable use cases are recommended first. Typical project phases include:
1. Prepare: Infrastructure audit, connector installation, data ingestion development
2. Pilot: PoC involving targeted workflows like analytics, campaigns, decisions
3. Scale: Enterprise integration, administration training and platform rollout
4. Optimise: Use case expansion system enhancements over time
Drawing actionable insights from the unified customer profile is pivotal to realising investment ROI. So, data scientists and analytics experts must collaborate with marketers from the design stage when structuring the profile.
Integrating Source Systems
To derive value from AEP, integration with incumbent Martech and enterprise applications is mandatory. API-based connectors expedite linking tools like:
- CRM: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics
- ERPs: SAP ECC, Oracle NetSuite
- eCommerce platforms: Shopify, Magento
- Marketing systems: Eloqua, Google Analytics 360
- POS and site behaviour data
Integration specialist consultants can help establish these real-time connectors early to accelerate data unification within the customer profile.
Driving Adoption Across Teams
Like any enterprise-scale CDP implementation, using AEP to uplift capabilities demands buy-in across people, processes and culture.
Here are some leading practices to drive adoption:
1. Evangelise through pilots: Start with low-risk but high-reward use cases, measure outcomes and evangelise AEP's value.
2. Promote data culture: Instill data-driven decision-making and test-and-learn digital innovation thinking across the organisation.
3. Structure data governance: Implement data stewardship models spanning marketers, analytics and technology teams.
4. Upskill teams: Conduct handholding workshops using AEP to build know-how. Maintain online academies for continuous learning post-deployment.
5. Incentivize usage: Link AEP application proficiency and data-backed decisions to core KPIs and incentive programs.
6. Sustain momentum: Continue enhancing AEP with new datasets, use cases, and integrations. Also, showcase quick wins through newsletters and town halls.
With committed executive sponsorship, stakeholder education, and usage reinforcement, brands can drive high AEP assimilation.
Maximising Value from the Adobe Experience Platform
Realising total efficiency from Adobe Experience Platform investments relies on continuous innovation across use cases, system enhancements and skill building. Let's discuss the leading practices brands adopt:
Expanding Use Case Applications
Starting with a narrow application scope is prudent to prove AEP's promise and scale afterwards. Here are incremental use cases brands pursue:
- Multi-touch attribution
- Campaign analytics
- Media optimisation
- Predictive content scoring
- Personalised ads and site experiences
- Historical context in agent desktop
- Intelligent call routing
- Churn indicators
- Case escalation models
- Sentiment analysis
Loyalty and Retention
- Tailored promotions based on tiers
- Activity recommendations
- Win-back and reactivation workflows
- Cross-sell and upsell offers
- Churn prediction models
- Predictive product recommendations
- Personalised search
- Abandoned cart rescues
- Customised checkout
- Next-best offers
Expanding to new datasets, channels, and models subsequently helps widen AEP's scope.
Enhancing Architecture and Infrastructure
Evolving architecture and data ops capabilities are essential to support more complex applications:
1. Ingestion: Onboard new high-velocity streams via Kafka connectors into data lake storage on cloud data warehouses like AWS Redshift.
2. Security: Adopt tokenisation, encryption, access controls and audits to enforce governance policies amid new datasets and feeds.
3. Data Quality: Build workflows leveraging Spark/Hadoop for streaming data validation, error handling, quality checks, and master data management.
4. Model Deployment: Implement DevOps protocols like CI/CD pipelines to accelerate data science models move into production for various engagement systems.
5. Monitoring: Set up observability, logging, and alarms across architecture tiers to track metrics like utilisation, failures, and bottlenecks.
Building Platform Expertise
As functional teams ideate new applications, specialised skills become imperative to manage and support ongoing enhancements.
- Data Engineers: Develop new data connectors, transform data models, handle large-scale warehousing
- Data Scientists: Analyse data for insights, build ML models like churn, lifetime value
- Developers: Create custom programmatic experiences via AEP SDKs and API integrations
- Architects: Guide data management design, system scalability, and security controls
- Admins: Manage configurations, access controls, ops monitoring, upgrades
Investing in specialist talent and engineering teams to back deployment drives compounding value from AEP over time.
In summary, Adobe Experience Platform empowers brands to become experience businesses by unifying data across the enterprise for real-time customer intelligence and contextual interactions. With growing consumer expectations, AEP can enable hyper-personalisation at scale.
Brands adopting it witness substantial lift in loyalty metrics and revenue growth through customer retention and reduced costs. However, deriving entire efficiency warrants concrete governance, staged integrations, specialist talent and continuous enhancements spanning emerging use cases to data architecture.
With a multi-year investment worldview steered by executive patience, adept solution implementation and change orchestration, brands can fulfil personalisation ambitions and build differentiated customer experiences leveraging Adobe Experience Platform's powerful capabilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does AEP require extensive IT involvement for implementation?
AEP foundation components for ingestion, data warehouse modelling, segmentation, and reporting come pre-built to accelerate rollout. Still, IT teams are vital to integrating source systems, enhancing architecture, and supporting new use cases.
How does AEP differ from traditional Customer Data Platforms?
Beyond unifying customer data, AEP provides out-of-the-box ML models for various applications and natively integrates Adobe analytics and engagement clouds into one enterprise platform.
What Adobe applications are part of the Experience Platform?
Core applications integrated are Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign, Marketo Engage, Adobe Target, Adobe Advertising Cloud, Journey Optimizer, Commerce Cloud, and customer triggers from Adobe I/O Events.
Does my business need professional services support for AEP deployment?
While Adobe provides extensive training and support, engaging Adobe consultants and system integrators is highly recommended, especially when migrating from legacy stacks to steer integration processes and impart platform expertise.
How can I assess the experience management maturity of my business?
Adobe provides a complimentary XM assessment benchmarking current personalisation proficiency across strategy, data, technology and culture dimensions, offering actionable recommendations to improve CX and ROI.