Redefining the Customer Experience: You’d Better Think Like People

Highlights and Insights from Adobe Summit and Becoming an Experience Business

No longer on the horizon, not discussed on a conceptual level or postulated as some far-fetched what-if; The Experience Era is now every brand’s new reality. And in addressing this new, dynamic set of challenges that both B2B and B2C organizations face with contextually-driven content and technology-powered data, brands will only find success in keeping a crucial component in mind: you must think like people.

ICF Olson, an Adobe Premier Solution Partner, was proud to have been amongst over 10,000 other digital marketers, technology experts, and Adobe partners and clients at this past week’s Adobe Summit. After attending break-out sessions and networking on the floor, we’ve compiled our top ten predictions for the future, but if you want the quick-and-dirty on where we are and where we’re going, read on.

Discipline and Agility Will Help You Adjust

Deborah Wahl, SVP and CMO at McDonald’s explained that while the shiny new toys of digital marketing are appealing, it’s all about making mission-critical changes within your approach to customer service  and strategy that are manageable, actionable, and speak to the immediate needs of your brand. In McDonald’s case, this meant designing ways in which customers had easy access to offers, faster ways to order, and fewer barriers to reaching assistance for questions and concerns. Applying this mindset to the digital realm – social media platforms, mobile applications, and marketing campaigns, consider not necessarily what your competitor is doing, but how to leverage technology in a way that solves your brand’s specific problems. Additionally, don’t attempt to eat the whole Big Mac in one sitting; by planning and implementing solutions in iterations, you’ll facilitate change across the organization, you’ll be better positioned to make enhancements based on data and insights, and you’ll have satiated your customers’ appetites for integrating the physical and digital experience – all while avoiding the overwhelming crash-and-burn of taking on too much, too soon.

New Features and Functions of the Adobe Marketing Cloud

Your customers, whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, crave, need, and demand content. Moreover, it needs to be relevant, fast, and personalized across the experience. Fortunately, Adobe unveiled its latest version of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, and the solution will undoubtedly continue to be a powerful tool in and organization’s marketing arsenal.

The Facebook and Googlization of the User Interface and Features

This author remembers a conversation during a college graphic design course, where the professor said something to the effect of Facebook’s layout being a complete abomination of a website from a use and aesthetic perspective. Fast forward a few [undisclosed] number of years, and we’re seeing more sites, digital properties, and technology solutions mimic this interface and experience. Why? It’s because it’s so familiar. According to Statista, as of Q4 2015 Facebook had 1.59 billion monthly active users worldwide (those that have logged in over a thirty day period). Love it or hate it, Facebook has become ingrained into most of the world’s lives, so it only makes sense that the AEM interface – with a streaming wall-like homepage, upper-right-hand-corner notifications, and internal community engagement features would be something to demonstrate as an ease-of-use improvement.

In another example of design imitating life, the search capabilities and automation tools of the latest Adobe Marketing Cloud version is very reminiscent of Google in that results and in some instances processes are instantaneous. Omni-Search provides users with immediate, platform-wide results. Campaign auto-generates subject line optimizations, and Auto-Allocate can direct campaign traffic to the best performing landing page in an A/B test scenario. And then there’s Analytics – a completely customizable, WYSIWYG interface where performance results can be shared simply and easily across the organization, very à la Twitter.

To learn more, check out the full list of product innovations across the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Learning to Market to, and Think Like, People

Since cross-multi- and omni-channel became the major focus of creating an off and online brand experience, we as an industry of marketers, developers, and advertisers have become infatuated with designing for every device. There’s the mobile-first approach, and the responsive-all-the-things framework, both of which are still applicable, but as standalone solutions are inherently flawed. The problem? We were all too concerned about devices instead of focused on the person behind the screen.

Most users own multiple devices, and in an oversight many brands failed to connect the interactions between the desktop at work, the smartphone on the way home, and the tablet on the couch. Subsequently, an attempt at a streamlined experience failed every time a person turned off one device and picked up another.

We need to realign our goals with the needs of the user through a better understanding of context – push notifications that are geolocationally triggered, thoughtfully-designed and targeted campaigns, and ads that are immersive, evocative, and actionable. When we pause to consider the goal of any interaction a user has with our brands, we can better consider how technology and creativity coexist to evoke emotion, thereby leading to engagements, sales, and loyalty. And when we remember to think like people, we’ve made leaps and bounds toward becoming an experience business.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post - Barbie, Clooney, and Why Reinvention is the New Invention!

To learn more about addressing the new realities your brand is facing, becoming an experience business, the Adobe Marketing Cloud, or ICF Olson, contact us.