B2B NewsPet industry newsAdobe's roadmap for B2B, CDP and product analytics

Adobe’s roadmap for B2B, CDP and product analytics


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Almost lost in the excitement following Adobe’s generative AI announcements at last week’s Summit (Adobe Firefly and Sensei Gen AI) were a raft of other product updates, especially those surrounding B2B marketing, Adobe Real-Time CDP and Adobe Product Analytics.

Adobe Summit 2023 3 800x532
Summit audience on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Las Vegas. (David Becker/AP Images for Adobe)

Marketo Engage and the B2B customer journey

Despite relatively little discussion of Marketo Engage during the main-stage keynotes, a look under the hood revealed a lot of activity surrounding Adobe’s offerings for B2B marketers. We asked Brian Glover to share some highlights. Glover is a senior director of product marketing at Adobe with special responsibility for Marketo, the B2B instance of Adobe Real-Time CDP and the B2B attribution solution Bizible.

Marketo Engage and Real-Time CDP working together

Adobe Real-Time CDP and Marketo Engage, working together, forms the foundation for B2B workflows in Experience Cloud, Glover said. “One of the announcements we made is that, within the Real-Time CDP you can create a list of accounts; you can send the list to multiple destinations, and one of those is Marketo Engage.” The advantage of bringing those accounts to Marketo is the ability to begin to engage with people in those accounts that are already known. “As you run paid media you start to bring in more of the other roles from a buying committee.”

Dynamic chat for B2B

Glover also highlighted Adobe’s evolving dynamic chat offering including new generative AI capabilities. “We announced that we are offering a full suite of conversational marketing capabilities, so for automating conversations on your website, and to pass a live conversation through to a sales rep, to be able to continue that conversation,” he explained.

Chat is also being embedded in things like lead forms. “In a lead form you can initiate a conversation or offer up the ability to book a sales meeting. We’re elevating the value that marketing can provide to sales by giving them more touchpoints for having a conversation rather than just capturing details and the prospect waiting for a sales person to reach out to them.”

A pause of hours or even days between an indication of interest and a follow-up by the vendor is a customer experience gap, Glover said. “By bringing dynamic chat into marketing auto-workflows we’re closing that gap.”

In the background to chatbot conversations lies the development of countless answers to frequently-posed questions. Generative AI will be used to help scale the drafting of responses — but all to be reviewed by human eyes before they go live.

Integrations between Marketo Engage and Workfront

Glover describes Adobe Workfront as “the command-and-control center of the content supply chain.” But many customers also use Workfront to manage the entire campaign development process, from strategy to assets, to reviews and approvals. This makes integration with Marketo Engage valuable.

“As the campaign is built out in Marketo, it sends the status back to Workfront; in Workfront it gives customers a single view of the status of a campaign so everyone has visibility. Teams can move faster, get more campaigns to market faster, which is important right now because a lot of teams are not growing as fast as they would like and many have budget and resource constraints.”

That B2B buyer journey

Glover agrees that the B2B buying experience is changing, becoming more digital, more self-serve and more omnichannel. And he has statistics that support this:

Digital-native millennials and zoomers now make up 65% of B2B buyer group members, and so the bar for what defines an acceptable experience continues to be raised. And now, 55% of B2B executives say their buying cycle time has increased over the previous year — anything that creates delays, confusion or uncertainty in the already complex B2B buying journey simply adds cost and risk to deals.

Adobe announces new innovations to drive B2B experience-led growth

Dynamic chat plays a role here too. “B2B buyers are absolutely looking to have more self-serve experiences,” he said. “It’s a digitally native population now that is participating in — and often leading — these buying committees. Automating conversations at scale, and making it easier to self-serve in terms of doing your own research, is one of the investments that we’re making.”

Bringing robust external data to Adobe Real-Time CDP

Adobe’s CDP offering remains one composable element of the overall Adobe Experience Platform suite. “In 2022 we updated our go-to-market to say everybody gets Experience Platform foundational capabilities, but they’re going to transact with Adobe on the applications,” explained Ryan Fleisch, head of product marketing for Real-Time CDP and Audience Manager.

So, Real-Time CDP is one of those applications. It was built natively on Experience Platform,” he continued, “as was Customer Journey Analytics, Journey Optimizer and some of the newer applications you’re seeing launched during Summit. The advantage is that, if I buy Real-Time CDP, I’m getting access to things like real-time profiles, a governance framework, AI models and many other services.”

In broad numbers, hundreds of brands around the world are using Adobe’s CDP for a variety of use cases. “We’re seeing a lot of brands that will start with Real-Time CDP and grow into other Adobe Experience applications. We’re also seeing a number of them adopt some of those simultaneously because they understand the natively connected benefits they get,” said Fleisch.

Data for specific use cases

One phenomenon that can be observed across a number of these enterprise-level CDPs that form part of larger marketing suites (Oracle’s Unity, for example) is that customers import data to support specific use cases. They don’t necessarily view the CDP as a repository for all customer data.

“If you’ve already done all the work to put your data in a warehouse or cloud storage system, we don’t want to make you duplicate those efforts,” Fleisch said. “You probably don’t need all that data readily available at your fingertips in a matter of milliseconds for the use cases you’d be powering here. So our approach is to think of a foundational layer of technology like a cloud data warehouse and think of Experience Platform and Real-Time CDP as an experience layer that sits on top of that.”

It’s also not necessary to copy all the use case data into the CDP. Adobe has the muscles to drill down into enterprise data storage locations and federate data from those systems.

Third-party data that isn’t from cookies

Despite widespread adoption of CDPs, many businesses are not yet ready to give up on DMPs, the solutions that deliver large quantities of third-party data and thus support new customer acquisition.

“If you trace the origins of CDPs they go back to about 2013 and they started out with just known customer data,” Fleisch reflected. “That was the primary use case.” But it’s not a use case that can make up for the loss of third-party cookies.

“Historically brands have used DMPs to just buy broad swaths of audiences and go target those. But we’ve seen an evolution in the CDP space and also in expectations for the space. We now have a privacy-safe way to bring in durable third-party data from partners like Epsilon, Merkle — and really any others of your choosing; this is an open framework. These companies have a long heritage in customer data from a variety of sources with consent attached to it. Being able to bring that into the CDP is fulfilling this request and vision of a single data management system that can take me from acquisition all the way through loyalty and everything in between.

The launch of use case playbooks

“In the past few years, CDPs have been the talk of the town,” said Fleisch, “but a lot of brands that adopted them are left wondering: What are the use cases I should be doing?” With many data sources feeding a CDP, brands can struggle to know what data to leverage for a particular use case.

“We want to make this easier for brands,” said Fleisch. “We’re launching use cases playbooks to actually give you guided workflows: Here’s how we would recommend populating audience segments, setting up journeys, campaigns, etc. You’re making time-to-value that much faster rather than having a blank canvas in front of you.”

Analytics for product use and engagement

Another announcement that almost got lost in the rush: The launch of Adobe Product Analytics as a complement to Adobe Customer Journey Analytics.

“With Customer Journey Analytics, as a brand you’re looking at customers and the different touchpoints they have — notification, mobile, web and any other ways you interact with them,” explained Haresh Kumar, head of strategy and product marketing for AEM. “With Product Analytics you are looking at product usage, the user journey. As a product manager, building products, you want to better understand where the value is, where users are spending more time.”

The persona Adobe is targeting with these new capabilities, said Kumar, is the product manager; the outcome the application is aimed at supporting is “product-led growth.”

It’s important to understand that, in a sense, Product Analytics is dealing only with digital products — only processing data generated by the software associated with the products themselves. The main-stage demonstration featured user engagement with a GM automobile — but it was specific to engagement with a software-driven dashboard component of the automobile.

But in a way, that’s the point. Many products these days, from cars to refrigerators to smart homes, have software components. Also, what’s provided is not just a retrospective look at how users are interacting with existing features, but guidance for future product development.

A new Adobe Express for enterprise

Finally, Kumar also highlighted the launch of Adobe Express for enterprise. Adobe Express allows the creation of a wide range of brand content without the need for training in design. The enterprise version integrates with the Adobe Experience Manager DAM and will also give access to the Firefly generative AI solution with safety guardrails for commercial use.

“That’s one big announcement,” said Kumar. “When you bring Adobe Express and Adobe Experience Manager assets together, you get not only the shared library of your assets but also genAI creation of more variations of content.”

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