Adobe Summit 2017: Changing the World through Digital Experiences

Preserving the status quo is not a business strategy. Transformation is all or nothing. These words from Shantanu Narayen may have been a wake-up call for many of the 12,000 plus attendees of Adobe Summit 2017 in Las Vegas this past week.

Digital technology is changing our lives faster than ever before. Our devices are getting smarter and more connected and therefore even more indispensable. Advancements in cloud technology have fundamentally altered the computing landscape. Immersive media, IoT, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and new forms of vision and voice are opening new frontiers in experiences. As consumers we love it, but as businesses we continue to struggle to keep up. This is creating opportunities for new entrants to move in and disrupt traditional markets.

We need to stop using the word “digital” and make it part of everything we do. It’s time to reduce the monolith with your organization, make front-end independent form the back-end and become an experience business. Simply slapping a mobile front end on legacy applications is no longer an acceptable experience.

Becoming an experience business

Consumers have become quite a demanding group and their expectations are ever rising. To remain relevant, you must become an experience business. It’s not good enough to update your experiences every few months; experiences need to become more fluid and dynamic.

It’s clear that “experience” is no longer just the responsibility of the marketing department. The definition of a brand’s experience has expanded. Experience must now be thought of as the sum total of all interactions your customers have with your brand across all touchpoints. To become an experience business, you must be able to predict customer needs, speak in a single voice, make technology feel invisible and delight your customers at every turn. An experience business is one that has optimized the entire customer lifecycle through automation, and intelligence.

With the launch of the new Adobe Experience Cloud you now have an integrated set of solutions to build campaigns, manage audience segments, and gain deep intelligence about your customers and business. It’s everything that is needed to orchestrate a great customer experience. The adobe experience cloud is the next generation cloud to power the modern experience business.

Good experience is good business

And good experience is good business. Companies with superior customer experiences grow revenues faster than laggards. Over the past 10 years, design and experience companies have outperformed the S&P 500 index by a whopping 228%. And companies that deliver great experiences generally have 22% higher NPS (Net Promoter Scores).

Superior customer experience drives superior revenue growth in industries where customers are free to switch business and competitors deliver a differentiated customer experience.

It’s all about the Data

An experience business needs a new central nervous system. Data is at the heart of assembling these experiences. It requires orchestrating content, data, machine learning and automated processes into a single platform. The platform must be able to speak the language of the business, be based on open systems and must have intelligence at its core to deliver real time insights and action. Great experiences often require blending the art of content with the science of data at massive scale.

Context is really the starting line. You must derive insights from your data to establish context and personalize your content appropriately. Content in the right “context” is king. You must also be able to shift through the large volumes of content to assemble the correct fragments to use. And understanding emotional data, like facial expressions, are vital to further personalizing the content. To accomplish this, you must leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to automate data processing at scale.

Creating global brand experiences

Pam El, CMO for the NBA, demonstrated how the NBA has embedded digital marketing technology into the heart of the game to drive competitive advantage and a modern fan experience. El pointed out that, “The audience is changing and the way we communicate with that audience needs to change as well”.

Over the years, the league has developed a global fan base with 113 of the league players now coming from 41 different countries. As a result, less than 1% of NBA fans actually experience the game within the arena. This has required the NBA to think globally about their fan experience and use technology to interact with them. NBA Replay Center, NBA InPlay and NBA League Pass are all targeted at fans that want to watch basketball any time of the day from any location. It doesn’t end there. They are now providing immersive game experience by offering select NBA games in virtual reality to all NBA League Pass subscribers.

The results have been staggering. A billion people tuned into the NBA last season, which means one out of seven people on the planet is now a fan of the game. They have the largest social media following of any professional support with over 24 million Twitter followers, 32 million Facebook fans, 22 million Instagram followers, over 3.9 billion YouTube views and a record 30.1 billion SnapChat impressions. Their fan demographic is 40% more likely to use a mobile device to interact with them. Last season’s game 7 finals was the highest viewed game in history and the NBA online store generated record breaking sales, 50% higher than previous records.

Reinventing experience and loyalty

Sometimes you need to reinvent yourself if you want to be a leader in your industry. T-Mobile decided to take on the established carriers (which they affectionately called “dumb”, “dumber”, and the other) to re-invent an industry they felt had lost sight of the customer and had become very complicated and arrogant.

According to Nick Drake, SVP of Digital, T-Mobile started a gutsy journey to become the “un-carrier” by launching a series of product and contract moves that completely changed how the industry worked and treated its customers. In total they launched 13 “un-carrier moves” that did away with annual service contracts, overages, upgrade runarounds, video streaming limits, global roaming fees and meaningless loyalty rewards.

The new frontier of competition moved from network coverage to customer experience. After investing in 320 million access points, their coverage map is now 99% of what Verizon’s is. They quickly turned their focus on the customer. T-Mobile needed to better understand who their audience is and how to interact with them across segments to allow their product offerings to continually be re-invented and customized.

The results have been surprising. T-Mobile has seen its subscriber base grow from 33 million to 72 million since 2013. T-Mobile expects double-digit service revenue growth in 2017 while their competitors expect a decline.

To accomplish this, T-Mobile redesigned their experience from the ground up using the Adobe Marketing Cloud. They were able to reduce 60% of the clicks in their path to purchase and drive a higher level of engagement through personalized content. They were able to deliver personalization at scale where content optimization that used to take days can now be accomplished in minutes. Prospect conversion and lead generation increased by 3x with a staggering 500% increase in lead conversion.

From a service point of view, T-Mobile completely redesigned their mobile app to provide better self-service and introduced a new capability called asynchronous messaging (basically a form of text messages for customer service). The app allowed customers to connect in a personal conversation with customer service reps. An app that was 1.2 stars turned to a best in industry 4.5 stars in 3 months.

They partnered with Uber Rush to provided same day delivery service of items ordered in their online store. Their goal was to deliver any T-Mobile product to a customer in less than 3 hours. But being the over-achieving T-Mobile, they were able to get this down to a staggering 23 minutes.

Emotion is the currency of experience

Experiences have real impact on how people feel and act. Experiences are becoming more fluid, rich and immersive. Making experience your business means more than just designing elegant content and managing interactions in milliseconds. Experience is about the emotional connection you create with a brand. It’s for you to become the brand ambassadors for your experience and create experiences that have emotional impact for your customers. That’s how you become and experience business.

Frank Palermo

Executive Vice President - Global Digital Solutions, Virtusa. Frank Palermo brings more than 24 years of experience in technology leadership across a wide variety of technical products and platforms. Frank has a wealth of experience in leading global teams in large scale, transformational application and product development programs. In his current role at Virtusa, Frank heads the Global Technical Solutions Group which contains many of Virtusa’s specialized technical competency areas such as Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (DWBI). The group is responsible for creating an overall go-to-market strategy, developing technical competencies and standards, and delivering IP based Solutions for each of these practice areas. Frank also leads an emerging technology group that is responsible for incubating new solutions in areas such as mobile computing, social solutions and cloud computing. Frank is also responsible for overseeing all of the Partner Channels as well as Analyst Relations for the firm. Prior to joining Virtusa, Frank was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Decorwalla, an emerging B2B marketplace in the interior design industry, where he was responsible for the overall technology strategy, creative direction, and site development and deployment. Prior to that, Frank was CTO and VP of Engineering for INSCI Corporation, a supplier of digital document repositories and integrated output management products and services. Prior to INSCI, Frank worked at IBM in the Advanced Workstations Division, and took part in the PowerPC consortium with IBM, Motorola and Apple. He was also involved in the design of the PowerPC family of microprocessors as well as architecting and developing a massive distributed client/server design automation and simulation system involving thousands of high-end clustered servers. Frank received several patents for his work in the area of microprocessor design and distributed client/server computing. Frank holds a BSEE degree from Northeastern University and completed advanced studies at the University of Texas.

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