The CEO of Adobe says every business must think of itself as a subscription model which customers can cancel at any time

Picture: Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen at Adobe Summit March 27, 2018, in Las Vegas. Supplied.

  • Businesses can no longer rely on products as a point of difference.
  • Successful companies today must build their brands on experiences.
  • These companies investing are seeing 36% faster revenue growth rates.

  • If there is one key challenge for businesses in 2018, it’s that products are no longer a point of difference you can rely on for customer retention, according to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.

    Speaking at the 2018 Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, Narayen said the most successful companies today are building their brands on experiences.

    “It involves every business thinking of themselves as a subscription model, knowing that every consumer can choose to renew, cancel or grow at every instant, with every click,” Narayen said.

    “When you look at the [key] experiences in your life, you might remember over time some of the details, but it’s the overall experience that stays with you, evoking feelings that create lasting memories, build affinity, and keeps us chasing that experience over and over again.

    “These feelings influence the choices we make, where we spend our money, where we spend our time, and who we give our loyalty to.”

    He says the challenge is changing the way companies interact with customers –- online and offline –- because the successful ones have figured out that “experiences rise above everything else.”

    Adobe showcased its work with Tourism Australia on the Crocodile Dundee Superbowl ad, with Tourism Australia boss John O’Sullivan telling the Vegas crowd how his team used data to inform the campaign strategy.

    “What it’s really about is using data to be more efficient and more effective….we are using analytics to really help us make better decisions,” he said.

    But O’Sullivan said the decision to run the $36 million campaign was easy, and he’s confident it will take audiences “back to a concept we know North Americans love, but also link it to the new Australia and talk about some of the new attributes and experiences of the country”.

    Picture: John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia (L), speaks with Brad Rencher, EVP and GM of Adobe Experience Cloud, during Adobe Summit on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, in Las Vegas. Supplied.

    “Businesses must now deliver great experiences to win in this increasingly competitive world; competing for the hearts and minds of all their customers and exceeding the ever increasing expectations that consumers have during every point in the journey,” Narayen said.

    “It means transforming how we operate as a business, being always on, knowing everything about the customer and anticipating the future across every device, channel and moment.”

    According the research conducted by Adobe in partnership with Forrester, companies investing in experiences had 36% faster revenue growth rates.

    “Compelling and intuitive experiences are an absolutely proven competitive advantage,” Narayen said.

    Picture: Adobe’s Brad Rencher presenting Forrester research at Adobe Summit, Las Vegas. Photo by Kate Allan.

    “To build these experiences you mist re-wire the entire enterprise for intelligence, and it starts with data.”

    However, Narayen admits data alone is not enough, if a company isn’t equipped to interpret it, gain commercially viable insights and used that information to drive decision making.

    Adobe this week unveiled the next generation of the Adobe Cloud Platform, powered by the artificial intelligence machine learning engine, “Adobe Sensei.”

    Sensei can now do anything from suggest the most engaging image based on historical customer data to map out the most effective media buying strategy based on global inventory –- and all through voice commands.

    “Today’s modern enterprise needs a new system of record – one that can manage and make sense of the high volume of content and data,” said Brad Rencher, executive vice president, Digital Experience Business, Adobe.

    Also speaking at the summit, Rencher said that too much of the legacy software infrastructure that companies use is inadequate for processing the volume and velocity of the trillions of data transactions they see each year.

    Another upgrade announced at the Summit was the Adobe Advertising Cloud Creative, a self-serve platform for Adobe customers that uses the Sensei AI framework to “optimise the relevance and performance of search, display and video ads across all screens”.

    “It’s a far more complex wold than when Adobe was first started,” Shantanu Narayen said.

    “It isn’t just about a webpage or mobile app, it’s actually now anything that has a surface or a screen or a digital interface.”

    *This author traveled to Las Vegas as a guest of Adobe.

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