Introduction to the Adobe Experience Platform - Part 1

30 Aug 2020 » MSA

If you have been using Adobe Experience Cloud (AEC) tools lately, you will have heard more than a few times the new kid in town, the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP). I first heard about it 3 years ago, when it was just an initial idea. Now it is with us and I am sure many do not yet understand it.

Before I start to talk about the AEP, I want to clarify that what I will explain is my view. If you have been following my blog, my aim is to simplify Adobe technology or translate it in simple terms, so that it can be easily understood by a wider audience. In this post, I will do the same with the AEP. This is not Adobe’s presentation of the tool.

With that said, let’s crack on!

Segmentation and personalisation today

I am trying to incorporate the habit of starting with the why or the problem we are trying to solve. One way of framing this problem is to start with the history of the AEC.

This blog is about digital marketing. The goal of digital marketing is to send messages through digital channels to the (potential) consumers of the products or services a company sells. And we do not want to just send the same message (i.e. spam) to everybody, we want to send the message that will resonate the most with the recipient. The more accurate the message, the most likely the recipient will convert. This is what we call segmentation and personalisation:

  • Segmentation. Out of the total population, choose a subset that is of interest.
  • Personalisation. Once I know which population I am addressing, I want to customise the message to what is more familiar to them.

We have been doing this for many years now. If you use Adobe tools, you would do it as follows, depending on the channel:

  • On-site and in-app personalisation. Adobe Target is your tool. It offers its own segmentation tool, including AI capabilities, or it can use Audience Manager segments. You also create the personalisation within the tool, with the Visual Experience Composer.
  • Display advertising. Audience Manager is king creating segments in this space. Then, with AdCloud, you manage the personalisation, assigning the creatives to the previous segments.
  • Email, SMS, push notifications. In this case, Adobe Campaign will be your friend. It can create segments based on any profile attribute you have in the tool and it can personalise the messages, based also on these profile attributes.

Many Adobe clients have been using these tools for years and have reached the highest maturity with each of them.

Integrations between tools

Once Adobe clients became masters in each tool individually, they asked us: “what’s next?” The answer was fairly simple: combine the tools to create cohesive marketing campaigns across all channels. My main tasks when I worked as an Adobe Multi-Solution Architect (MSA) was precisely this.

Some examples of these integrations are:

  • Use AEM Assets as the central asset repository for all contents, and use them in emails, in web personalisations, in apps…
  • Rely on Adobe Analytics for all reporting: optimisation, emails, web, app.
  • Use Audience Manager segments in Target, Analytics and, even, Campaign.
  • In optimisation activities, start analysing the data in Analytics, create the segments in Audience Manager, create the tests in Target and analyse the results again in Analytics.

Single view of the customer

Due to historical reasons, we have visitor and customer information in all Adobe solutions and some Core Services. Each of these tools has only a fraction of the profile and event data. By integrating the Adobe solutions, you will be able to share this information between them and achieve a single view of the consumer. However, there is so much you can do by integrating tools.

Let’s consider the following example.

A retail bank wants to send a promotional message with a pre-approved home insurance to the following population:

  • Existing customer of the bank
  • Living in UK
  • Paying a mortgage
  • Has made one of:
    • visited the website 3 times in the last month looking for home insurances
    • clicked on an email with generic information about home insurances
    • made a phone call to the call centre to ask about home insurances
  • Has not visited a branch during the last 6 months
  • With more than £50K in their bank account
  • Shows a high propensity score to click on the message

This message will be sent via push notification if the customer has used the bank app in the last 30 days; otherwise, via email.

This is possible, but not straight forward. You will need a combination of various Adobe and non-Adobe tools to accomplish this campaign:

  • Profile data from a CRM system
  • Web and email event data (Adobe Analytics and Adobe Campaign)
  • Call centre records
  • A system to track visits to branches
  • A tool to calculate propensity scores

Finally, you will need to make the necessary integrations to make all this data available to Adobe Campaign

A better solution

Granted, you can achieve your objective with some clever integrations and tools. But, is there a better way to do this? Well, you have probably guessed it, yes. The solution is the Adobe Experience Platform, a single place to keep all the profile data and cleverly manipulate it.

Since this post is already getting too long, I will get into the details of this new tool in the next one.