Are you an “experience-business”? Three reasons why you should be

The Adobe Symposium is an annual event, now in its sixth year, dedicated to the world of digital marketing. This year’s event, held recently in Sydney, boasted the largest audience yet, because, well, digital transformation.

While much of the program was geared towards the large enterprise end of town, a particular theme was explored that should be made a focus for any business navigating the challenges in digital marketing, which is pretty much all of us.

That theme was ‘experience’.

Experience is the new competition

‘Digital experiences are supposed to blow our mind but some of them go completely unnoticed. And they must work, flawlessly and beautifully.’ – Shantanu Narayen, chief executive, Adobe

With new expressions such as ‘entertailing’ and ‘shopertainment’ (yes, these are actual words now), businesses are trying to capture and maintain customer engagement, and this is about staying competitive by giving your customers a valuable digital experience.

People today share a growing maturity for moments over material, and the focus for businesses now should be to stop selling products or services, and realise that they’re selling experiences, an appetite for which has been fuelled by the explosion in mobile use.

The answers are still in the cloud

Going digital used to be as simple as moving from print to digital, but today it’s more complex than it’s ever been before.

Adobe, which “helped revolutionise the desktop publishing era”, wants to turn paper-based businesses into 100% digital workflows using processing power and the power of data analytics.

This means bringing together content and data with the right intelligence and integration of all your document and creative production needs. And while the Adobe product offering can be pretty price-prohibitive to a lot of smaller businesses, the central truth is sound: get your processes streamlined and integrated and stop balancing 17 pots on the one stovetop.

Be invisible

Getting rid of paper-dependent workflows that relied on forms, invoice books, in-trays and so on was the first wave of digital transformation, and it was a slow process that is still unfolding in many businesses.

The second wave took the sales process from a rolodex full of contacts and a wallet full of business cards and put it online into customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

We’re at the beginning of the third wave of transformation now, and while the previous two were about us, making our lives better, and bringing efficiency to our businesses, it’s now about the people out there, says Brad Rencher, Adobe’s executive vice-president and general manager of digital marketing.

This means developing your business so that customers don’t even know that you exist; connecting them so that people can engage in the way they want to, on their terms, and getting the right content to the right person at right time.

Are you an experience-business? Adobe’s checklist for finding out:

  • You put people first. You’re able to see what an experience-business looks like through the eyes of your customer.
  • You know your customers and you respect them. You anticipate and predict what they’re looking for.
  • You speak in one voice. The image you project is always in context and you deliver a relevant message.
  • The technology is transparent; customers get to set the terms of their interaction.
  • You delight the customer at every turn. An experience-business knows that our expectations change rapidly and what delights us today may be ‘meh’ tomorrow.

Ask yourself:

“Is our company at risk of moving slower than our competitors? Do we have the right platform, the right people? Or is technology and process getting in our way?”

SmartCompany was a guest of this year’s Adobe Symposium.

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