A guide to implementing Adobe Experience Platform for Enterprises

Most experience leaders will be familiar with Adobe Experience Cloud - Adobe’s cohesive ecosystem of applications and tools specifically designed to address today’s need for personalized customer experiences at scale.

Against a backdrop of evolving data privacy regulations, the need to overcome data siloes, and counteract cookie loss, brands need a customer experience management solution that centralizes customer data to offer a user experience that is both thoughtful and relevant.

Enter Adobe Experience Platform. This is a centralized data foundation that will become the heart of the state-of-the-art Adobe Experience Cloud suite.

As a trusted digital partner at the right hand of Adobe, with expertise in AEP implementations for leading global brands, we’re here to guide you through Adobe Experience Platform and how your business could benefit from it today.

What is AEP?

Adobe Experience Platform is an open platform for customer experience management that has the unique ability to stitch together data from multiple sources and channels with ease and process that data into a 360 customer profile view and comprehensive marketing audiences. This can then be activated in milliseconds to drive hyper-personalized offerings across all marketing channels and devices on a vast scale. This is delivered within a marketer-friendly UI which can improve collaboration and cut delivery time for data-driven marketing campaigns.

The three powerful applications built on the AEP data layer

The launch of AEP has proved transformative for extracting the most value from existing AEC applications. But Adobe has also rolled out a set of applications built natively on Experience Platform, providing advanced tools for insights, engagement, audience creation and activation, omnichannel customer journey analysis, and journey optimization.

Adobe Real-Time CDP

Real-time CDP is a single solution from which to create and manage B2C, B2B, and hybrid customer profiles. Real-time profiles are ready for activation across any channel - so marketers can prospect new customers, enrich top-of-funnel experiences, and optimize audience targeting to counteract cookie loss.

For example: You are a multi-national pharmaceutical brand, selling both to customers and other brands like marketplaces, with physical shops and a digital store. Following the pandemic, you’re witnessing rapid digital transformation in the life sciences sector, and want to stay competitive. But with such an array of audiences in different regions and so much customer data being generated, you’re struggling to personalize your offerings at scale. You use Adobe Real-Time CDP to capture offline and online data, stitch together in-store buyer behaviors, consultations with your B2B clients, order cancellation and return data, call center information, and email campaign engagement with online behavioral data from web & app. Now you can access detailed profiles for every customer, whether B2C or B2B, from a single hub and act on insights across channels right away on a mass scale.

Adobe Customer Journey Analytics

Customer Journey Analytics, built directly on AEP, is a cross-channel analytics tool that equips marketers with an up-to-the-minute view of individual customers, preferences, and behaviors. This analysis is instantly customizable, allowing brands to recognize trends, understand cause and effect when it comes to customer interactions, and visualize end-to-end journeys - with the added power of embedded AI services.

For example: You are a fashion brand focused on e-commerce as a key sales funnel. With data-mature disruptors entering the market, you want to optimize your online fashion house based on deep data analysis to make sure you’re serving up the pieces your audience wants, and presenting them in a way that appeals. You use Adobe Customer Journey Analytics to analyze site entry and exit data, as well as in-store footfall, and link that to specific product metadata to determine the most successful product descriptions, your audience’s favorite type of image, and the types of products that are flying off the digital shelf. CJA can weave together data from offline touchpoints such as in-store purchases and call center feedback, which marketers wouldn’t have access to with regular web analytics tools. This intelligence becomes the basis for modifications not only to product text and photos but also for future clothing lines that data shows will sell. Additionally, it can serve as a regular mass email-sending engine to deliver newsletters and transactional communications.

Adobe Journey Optimizer

Journey Optimizer, also natively built on AEP, is an application for the management of cross-channel campaigns, helping boost audience engagement on a mass scale. With AJO, brands can orchestrate and automate the customer journey based on real-time behavior, contextual changes, or business signals. This tool is enhanced by AI-driven intelligent decisioning and insights, so you can be certain you are always delivering the best messaging, offer, or interaction for specific audiences. For this, AEP’s “Offer decisioning” service is leveraged, which scales up to thousands of offers making sure to deliver the right content (or offer) to the right person and the right time.

For example: You’re a tourism brand looking to re-engage a previous customer as they enter a new location - Sydney, Australia. You know travelers are jetlagged, and overwhelmed with options and travel services available to them, so you recognize the importance of only delivering communications that are truly relevant. You leverage Adobe Journey Optimizer to activate location-based communications, using geotags from the mobile app they downloaded on their last trip to pinpoint where they are in the city. You use that information to deliver a hyper-personalized email guide to watersports in the harbor and waterside restaurants, delivered at just the right time, showing an awareness of their previous preference for vegan cuisine and canoeing whilst on holiday. The customer re-engages and is brought back into the funnel.

The key features of Adobe’s Experience Platform

Real-time customer profiles

The central hub of AEP is the customer profile. You can think of the profile as a home for all the information we know about a certain user and how they have interacted with our digital marketing and even offline channels in one unified view.

With 50% of marketing executives still using multiple technologies/vendors for customer experience management without a unifying platform, a single source of your truth for customer data could help set you apart from your competitors when it comes to meeting user needs and complying with data privacy and governance regulations.

Within the AEP customer profile, record data tells us who the customer is, through metadata that is usually static and descriptive. This is where we find information like a customer’s name, email, age, gender, and other demographics or descriptors.

Then, time series data tells us about the customer’s behavior, with a catalog of actions that the user has taken. This will include data points related to a user’s actions like abandoning a shopping cart, subscribing to a newsletter, or using a customer support chatbot.

The profile is constantly updated from multiple data sources. Marketers can shape the data that they collect, defining which events to record in the time series or properties that shape the record data.

Advanced data ingestion

89% of senior executives believe customer expectations are constantly resetting, driven up by ever more connected omnichannel experiences. That means last year’s data may simply not be relevant for designing offers for 2024. In fact, studies show that Gen Z customers share their preference data, and 83% expect to reap the benefits of personalization in communications from that brand within just one day.

Data and events from a user’s interactions with a brand are usually available in AEP within seconds. The data object within the customer profile is continuously updated using a simple HTTP POST request to the digital channel, just like how Adobe Analytics collects data.

But AEP can also ingest batches of customer data at pace, and join the dots between associated data sets from different sessions and different channels. This means you can recognize returning users based on contextual clues regardless of their authentication state or changes to their identifiers - for instance if they have not interacted with your brand for many years and may have changed their name, IP address, or device.

With AEP, brands can collect and channel granular event-level data into customer-defined destinations and other Adobe applications, reducing reliance on third-party cookies. AEP can gather data from user interactions on digital channels, but also from offline sources and then push that data to inform workflows within and outside AEP.

Actionable segments with a marketer-friendly UI

An essential component of personalization is segmentation. This is when using certain heuristics, we build segments or categories of users, then define and deliver content targeted to these segments - for instance via Adobe Target. Adobe’s Real Time Customer Data Platform can then export that segment data to external services like other marketing technology, social media, and CRM (customer relationship management) software.

When it comes to segments, this could be as broad as targeting business travelers over 50, or as narrow as women who live in New York, in the 30-35 age range, who work from home, have children, and are considering purchasing a baby monitor. Within AEP, we can create actionable segments for activation in any channel, including low latency use within Experience Platform Edge Network.

Using AEP and Adobe Journey Optimizer, marketers can manage offers and promotions for that segment. For instance, when a user browses a website, AEP can connect to AJO and retrieve the best offer for this user based on their entire profile or the segment they fit within. If multiple offers fit a user, AJO can rank them based on offer priority or offer fit to the user, or even optimize them based on AI.

Why you should consider an AEP Business Integration

When it comes to building creative experiences and managing vast volumes of diverse data, AEP adds value immediately. Let’s break down what AEP could bring to your business:

True MarTech integration in the Adobe Experience Cloud

Half of experience leaders say they are held back by a lack of integration between their various tech systems. AEP bridges that gap. It can help you access the most value from other applications including those within the Adobe Experience Cloud. all AEC applications share audiences from AEP seamlessly.

If you are already using products such as Adobe Target, Adobe Audience Manager, or Adobe Launch, AEP has native integrations for deeper consumer insights and customer experiences. With Adobe Analytics, AEP leverages analysis workspace to visualize and analyze any data within AEP.

This means that all transactions and behavioral data can be processed, segmented, and reported via analysis workspace regardless of the source (1st party, 2nd party, or 3rd party data). This provides shared insights and helps brands overcome data silos, streamlining how you create experiences.

Sophisticated governance

As technology evolves, so will the laws and rules which regulate it. Data governance may have begun as a role for one person, typically a data steward of some kind, but today it requires constant input and monitoring from multiple business areas in order to stay successful and compliant. As data laws evolve both on an industry and national level, the expansion of data governance will continue.

AEP brings enormous business value by helping brands navigate regulatory landscapes, market responsibly to their audiences, honor customer preferences, and manage data retention. It can offer out-of-the-box solutions for complying with data privacy and governance regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, as well as industry-specific regulations like HIPAA for the health industry. Central data governance and privacy policies can be created and managed within the cloud and then applied to workflows and applications automatically.

This can minimize the use of inappropriate or non-compliant data with automated warnings - so you can be sure your data adheres with your company’s privacy policy, your customers’ preferences for how you use their information, and international regulations.

Extensibility of the Adobe Experience Platform

AEP is a fully open and extensible platform.

This means it acts as a data foundation on which partners and data engineers can build custom integrations and applications, depending on their specific business requirements and drivers. This could mean building new customized cloud applications to enhance product performance or simply integrating AEP into your stack using REST APIs, WebSDK, and streaming integrations.

The API-first philosophy of this low latency extensible platform means businesses can implement AEP rapidly, and then make adjustments to help them evolve over time.

State-of-the-art intelligence

AEP offers your business the chance to integrate machine learning modeling throughout the experience creation process. For instance, experience leaders are increasingly using AI to build the next generation of virtual assistants.

At Netcentric, we recently built a virtual travel assistant called Solari - a data-enhanced chatbot that proactively guides users through a conversation, revealing their unique travel preferences and ultimately recommending several personalized travel packages. It integrates Cognizant Netcentric’s conversational AI solution with Adobe Experience Platform and Journey Optimizer technologies.

While in the past, custom models would have to be imported externally, AEP has this capability built-in, reducing the time from data science to model execution and insights. This means you will be prepared to provide the relevant experiences at exactly the right moment.

Real-time experience-building with AEP

A third of experience leaders still don’t have the real-time data they need to understand the customer at the individual level. In today’s digital landscape, marketers are struggling to access up-to-the-minute information about their audiences. This is made worse by the widespread blocking of third-party cookies, which for many organizations was a key source for collecting user data and intelligently targeting users. Therefore, counteracting cookie loss remains a key priority for many marketers.

But even when they do hold quality, proprietary data about their customers, it’s then about what they do with that data and how quickly you can leverage it to make a difference. Historically, data sets in different formats were not able to be combined and activated, meaning customer data could not be fully monetized. What’s more, if you wanted to push a segment to the Experience Cloud, this could take up to 48 hours to process and put in front of your customer. In that time, that interaction could have become irrelevant.

With AEP, data actioning and stitching take just seconds. It’s experience building, in real-time, on the edge.

A trusted partner for your AEP journey

It’s clear to see: Adobe Experience Platform is opening new doors for experience businesses. With changing legislation around customer data, a decline in reliance on third-party cookies, and rising customer expectations, brands must level up their data management to compete. By simplifying these data management processes, marketers can take action with ease and stay agile.

At Cognizant Netcentric, we are a digital partner that’s ready, able, and keen to help you unleash the power of Adobe Experience Platform. Our digital experts and engineers have worked with brands all over the world to deliver extraordinary customer experiences in real time. As of April 2024, we earned an official Adobe Specialization in Real-Time Customer Data Platforms. When combined with a close relationship with Adobe, this means we’re your trusted partner for your AEP journey in 2024.

Talk to Cognizant Netcentric today about how to make real-time personalization a reality with Adobe Experience Platform.

Frequently asked questions

What is Adobe Experience Platform?
An advanced data foundation that streamlines the connection and collaboration between your customer experience applications — including your Experience Cloud applications. It joins together data from multiple sources, standardizes and processes it, to help brands action insights instantly, with the end goal of personalization at scale.

What are the key features of Adobe Experience Platform?

How does Adobe Experience Platform integrate with other Adobe products?
AEP integrates seamlessly with your existing tech stack, with Experience Cloud products and applications as well as others, to make a comprehensive experience technology stack. AEP’s data foundation can be leveraged by other applications that use its datasets, profiles, and audiences for more advanced marketing functions. It also integrates with Adobe Analytics, Target, and Campaigns to supercharge existing applications.

What types of businesses can benefit most from using Adobe Experience Platform?
Any business looking to carry out scalable personalization will benefit from using Adobe Experience Platform. Brands that currently work across siloed platforms and tools for their experience needs will also see real benefits when implementing AEP as a central hub for their data. Finally, those who want to enhance the depth, quality, and usability of their data will see business results from AEP.

Can Adobe Experience Platform scale to meet the needs of enterprise teams?
Yes. AEP is cloud-based and extensible, meaning it can be adapted to deliver on the business KPIs of all kinds and all sizes of enterprises. This means it can easily be scaled as marketing operations grow, so marketers can expand without infrastructure limitations.