As many of you may know, Adobe has been a part of my life for quite a long time. When I was not studying for my engineering degree, I was playing with my “creative stack” composed of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. However, I was certainly one of the few trying to figure out how to develop InDesign templates via XML solutions (please message me if you did so too).
A few years later, a company called Neolane knocked on my door. I had no idea back then, joining in 2011, that I would be part of the digital experience business shortly after. Neolane became Adobe’s newest acquisition to build what is today the largest marketing cloud solution for organizations. Adobe Campaign — now known as Adobe Campaign Classic or ACC — was born as Adobe’s fourth acquisition for its marketing cloud which started in 2009 with Omniture (Adobe Analytics) and Offermatica (Adobe Target).
If you’ve tried yourself, you know how difficult it can be to integrate different technologies — and you understand why it’s not been a smooth ride for Adobe to integrate these acquired technologies over the past decade, all while continuing to innovate.
The Challenges of Building the Ideal Tech Stack
Not long ago, the question asked by enterprise organizations was: “Should I deploy marketing technology on premise or in the cloud?” or “should I build or buy my tech?” Digital transformation was in every slide and in every conversation.
You’ve witnessed how fast marketing technology software options on the market have reproduced since the early 2000s, and how complex the customer journey has become. Sure, a few channels are gone (can you believe that the “Fax” channel remained available in Adobe Campaign until 2021?) but so many have been added with mobile push, Facebook, Tiktok, etc.
Sending the right message at the right time via the right channel is still the same goal, but with an exponentially increased complexity to succeed.
And if organizations are doing their best to keep up and deliver omnichannel experiences, Gartner finds 42% of martech stacks are potentially being wasted or underleveraged.
The biggest question today — especially in times of uncertainty — has become: how do I make the best use of what I’ve already invested in?
The right choice matters: only by constantly evaluating and choosing the right technology to add to the stack can brands derive value in a timely manner and deliver consistent and personalized customer experiences.
Choosing the Right CDP for Your Adobe Stack
There’s no doubt that Adobe Experience Cloud has left an important footprint in the marketing stack of enterprise organizations.
Today, a lot of these same organizations are finding gaps which can be solved by the adoption of a customer data platform (CDP) technology. In some cases, CDPs are evaluated to help build a centralized and single view of the customer — also known as a customer 360. In other cases, the primary driver is to replace a data management platform (DMP), already diminished in value and set to disappear with the deprecation of third-party cookies.
Adobe Experience Platform is the Obvious Choice. Or is it?
No matter the primary driver in your CDP quest, for enterprises using one or more tools of the Adobe Experience Cloud, it’s not surprising that Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) and its Real-Time Customer Data Platform (RTCDP) come to mind as the CDP solution to add to your martech stack.
But is it the right choice? While being an “Adobe shop” and adding AEP to an Adobe-heavy stack might sound like a good option, analysts are advising against this “all-in-one” strategy. Analysts are referring to these marketing cloud CDPs as “feature-thin and structurally underdeveloped,” leading to a lower stack effectiveness as a whole.
Underestimating the benefits of evaluating alternatives and instead going further down the path with Adobe is a guarantee to definitely lock your stack in one direction, increasing your dependency on a single vendor. Innovation could be threatened, and cost saving opportunities missed.
Last but not least, even if you own the entire Adobe suite, you most likely still own non-Adobe technology, right? Whether it’s home-built solutions, Salesforce CRM or activating on non-Adobe channels, you certainly have a number of non-Adobe solutions you would be looking to seamlessly integrate into your customer data stack.
If Not Adobe’s CDP, Then Which One?
The CDP market is still evolving very rapidly (explore our market guide for customer data platforms) with the emergence of new deployment solutions for organizations via composable CDPs. We are expecting an increased adoption of composable CDPs for enterprise organizations that not only invested in Adobe technologies, but also invested in consolidating their data in a cloud data warehouse such as Snowflake, Databricks or Amazon Redshift.
The ideal solution should seamlessly integrate the Adobe products in your stack (Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Marketo Engage, etc.) with your non-Adobe tools, but also give you flexibility to switch components if you want to. No matter whether the reason is performance, cost, innovation or a mix of all these reasons.
As we will share soon in another blog post (yes, this is a teaser) be aware that not all integrations are created equal!
In order to help with your evaluation, I suggest following these three steps:
- Identify what are the jobs to be done with your stack: i.e., customer data source of truth, identity resolution, profile attribute definition, audience segmentation, modeling, orchestration, delivery, real-time, analytics, web personalization, etc.
- Audit where these jobs are completed today: i.e., Adobe Analytics for digital data collection, Adobe Campaign for “known” audience segmentation, Adobe Audience Management for “anonymous” audience segmentation, Adobe Target for web personalization, etc.
- Define where these jobs would be accomplished with your CDP in place: you will likely want all the audience segmentation to be centralized in your CDP, for example. As much as possible, you want to reduce capabilities duplication and having to go through multiple tools for the same “job to be done.”
ActionIQ to Increase the Value of Your Investment
More than half of ActionIQ’s customers are using at least one of the Adobe Experience Cloud products today.
So instead of selecting the number one vendor in your martech stack today, you might want to consider ActionIQ, the number one CDP vendor in customer satisfaction, according to Advertiser Perception.
Adobe is offering great technology and we are proudly helping enterprise organizations increase the value of these investments by seamlessly integrating with the different Adobe Experience Cloud products.
Even better, ActionIQ is offering complete flexibility in the deployment of the CDP: bundled, composable or hybrid. It means that we can help you wherever you are in your cloud technology investments in general and partner with you to build a modern and future-proof customer data stack.
My journey with Adobe is far from being over, and so is yours. But in the enterprise business, exclusive relationships with a single vendor are rarely the most rewarding. Innovation and revenue will come from a strong partnership ecosystem.
Learn More About How ActionIQ Supports Your Existing Stack
Learn more about our integrations with Adobe by downloading our solution brief: Increase the Value of Your Adobe Stack With ActionIQ and chat with our experts!