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Highlights from the 2021 Adobe Summit

April 29, 2021 By: Alex Torres

The 2021 Adobe Summit raised important questions about how companies will adapt to the digital transformations accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Panelists from across the globe explored topics in areas such as B2B marketing, ABM, collaborative work management in hybrid environments, content creation, developer ecosystems, digital commerce, and personalization.

Here’s a look at some highlights from the conference, including a deep dive into Quantum Metric CEO Mario Ciabarra’s conversation with Paul Fipps, Under Armour’s former Chief Experience Officer. 

The Shift to Digital First

In the past year, much of the in-person economy has shifted to the digital world. For brands, it’s important to recognize “the power of the connections you can make digitally are real and fulfilling,” according to Dara Treseder, SVP and Head of Global Marketing at Peloton.

As our world continues making the turn to digital first, companies will need to realize that loyalty is an emotion, according to Stephanie Bannos, Global Head of CX at Rightpoint. “Every company is an experience company,” Bannos explained. “Insert emotion into your customer experience.” Bannos said that companies will need to focus on great storytelling, delivering on their brand’s promise, and offering authentic representations of a brand and its people. 

For certain companies, the pandemic accelerated trends that were already occurring. According to FedEx President and COO Raj Subramaniam, “When the pandemic came along, the e-commerce market really boomed and put an exclamation point in our strategy. Digital Innovation has been in our DNA from the get-go.”

Google Eliminates Third-Party Cookies and the Future of Data

Google is eliminating third-party cookies, but that doesn’t mean data is over. 

“The next decade will be the decade of data,” suggested Haris Hadziselimovic, Marketing IT Director at Dell Technologies. “We can get the right insights and outcomes, and turn that into the delivery for our customers.” The major shift for some companies, according to Hadziselimovic, is that “the customer will…be at the forefront of what we do.”

Google’s decision to end third-party cookies sparked conversation as well. Erin Davis, a Senior Product Manager at Adobe, suggested that companies should be the “custodian, not owner of user data.” When it comes to the news and media business, “Publishers will have the ability to capture rich behavioral data,” Ryan Fleisch, Head of Product Marketing for Adobe’s Real-Time CDP and Manager Solutions, said. This means that companies should still be using first-party data across their properties to ensure they are delivering a standout customer experience. 

For example, Sunil Rao, VP and GM of Consumer Goods at Salesforce, suggested that companies should use first-person data and customer profiles to deliver better site visits, email promotions, and paid media activation, which can all boost in-person conversion. 

Companies across every vertical will take advantage of the elimination of third-party cookies to offer more personalized services. “At large organizations data is fragmented at many different places,” Ram Parthasarathy, Group Project Manager at Adobe, pointed out. This means that organizations will need to invest in platforms like Quantum Metric to align teams around the customer data that matters–data that is tied to important metrics such as revenue and conversion rates.

IT is from Venus, Business is from Mars: How to Align Teams

On the first day of the conference, Quantum Metric CEO Mario Ciabarra met with Paul Fipps, Under Armour’s former Chief Experience Officer. 

In the conversation, Ciabarra and Fipps discussed how Under Armour has benefited from partnering with Quantum Metric to replatform their old website and continue improving the new one, based on real-time signals and actual customer data.

“Iterating our products based on customer feedback is something we have done for millennia,” Ciabarra explained. “These are what the best organizations have figured out to replicate on digital.” 

For companies that want to act like Airbnb, Spotify, and other top tech companies, Ciabarra explained, one option is to adapt Quantum Metric’s methodology, known as Continuous Product Design, which helps teams real with confidence, learn faster, and align around the customer.

Under Armour offers the most popular suite of fitness and health apps on the planet, in addition to its e-commerce business. Fipps explained that the company is “bringing the customer to the center of everything we do” and “creating memorable experiences for customers.” 

When Under Armour decided to replatform its site in July 2020, the company partnered with Quantum Metric to ensure that they were delivering an outstanding “end-to-end customer journey.” With Quantum Metric’s help, Under Armour was in a better position to think about “the power of storytelling and experience on the website” and across different devices, including mobile, tablet, and desktop. 

For Fipps, the largest challenge of an omnichannel experience is that it’s never just one thing that stops working. It would be easy to address a broken API, Fipps pointed out. But it’s usually more complicated than that. Problems are usually related to a specific device, Fipps said. To illustrate the challenge, he explained that, in one real-life scenario, certain devices couldn’t complete transitions on PayPal, which was negatively impacting revenue and conversion rates.

“We used Quantum Metric to surface those in real time,” Fipps explained. “The real-time nature of a tool that gives you a deep understanding of the experience for 1 person and at scale is how you find it and fix it–and most importantly, make sure that the customer is having a great experience.”

Quantum Metric has helped turn the organization into a more collaborative culture that really empathizes with the customer. “Teams can figure out what products they need to launch to reach those initiatives,” Fipps said, referring to business goals. Gone are the days where product teams take wild guesses at what customers actually want.

At Under Armour, it’s no longer about submitting anonymous tickets when problems rise. IT’s about “empowering people” with platforms like Quantum Metric and “creating an environment where people can do their best work.” 


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