“People Buy Experiences, Not Just Products”: Adobe CEO

“People Buy Experiences, Not Just Products”: Adobe CEO

Adobe’s annual Symposium kicked off in Sydney this morning with a keynote by the company’s president and CEO on what it takes for brands and businesses to build a great experience.

Shantanu Narayen said the fundamental truth and challenge that’s facing every business today is consumers are no longer just buying products, but experiences.

“Products used to be the basis of differentiation, but not anymore,” he told attendees.

“Businesses must now deliver these great experiences to win in an increasingly competitive world because you’re competing with the hearts and minds of your customers, and their expectations are ever-increasing at every point of the journey.

“I think it involves operating your business with a subscription mindset, knowing that customers can choose to renew or cancel at any point with every click.

“And I think it means transforming how you operate internally as a business – always on, knowing the past, and anticipating the future across every device, channel and moment.”

Narayen identified three key things for businesses looking to build a great experience, the first being that you have to design for brilliance.

“Design is not anymore just the way something looks – it’s about the engagement that you actually have with your customers,” he said.

“We think that all great experiences start with great design – that spark of creativity combined with a clear purpose brings together a great experience to life.”

Shantanu Narayen (Adobe Symposium 2018) [1]

“You need intelligence, because intelligence will speed [up] the learning process, it’ll notice anomalies, it’ll identify customer pain points, and it’ll infer and predict intent,” he said.

“Intelligence has to turn this data into insights, so that you can take the right action quickly, and that’s when we think the real magic happens.”

The final ingredient for creating a great experience, according to Narayen, is having the right enterprise architecture, and one that’s built for action.

“The problem is that enterprise IT systems today were designed for a different time and a different task,” he said.

“The move to the cloud was a massive disruption in technology, but I think we’ve still fallen short as an industry, because the focus was on speed and reducing cost, and not yet on integration or experience, and this much change.”

Narayen said a new architecture is required fundamentally for business is to make the explosion of customer experience channels manageable.

“It’s an extremely tough challenge to solve; one that requires platform thinking and much stronger collaboration between the chief revenue officer, the chief digital officer, the chief marketing officer, the chief information officer,” he said.

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