What is Adobe Experience Cloud? CRM platform overview

Adobe Experience Cloud -- the vendor's CRM platform -- includes tools to help medium and large enterprises manage all facets of their customer engagement strategies.

Adobe Experience Cloud enables users to manage the sales, marketing and support facets of their customer engagement strategies.

With Adobe Experience Cloud's integrated CRM tools, tasks become more efficient. Experience Cloud includes features like targeted list generators, enhanced email campaign functions, operational reporting tools, unique profiles and more. The CRM platform's integrated functions offer real-time updates and data to users to help them centralize, organize and manage key customer, sales and lead data.

What is Adobe Experience Cloud?

Adobe Experience Cloud -- formerly Marketing Cloud -- is a comprehensive CX offering for B2B and B2C applications to facilitate the customer journey from sales to support using data-driven insights. It supports content management, personalization, commerce and marketing workflows to offer customized digital experiences across all interactions and throughout the customer lifecycle.

Adobe offers Experience Cloud as a cloud-based or on-premises platform. In addition to its core functions, the platform provides open APIs that enable integrations with other enterprise or third-party systems. Experience Cloud has more than 165 app partners, including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and SAP.

Through Adobe and Microsoft's partnership, users of Experience Cloud and Dynamics 365 can use the platforms together to align sales and marketing information and identify high-value audience segments. Users can also combine behavior data with order history and other customer details to identify their sales lifecycle stage and deliver content at the right time through a landing page, follow-up email or mobile app alert.

Adobe's CRM platform also integrates with social media platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It offers features like social measurement, publishing and listening functions, including text, mobile app and social media analytics, as well as predictive publishing that lets users engage with customers and analyze interactions. The platform can document this data in Audience Manager to create unique audience profiles and help users stay on top of and track customer interactions.

Adobe designed Experience Cloud for medium and large organizations, and the platform can scale to support thousands of users. It runs on Linux, macOS and Windows, and IT teams can adapt it to other OSes. Mobile devices, such as Android and Apple offerings, also support this platform.

Each product in Adobe Experience Cloud has pricing based on usage and organizational needs. Pricing is determined on a case-by-case basis and varies by the number of services used, required capabilities and ongoing usage. Adobe and its network of partners offer customer support.

Users automatically receive software updates as soon as Adobe makes them available. Adobe doesn't provide a free trial but does offer proof-of-concept deployments.

How does Adobe Experience Cloud work?

The process of using Experience Cloud starts with five principal data sources:

  1. customer interactions
  2. online transactions, including commerce and support calls
  3. financial records
  4. operational logs and events
  5. third-party databases

Experience Cloud apps can integrate with these sources and CRM systems from AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and ServiceNow.

Experience Cloud data preparation tools can aggregate, normalize and categorize data sources so operational and analytics tools can use data for tasks like customer personalization, data queries and filters, and machine learning (ML) enhanced analytics. Processed data then feeds other Adobe tools, third-party software and custom apps.

Particular use cases vary widely due to the CRM's marketing function. However, tools like Adobe's Commerce Integration Framework -- a programmable extension in Experience Manager that builds integrated content and e-commerce experiences -- enable customized digital experiences with data from customer profiles, product catalogs and transaction history.

Adobe Experience Cloud tools and features

Adobe has focused on improving Experience Cloud's personalization capabilities and the move away from third-party cookies to first-party customer data. It has also extended its real-time data platform to let B2B customers merge individual and account profiles across systems for a unified view of customers. Adobe continues to invest in Sensei, the AI and ML framework it sees as a strategic differentiator through its advanced analytics and predictive insights for the Experience Cloud portfolio.

Recent products include Adobe Journey Optimizer, a tool for developing and automating omnichannel marketing campaigns that extends traditional email capabilities to real-time communications, like chat and social interactions.

In late 2020, Adobe acquired Workfront for marketing operations and project management. With Workfront, Experience Cloud can connect marketing and creative professionals and enable tasks like strategy development, task definition and management, project and goal tracking, and budget management.

Experience Cloud has various integrated tools, which include the following:

  • Adobe Advertising Cloud is a management product for advertising media, data and other collateral.
  • Adobe Analytics is a multichannel marketing and data analysis product that supports web, mobile, video, IoT and social media data.
  • Adobe Audience Manager is a data management feature that helps users create unique audience profiles to identify valuable business segments and employ them across digital channels.
  • Adobe Campaign is a workflow management product that creates and delivers mass and personalized marketing campaigns to support email, mobile and offline delivery.
  • Adobe Commerce is a drag-and-drop tool to build multichannel commerce services.
  • Adobe Customer Journey Analytics is a data analysis tool to visualize omnichannel customer interactions, such as online orders and traffic, ad impressions and customer support calls.
  • Adobe Experience Manager is a tool to help companies manage and organize the delivery of newsletters, reminders and other content through web, mobile, email and video channels.
  • Adobe Experience Manager Assets is a cloud-native digital asset management system integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud and Workfront.
  • Adobe Experience Manager Forms is a tool to create online forms and communications that support multiple authors and reusable templates.
  • Adobe Experience Manager Screens is a digital signage tool with cloud-based content creation and publishing capabilities.
  • Adobe Experience Manager Sites is a web content management system with marketing templates, developer tools and personalization
  • Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform can collect, normalize and merge customer data into unified profiles that users can filter and analyze to review activity in real time.
  • Adobe Sign is a PDF authoring and electronic signature tool for PDFs based on Acrobat.
  • Adobe Target is an omnichannel personalization product that supports A/B testing with AI-powered data analytics to optimize CX and response rates.
  • Adobe Workfront is a collaboration and workflow platform optimized for marketing and sales professionals.
  • Marketo Engage is a marketing automation platform that measures effectiveness using cross-channel engagement and sales data.

Compare CRM platforms

Adobe's primary competitors in the market for digital experience platforms are the following:

  • Oracle Advertising and CX. Like Adobe Experience Cloud, Oracle offers an integrated set of apps that combine traditional CRM features with content creation, marketing workflows, sales and commerce.
  • Salesforce Experience Cloud. Salesforce also offers a connected product suite that includes partner relationship management, content management, customer support and B2B commerce. It also has features for data integration, customer personalization, group collaboration, and campaign success metrics and analysis.
  • Optimizely Digital Experience Platform. Optimizely's platform consists of its Content Cloud authoring and creation product, B2B and B2C Commerce Clouds, and Intelligence Cloud predictive analytics software to optimize customer engagement, satisfaction and spending.

Other competitors in the CX market include Bloomreach, SAP, Acquia and Sitecore.

Editor's note: This article on Adobe Experience Cloud is one of the last pieces longtime TechTarget contributor Kurt Marko wrote for us before he passed away in January 2022. Kurt was an experienced IT analyst and consultant, a role in which he applied his broad and deep knowledge of enterprise IT architectures. You can explore all the articles he authored for TechTarget on his contributor page.

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