Marketing Eye

Has Adobe Had an Armageddon Moment?

Is Adobe in a place where the final battle will be fought between the world’s biggest technology players and dare I say, Adobe seems to be conquering them all - at least in terms of coming out with new technologies and innovations that are game-changing? The recent acquisitions of Magento and Marketo have been intrinsic in bringing together best of breed technologies, and maybe it isn’t the last piece of the puzzle, but certainly a momentous movement in taking their business from desktop to the cloud.


With Salesforce and Oracle having made significant acquisitions much earlier than Adobe in areas that complement their business, it would have appeared that Adobe may be a slow mover. However, this cannot be further from the truth. This company has transformed its business like no other, and under the leadership of Shantanu Narayen, the President, and CEO of Adobe, they have as he announced today to 17,000 marketers, creatives and technology professionals, “changed the world of digital experiences.”

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If today’s event in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel has any indication on where this company is positioned in the market, it’s not following the pack, but leading the future direction for every organization in the world sending the message loud and clear that customers are first and foremost.

Business transformation is core to his message. “To win in today’s world every business has to transform itself and become a minority group in customer experience.


“It has never been more important and more relevant than what it is today,” said Narayen, an Indian American chief executive with the same presence on stage as another Silicon Valley CEO, Steve Jobs.

“Innovate at a faster pace and ditch the boxes” Narayen spruiked to the enthusiastic crowd. He had, after all, turned Adobe from being a desktop company to a cloud-based one with a subscription-based model.

“It changed the relationship we had with our customers.”

Part of Adobe’s winning formula has been delivering a continuous stream of innovation to customers.

“We deliver a personalized experience at every touch point, and in turn, we delivered a much more profitable and successful business.”

“Achieving this required a complete re-think of how we did business.”


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The Adobe Experience Cloud has come with much fanfare. It has the halls of the Venetian Hotel buzzing as marketers and technology experts are sharing what now is possible. Internally, there has been a lot of change, but with new technologies and a focus across all products on artificial intelligence and machine learning, strangely enough, the company is employing more people, rather than displacing them.

“We had to democratize the data and shifted the discussion every Wednesday (team meeting day) to focus on insights and actions.”


This digital transformation had to be embraced by the entire organization, and it shows.

Adobe has a new data-driven operating model for the entire business.

Combining the narrative of the customer journey saw Adobe simplify to a new philosophy and way to do business; Discover, Try, Buy, Use, and Renew.

Exceed customer experiences in every stage of the journey has been the most significant transformation by Adobe and it’s all been about digital. Whether they acquire a company or innovate internally, their focus on having the customer front and center have given Adobe the new lease of life that puts it in the box seat in winning the war of customers. But as they say, it’s not about customer acquisition; it’s about retention.


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