“Make experience your business,” Adobe’s rallying cry, is timely. Today, B2B and B2C customers observe a brand’s overall experience, not simply select products or touchpoints. As a former marketer now analyst covering social networks, online communities, user-generated content (UGC), and ratings and reviews, I encourage B2C marketers to create customer-driven experiences corresponding to specific audience preferences. Experiences are the foundation of customer interactions with brands. Currently, I’m working on research that speaks to embracing a holistic perspective regarding marketing experiences. And I look forward to linking that research to a report my colleagues Joanna O’Connell and Susan Bidel are writing regarding redefining advertising.

The Adobe summit’s keynote highlighted three core tenets for delivering experience. These tenets were accompanied by beautiful imagery, customer stories, and yes, Adobe (mini) deep dives into their capabilities. Though I enjoyed the keynote, I spent more time appreciating the tenets and share them below with some commentary. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve already had a sneak preview. Either way, use my comments as a checklist for your marketing activities, making sure you’re not over-indexing on a specific tactic, especially one your customers don’t view favorably. Also, walk through your customer experience and demonstrate how it addresses known and unknown customer needs. As experience makers, all brands have a calling to drive amazing customer experiences but doing so means addressing the ever-present gap between strategy and execution.

3 Tenets For Delivering Experience

Tenet 1: Design For Brilliance

Aesthetics are lovely, but design is also an excellent way to show customers how much you care. As you design experiences, think about what isn’t working for customers today. How can you deliver unique value within specific channels? What gaps exist between what you currently offer and what you need to offer? Thread all of this into your next customer experience. And remember, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t create experiences that customers may perceive as too intrusive.  Observe your customers and listen to their feedback.

Tenet 2: Wire For Intelligence

Brands have massive amounts of data, but how much of it is useable? This second tenet stresses the importance of translating data into intelligence. You might start with a universal taxonomy via a content intelligence tool to ensure no data is left behind, but then you’ll need to think about understanding the content and the actions it drives. As we approach GDPR’s deadline and consider the Cambridge Analytica story, the use of data is an important issue that requires the utmost care and attention. Remember to exercise care and to respect your customer’s preferences.  As you surface insights and data, what precautions should your brand take to keep customer data preferences front and center?

Tenet 3: Architect For Action

Most of us are familiar with the negative consequences of working with legacy systems. They’re inflexible and unresponsive to connecting with new technology during this decade. What’s on your technology team’s roadmap? Are there technologies you can surface to ease-in the dawn of, dare I say, digital transformation? Is now the time to join the conversation around the possibilities of transformation to lay the groundwork for the first two tenets? I think it is.