Adobe’s new Marketing Cloud features helps marketers send contextual emails, make online sales more direct

Adobe Systems Inc. has added a slew of new features to the Adobe Marketing Cloud for digital marketers, including services aimed at email marketing and ecommerce.

On Monday, Adobe announced it will now be allowing marketers to send contextually relevant emails, as well as helping marketers to get more conversions and sales out of their online stores. Making the announcement from the National Retail Federation show in New York, Adobe also unveiled its plans for integrating more of its products together, helping marketers get more out of what the Adobe Marketing Cloud has to offer.

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With contextually relevant emails, marketers are able to change the content within their emails based on the preferences of the individual customers who have opened them, when they’ve opened them, and where they’re located, thanks to Adobe’s use of dynamic content. This dynamic content is essentially housed in different blocks of placeholder content, allowing marketers to switch them up when they want to make changes within the email, says Patrick Tripp, senior product manager for Adobe.

Adobe's contextual emails in the Adobe Marketing Cloud.
(Image: Adobe).

For example, if a group of customers is based in Calgary, marketers can tailor their emails to only show offers that are relevant to people living in that particular city. They can also change the content of their emails to reflect pricing.

“This could be the same email, but now the content of the email has changed,” Tripp says, adding this could be useful for flash sales or limited time offers. “If a customer opens an email and the sale is over, like on Black Friday, that’s a bad experience … So you change the content. That’s a great opportunity for the marketer.”

Then there’s Adobe’s new feature for ecommerce. It allows customers to browse an email or ecommerce site, showing them popups with more information about specific products. For example, if a customer is interested in a photo of a man in brand-name clothing and gear, the customer can scroll over the photo to get more details on a specific item of interest.

If the customer wants to buy the item, he or she can do so directly from that email or page with just one click, instead of being taken to a checkout page where the purchase might get abandoned. The argument is that this feature can lead to “higher average order values and conversions,” according to a press release, though figures on that weren’t available.

One of six components of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Campaign was born from the company’s acquisition of Neolane Inc. in July 2013. Adobe created Campaign to complement its other services, which include Target, Analytics, Experience Manager, Social, and Media Optimizer.

Monday’s announcement also involves weaving these six services more tightly together, with marketers now being able to tap into features from Adobe Campaign while using Adobe Media Optimizer, or while taking advantage of the data provided by Adobe Analytics. That came in the form of the Shared Audiences feature, also released Monday.

“A lot of marketers are confused,” Tripp says. “They’re like, how do we help a customer move from being an anonymous visit on the web, to completing an online or offline journey? … We want to connect the dots across the entire structure.”

For example, if marketers want to take advantage of an iBeacon placed inside a retail store, they can set up Adobe Analytics to capture data if a customer walks by that iBeacon. Marketers can then automatically send an email to that customer with Adobe Campaign, and Adobe Media Optimizer can help them create ads that are more personalized and more targeted towards that customer.

Adobe also unveiled its new Assets feature, which allows marketers to share content between its Campaign and Experience Manager. That way, they can do better targeting and create more personalized emails for groups of customers.

But beyond simply fitting the pieces of the Adobe Marketing Cloud together, part of the overarching strategy here is to help Adobe stay level with other large companies with their own marketing clouds, like SAP and Oracle. The competition is fierce, with all of these companies making acquisitions in a bid to bolster their own offerings.

Where Adobe differentiates itself is through its mix of content and business analytics, Tripp says. For marketers who used Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign as consumers, the Adobe Marketing Cloud will appeal to them in their role as salespeople and marketers.

“Adobe is really bringing creative content to a business analytics environment,” he says. “What we’re saying is, create your content in Creative Cloud, then pass it to the Marketing Cloud and use it in your campaign.”

There’s no extra cost to use the new features in today’s announcement, Tripp says. But if Adobe customers want to share data between different services like Target and Campaign, they may need to pay for separate licenses for these services.

However, access to Shared Audiences and Assets is part of Adobe’s core service and will not cost anything extra, he adds.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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