LAS VEGAS — The Adobe Summit opened here today with a central message that is at once obvious yet challenging: Put the customer experience first, even ahead of products and services.

It's a message Adobe claims it has the technology to help companies and brands execute with its three cloud products: Creative Cloud, Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud.

During the opening keynote, Adobe executives focused on the experience business wave, contending that this wave is here and here to stay. 

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the annual three-day conference, which relocated to Las Vegas this year after a decade in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Deliver the Right Experience

During the opening keynote, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen highlighted Adobe’s partnerships with Deadpool, a 2016 American superhero film, and MasterCard. Both cases underscored innovation in experience marketing and how digital marketing builds connections between people, places and things.

The experience business starts with “great content,” he said. Businesses in all industries compete in the digital experience, and that experience needs to be delivered at breakneck speed.

“Shopping has become a competitive sport. This is the experience era … Experience design is more complex than ever.”

Measuring DX

For Adobe, harnessing that “power of computing” and combining man plus machine, they can make big things happen, Narayen said. Noticing that a lot of the companies were flying blind when it came to measuring digital experiences, he added, Adobe expanded in data and analytics to the suite.

Adobe GM and EVP Brad Rencher followed Narayen to talk about some of the brands working with Adobe on their experience business.

“As marketers, we need to understand we’re no longer in the business of selling products,” Rencher said.

“It’s about experiences. It’s about doing the job so well so that customers don’t know you and I exist … We are all stewards of the experience. The experience wave is democratic and everyone has voice.”

Rencher noted the four key areas in which to measure experience business:

  • Experiences businesses will know me, expect me and respect my privacy
  • Speak to me in one voice
  • Make the technology transparent. Know that the medium is not the message; the experience is
  • Delight me at every turn and rapidly innovate

The all-new Adobe Marketing Cloud is simplified and integrated, and it’s redesigned with this experience business in mind, Rencher said. The new platform introduces one-click navigation, a new auto allocation feature in Target and A/B testing for best performing words in subject lines — all backed by data science.

Deborah Wahl, CMO of McDonald’s, also made an appearance to speak with Rencher about her marketing team’s 18-month transformation of the digital experience. They started a new way of ordering, a mobile app and turned the happy meal into a virtual reality experience for kids, Wahl said.

Adobe also introduced the Virtual Analyst, an assistant that keeps tabs on conversions and more while you’re away from the desk,, Device Co-Op and its Primetime OTT platform. Read more on these announcements in our preview story.