#Adobesummit blog: Answer this: What’s the business purpose of this innovation?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Disclaimer: Adobe invited me to the Adobe Summit North America 2017. This post was not approved by them. They didn’t even get a preview. It’s my opinion and if you agree it’s yours too. ??

The Adobe Summit 2017 in Las Vegas knew how to throw a party. The production was fantastic and entertaining when relevant. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

People kept sharing their philosophies, marketing strategies and of course latest innovations.

But I kept coming back to one question: How will this innovation help my business? It’s cool but what’s the point?

Show me something cool and that’s my question. Is it just cool or does it actually help the business?

Others come to mind: 

  • Does it make a process more efficient?
  • Is it cost efficient?
  • Does this actually solve a problem? 
  • Does it address a skill we didn’t have on the team yet?
  • Is it just a shiny object that should be ignored for now?

And they aren’t to bat down innnovation. It’s just to be clear about the purpose and to eliminate goose chases. 

The better stories we can tell around our products for the currently present audience the better. The best stories win.

So that’s the question I kept asking until I heard from Adobe executives who kept talking about customers expecting better digital experiences – or digital usefulness at least. 

Given that I just finished a book on being customer centric  (order it here)  that felt kind of strange and I was slightly ashamed. 

I had a moment of  “it’s about me” and not “it’s about the customer.” A good reminder how easy that mindset is to fall into. 

Instead: How does this make things better for the customer? It’s a long-term differentiator to make things better for the customer.

An Adobe exec mentioned a pizza chain’s app that counts down by the minute when the pizza will be delivered. Remember when you had to keep an eye on the clock and even that wasn’t an exact science. What an improvement. Good for the customer and it likely helps retain happy customers. Setting expectations can keep customers. The pizza arrives in 37 minutes.

The customers expect a great and useful experience. If it doesn’t work or content is not personalized that’s just annoying and not often useful. 

Companies that do this well, continue to evolve and keep the customer front and center. But they also keep in mind how it will help them. 

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen recalled 2009 when Adobe was at a crossroads. As a leader in content creation with Photoshop and others, client executives took Adobe meetings but mentioned they were looking for more.

Adobe decided to expand into Content AND Data. 

Given that 12,000 people attended the conference in Vegas that model seems to be working. Virtually every conversation started like this: ” We use Adobe for … How about you, Christoph?”

So it seems to be working. And hopefully it’s working for their customers and most importantly their customers’ customers. 

When data can be used to make things better for the customer and the business that’s where long-term relationships are formed. 

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