A company’s customers can use dozens of methods to get information about a product, buy it, and talk about whether they’re satisfied. A person interested in a car, for example, might get curious after receiving an ad on a mobile device. She might follow up by researching the car on a desktop computer, watching it in action on YouTube, or visiting a dealership for a test drive. If she bought the car, she could take it to any number of places for service, buy accessories at stores or online, and maybe discuss it on social-media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
This multiplicity of avenues can make it hard for a company to assess how well it’s doing at enticing and pleasing customers. How can it connect the dots and track a customer through the whole course of learning about a product, deciding whether to buy it, using it, and telling people about it?
“That is a very disaggregated process today, and we’re trying to build a process around it that’s very consolidated and uniform,” says John Carione, group manager of enterprise product marketing at Adobe Systems. Technology companies such as Adobe are stepping in with tools that help businesses identify customers and remain aware of their preferences and history, whether they’re physically standing in a store or posting comments on Twitter.
Last week Adobe launched its new Digital Enterprise Platform, a system that tries to provide all the technology companies need for that process. One of its main features is that it helps keep track of who a customer is no matter how that person chooses to communicate with a company. In some cases, it’s possible to detect this identity automatically—for example, the system can identify when a person returns to a company website and call up other information that’s been collected about him or her. In other cases, the company would have to take steps to centralize its record keeping, maintaining records related to in-store transactions in the same system that tracks interactions through social media.
The platform also keeps track of how customers prefer to get information. For example, it can track what a given customer focuses on when visiting the website—video, images, or interactive forms. Adobe’s system provides a central repository where companies can store and update all that information, making it easier to meet the customer’s preferences in the future.