Adam Lavelle

Chief Solutions Officer, Dentsu Americas

The advent of digital technologies has revolutionized brand-customer market dynamics. Empowered with endless access to information, customers are constantly raising the bar of expectations brands are demanded to meet. In this customer-driven market, brands are no longer only competing within their industry sector – they need to deliver remarkable experiences to stand out against all of the content that customers have available at their fingertips. This is crucial in order to secure the most coveted prize there is in a hyper-connected world: customer engagement.

Adobe was one of the first companies to realize this, and built a product suite to empower brands with the capabilities needed to attract and delight customers, to interact with them, to monetize and measure their engagement. According to a recent Forrester report, “Forrester Analytics survey data indicates that globally, more firms purchase marketing technology software from Adobe than any other vendor.”[1] But capabilities won’t do the trick on their own: in order to make the greatest impact, they need to be leveraged where and when it matters, and be fed with insights from an ever-changing world.

Innovative brands have been evolving their customer experiences with a focus on three key components: identity, content, and commerce. These three areas are now undergoing major paradigm shifts that require focus and investment from brands if they want to remain relevant in a world that we couldn’t even imagine as little as six months ago, if they want to be able to differentiate in the market by offering a ‘Total Customer Experience’.

Experiences need relevance in order to be meaningful

Now more than ever, our reliance on digital touchpoints is informing every aspect of our lives and it is hard to differentiate commercial activities, which are often carried out in a fragmented, stop-and-go fashion, from others that they are seamlessly intersected with such as productivity, entertainment, and lifestyle. 

Devices are our gateway into this ecosystem, and we demand them to be as efficient as possible in predicting the types of experiences we expect to be served each time we engage. This is why brands need to couple experiential capabilities like Adobe’s with data-driven insights and ensure they are engaging customers with content that is personalized for the individual and with journeys that are consistent with our online and offline behavior.

At a time when legislation is further restricting organizations’ ability to leverage 3rd party data and cookies, solving the identity puzzle is a paramount priority for brands, so their investment in experiential capabilities does not result in a drop in the ocean effect. At Dentsu, we have witnessed just how impactful can an enterprise identity solution be in delivering to brands the ability to use PII-based data for all consumers, to attribute interactions across all online and offline touchpoints to a specific person ID, and to manage information in a privacy-safe data and analytics environment.

Content-at-scale is the engine to compete on experience efficiently

Everybody is talking about competing on experience, but some brands make the mistake of making some tweaks to their UI and UX and feel that they are done with it. As Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, once wrote “true customer experience design means deconstructing the entire customer journey into its smallest component parts and then reengineering each component to look, feel and most importantly, operate differently than before and distinctly from competitors.” [2]

In order to do this right, brands need to be able to produce at scale assets to feed every interaction that the ever-growing number of digital touchpoints are expected to deliver. An Adobe CMO survey shows that on average it takes as many as 12 days to take a single piece of content to market, and if brands want to truly compete on experience it simply won’t cut it. 

At Dentsu, we have seen brands overcome this hurdle by maximizing the scale and efficiency of content production through technology-enabled, multi-agency engagements that bundle content creation, automation, delivery, asset management, platforms and content licensing.

Commerce is the key to making experiences convenient

We are fully immersed in a convenience economy. The pandemic has not only caused a massive uptake in ecommerce sales - eMarketer forecasts a 18% increase in US ecommerce spend in 2020[3] – it has also brought a lot of organizations to invest further, or for some invest for the first time, in digital commerce capabilities.

And that’s only a part of it. There’s been a lot of demand for specific commerce capabilities that cater to customers’ concerns with regards to safety, like the ability to pick up orders curbside and the ability to purchase in a contactless fashion. With more and more people carrying out at least part of their buyer’s journey online, digital commerce is rapidly evolving to adapt to our new circumstances and accommodate new buyer demographics. 

Ultimately, if brands want to succeed in this new environment the customer experiences they offer need to be one and only with transactions: they need to embed transactional capabilities throughout the entire customer journey and be able to evoke commerce experiences any time the customers’ behavior is suggesting their engagement is ripe for conversion into a purchase.

The amount of time we spend online is only bound to grow and unlocking the Total Customer Experience is the pathway to giving customers the convenience they demand to pay attention to us.

Download The Forrester Wave: Adobe Implementation Services, Q2 2020 to learn more about our Adobe work and our PoV on the Total Customer Experience

[1] The Forrester Wave: Adobe Implementation Services, Q2 2020, p. 3.

[2] Doug Stephens, Why Retail is Getting ‘Experience’ Wrong: