April 29, 2021
  |   Trends

2021 Adobe Summit Keynote and Sneaks Recap

Adobe Summit kicked off on April 27th with their opening keynote. Over 30,000 people tuned in to hear Adobe executives and global business leaders share how exceptional, personalized customer experiences are the key to long-term success and business growth.

Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President, CEO at Adobe, kicked off the keynote reflecting on the past year. “We’ve gone from a world with digital to a digital first world, and there’s no going back,” said Shantanu. In the past year, ecommerce spend was $844 billion, but Adobe predicts 2022 will be the first trillion dollar year in ecommerce.

Becoming a digital business is an ongoing journey and requires combining art and science to drive effective marketing strategies. As businesses re-architect around the customer, CMOs and CIOs are working together to implement new technology, activate the technology, and create new processes to scale the impact.

The Path Forward

Anil Chakravarthy, EVP, GM Digital Experience Business at Adobe, recognized that while the path forward is still being shaped, we know it won’t be what it looked like a year or two ago. Every business has had to rapidly pivot to digital channels as customers have come to expect engaging, personalized experiences in real-time.

“Customer personalization done right drives business growth.”

Anil Chakravarthy, EVP, GM Digital Experience Business at Adobe

As we enter a cookieless world, the need for first-party data has never been more important, but Anil noted that the award is a true digital transformation of your business. By combining content, data, AI, and machine learning, marketers can connect every customer experience. Anil announced numerous innovations aimed to help brands and retailers optimize their digital customer experiences and marketing campaigns:

  • Adobe Experience Platform: Adobe is making a few improvements to Adobe Experience Platform, including Collection Enterprise (ties experience events to customer profiles), Segment Match (allows multiple companies to form partnerships and build rich customer profiles), and real-time CDP for B2B.
  • Adobe Journey Optimizer: Allows companies to manage the end-to-end customer journey, from large batch campaigns to one-on-one customer engagements.
  • Adobe Commerce: Adobe is adding new features like intelligent visual recommendations, intelligent live search, additional commerce support for B2B, and a decoupled experience layer from backend commerce operations.

Following Anil’s announcements, Shantanu introduced a series of global business leaders to discuss their journeys through digital transformation, leadership, and customer experience.

Preparing for the Unexpected

When Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, first heard about COVID-19, his first concern was for his over 90,000 workers, and his second concern was how the business would evolve. “Luck never comes to the unprepared,” said Albert. Fortunately for Pfizer, they began their digital transformation in 2019, well before the pandemic. By improving their technology and processes, and adding new skillsets like a Chief Digital Officer, the company was able to commit to producing three billion COVID vaccines.

“You can only transform a company by changing the culture of the company.”

Albert Bourla, CEO at Pfizer

Personalizing on a Global Scale

Deborah Wahl, Global CMO at General Motors, discussed the company’s strategy to phase out gas engines until 2035 and be carbon neutral in 2040. General Motors’ new Ultium Battery and flexible, modular approach to electric vehicles will allow them to create a car for nearly every market around the world. The manufacturing company leverages Adobe Experience Cloud, AI, machine learning, and their dealers to deliver streamlined omnichannel experiences.

“Personalization provides an opportunity to have our products adapt to a global customer base.”

Deborah Wahl, Global CMO at General Motors

From Tennis Pro to Venture Capitalist

When Serena Williams found out that less than 2% of venture capital goes towards women and even less going to women of color, she knew she had to change it. Off the court, she’s become a venture capitalist, investing in minority and women owned businesses, and founded her own fashion company.

“Every experience I have creates a better businesswoman. Whether it’s good or bad. It creates a better me.”

Serena Williams, Tennis Champion, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

Adobe and FedEx Partner to Unlock Ecommerce Innovation

Adobe and FedEx announced their new multi-year partnership, starting with the integration of ShopRunner with Adobe Commerce. Anticipated benefits for brands and retailers include two-day shipping, easier returns process, increased customer loyalty, and seamless checkout experiences. But one of the most valuable perks of the partnership for Adobe merchants is access to post-purchase logistics intelligence.

Since 2019, FedEx has invested in both their physical and digital capabilities. They grew their shipping network and expanded their services to include delivery inside homes, all while investing in new technology to enhance the digital experience. 

“Looking forward, we truly believe that we can use the foundation of our physical capabilities to leap forward on the digital side.”

Rajesh Subramaniam, President, COO at FedEx

Adobe Sneaks

Each year at Summit, Adobe presents a series of new projects that teams are working on, but only 60% of what they show makes it into product. Here are the seven Sneaks finalists:

  1. Daily Shuffle: Daily Shuffle is an AI assistant in Workfront that allows users to “re-route” their daily schedule when work and personal commitments collide. When a user chooses to re-route their schedule, Daily Shuffle re-assigns meetings based on designated substitutes and surfaces priorities.
  2. Savvy Search: Savvy Search is an actionable search bar that helps users find what they need to take certain actions, such as questions regarding a campaign in Adobe Experience Cloud, how to run an A/B test, and pending requests from team members.
  3. Live Wired: By combining Firefly and Live Wired, designers and developers can easily collaborate to create custom apps. Live Wired turns Adobe XD into a drag and drop interface that links to Adobe apps.
  4. Catchy Content: Catchy Content uses AI to help digital marketers measure characteristics and attributes of content that engage audiences, then optimizes and personalizes the content based on that insight.
  5. Account Ace: Account Ace, ideal for B2B companies, uses Account AI and Buying Circles to calculate an account’s MQL score, analyze the account’s activities, and identify key personas for the account and who’s missing.
  6. Segment Tuner: Segment Tuner uses AI to identify data quality issues in segments, such as invalid emails and missing attributes. Segment Tuner also helps brands identify connections between data sets and suggestions for new customer attributes that will extend their reach.
  7. Dimension Builder: Dimension Builder makes it easy for users to clean report insights that are typically prone to human error. Using Sensei, Dimension Builder can comb through billions of cross-channel data points, allowing users to create rules that address problems in a few seconds.

To learn more about Adobe Experience Cloud and how it can help you digitally transform your company, reach out to us today. As a Platinum Adobe Partner, our team has implemented Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Target, and Adobe Commerce for various companies across industries.

Shannon Abel
After graduating from Clemson University, Shannon started her career in marketing, focusing on content creation and engagement. As Blue Acorn iCi’s Senior Media Marketing Specialist, she keeps brand and retail professionals up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the digital customer experience space. She also produces and hosts Blue Acorn iCi's podcast, The Funnel. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs and hanging out at the local breweries in Charleston.
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