Q&A With Adobe’s Brian Glover: The New Era Of CX Initiatives

Published: October 19, 2021

1briAdobe released two new CDPs — B2B and business-to-person (B2P) — for its Experience Cloud, which seeks to help companies navigate through shifting buying experiences, deliver compelling customer experiences (CX) and better understand each customer.

The B2B edition of Adobe Real-time CDP brings first-party person and account data from multiple Adobe and non-Adobe sources into a single view for creating and activating audiences across channels. Similarly, the B2P edition will give brands that target consumers and business professionals a single offering for unifying and activating their customer profiles.

These innovations further emphasize how critical delivering superior CX is for B2B brands. To uncover the trends that are fueling these demands and identify how to clear any potential hurdles, Demand Gen Report sat down with Brian Glover, Adobe’s Director of Product Marketing, to learn more about B2B’s modernization in the digital world.

Demand Gen Report: Why did Adobe decide to expand its offerings? What were some of the external factors?

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Brian Glover: We’ve observed a huge shift in the way that B2B buyers want to interact with their suppliers and make purchases. Gartner has found that B2B buyers only spend 17% of their time with suppliers when making or evaluating a purchase — and that’s across all the suppliers they’re considering. And, on average, buyers prefer to interact virtually or through self-service channels 80% of the time.

B2B organizations are also trying to figure out how to connect with their customers in a meaningful way to drive engagement, relevance and credibility in a world that operates on customers’ terms of when and how. This preference was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the pandemic itself wasn’t the catalyst — we’ve been on the road toward an increasingly digital world for a while now.

What we’re aiming to do is help organizations bring together a full picture of their customer data at a person, account and opportunity level so they can create more consistent and personalized experiences across channels.

DGR: With that mind, I’d like to discuss the CDP releases — specifically the B2P edition. Can you provide some more context and background for those who might be unfamiliar with B2P?

Glover: Large organizations — especially those that have grown through acquisition — might be doing business with the same person across multiple lines of business. In the past, the B2B world revolved around creating more consistent experiences within one line of business for a particular purchase journey. But that goalpost moved, and companies realized that they have relationships with the same person across multiple business units and wondered why they weren’t treating that individual like a unique person.

When an organization views and treats the same buyer as two different people, they’re missing an opportunity to create a unique, unified experience for that individual. The B2P edition of Real-time CDP brings together all of the customer profile information and compiles it into one profile. What’s interesting about this is that it starts to open up new cases for creating new customer experiences across selling.

For example, let’s say I’m a financial services company and I have a customer who I know through their employer’s 401K plan. But I might also know them through their personal brokerage account, so if I connect those dots, I can share special offers on the consumer side and reward them for their loyalty on the business end.

DGR: The CDP innovations all seem to come down to one thing: Improving CX. What do you think sparked that customer-centric focus?

Glover: It’s all rooted in rising buyer expectations across the board, which originated on the consumer side due to the highly personalized experiences provided by companies such as Amazon, Netflix and Uber. Those organizations taught us we should expect high levels of customization based on our needs and what we want in the moment. When people go into their workplace and talk to a salesperson who doesn’t really understand their business, there’s a clear disconnect between the level of personalization that they expect and what they’re receiving.

These experiences on the consumer side have ushered in a new level of expectation on the B2B side, but there are some elements on the B2B side that make it more complicated, as the majority of buying decisions are made by a committee. So as B2B organizations have upped their customer experiences, the dots are now being connected that there’s an opportunity to provide a more unified brand experience to each individual.

Behind the backdrop of this, companies are competing on CX more than anything. That’s the true driver here; in many industries, there’s a lot of commoditization of products, so the experience you provide for a customer tends to be as important — if not more important — than your actual product or service.

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