Real-time personalization with the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP)

Learn how to turn data into real-time customer profiles in our expert interview - and how the Adobe Experience Platform can add value to your business

Teaser Image Experteninterview Jasmin Lehr

The Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) is the foundation of Adobe's experience cloud products and aggregates all data into real-time customer profiles. This enables personalization in real time. Jasmin Lehr, expert for Adobe solutions at Merkle, explains in an interview what lies behind it.

Merkle: The Adobe Experience Platform complements the Adobe Experience Cloud - what's behind the solution?

Adobe Applications Services and Platforms
Overview Adobe Experience Cloud (Source: Adobe)

Jasmin: The AEP forms the basis for all other services and tools that Adobe offers. The idea: a platform on which all data is united - customer data and anonymous data. Various services and applications, such as the Marketing Cloud or the Analytics Cloud, are then based on this platform.

So companies should work with one platform from start to finish. This platform not only combines the data, but also delivers the insights and handles the transfer to other tools.

What are the possible applications of AEP for companies?

Those who work with data know the typical problems:

  • There is a lot of data available - but nothing more. Without analysis and evaluation, the data is worthless.
  • Customer profiles cannot be used in real time. The company is not able to address and pick up its customers on different channels in real time.
  • Data protection regulations prevent the company from making optimal use of the data.

That's exactly where Adobe started with AEP and developed the following features:

 Prozess Adobe Experience Platform (Quelle: Adobe)
Adobe Experience Platform process (source: Adobe)

Feature 1: AI & Machine Learning

It is usually a long process until data scientists can work with all the data available in the company. They need to understand where and in what form the data is available. Then they have to check whether it is accessible and can be mapped. Only then do they begin their actual work.

The AEP already connects all the data - the data scientist is spared the "preliminary work" mentioned above. Within the platform he can work with Python etc. Adobe has developed a data schema especially for this purpose: the so-called Experience Data Model (XDM). Here, the data must be classified during ingestion. Based on the uniform data basis, the data scientists concentrate on what is really important: analysis.

Feature 2: Real-Time Customer Profiles

Based on all customer data, AEP creates a real-time customer profile that accesses all connected data sources. This enables companies to quickly deliver the right message to the customer - across all touchpoints. And the sales agent also knows immediately where and how the user was active online.

Feature 3: Data Pipeline & Governance

All data that is imported into the AEP must first be placed in a data pipeline. The so-called PII, i.e. "personally identifying information", must therefore also be labeled as such - and cannot be linked to any other data set. In this way, Adobe ensures that no PII is used incorrectly or illegally with the AEP. 

Feature 4: Cross-Channel Access & Activation

The AEP also allows the data to be made available to various third parties. This allows all segments created within the AEP to be used in different channels. Companies thus achieve a uniform customer approach across all channels.

"Real-time personalization" is the promise of Adobe. What does that mean exactly?

The question is: What should the customer experience of the near future look like? To be truly successful, companies need a consistent customer experience across all channels - in other words, a personalized, real-time approach.

An example: A user has searched for a specific shirt in the online store - he is logged in. Then he walks past a store in the real world that offers exactly this shirt in his size. With the AEP, the company sends him a push message to his smartphone and informs him about it - including a discount offer. Provided, of course, that he has installed the app on his smartphone. If the user then calls the call center, the employee also knows directly which shirt the user is interested in.

Many of our customers use the Adobe Experience Cloud systems. How easy is it to integrate into the existing tech stack?

In the long term, Adobe intends to transform the Experience Cloud so that AEP always forms the basis. All available systems can be connected there and the data can be imported in such a way that all unique identifiers of customers from different systems become "identical in construction". In this way, they can be linked to the corresponding data. 
The integration is mostly done via the Tag Manager "Adobe Launch". Here, all necessary information is made available. Then they can be used within the AEP.

The integration itself is simple: the company "only" has to include the Adobe Launch code snippet on its website. It is more difficult to map the data sources within the AEP and bring them into the Experience Data Model (XDM). 

Let's take a look into the crystal ball: AI, real-time data, ... - what comes next?

This is an exciting question. I can imagine that the technology can be applied to other areas of life once we have managed to personalize the customer experience.

Usually the focus is first on sales. But how about this, for example: My public transportation provider sends me a push message on my smartphone based on my driving habits. He tells me that I should be off in half an hour because then the train will be less crowded and I will get a seat.

Another example: I'm watching a soccer game live in the stadium and at halftime I get a display on my cell phone showing the toilet that is currently the least frequented.

A final conclusion: What do you think about AEP?

I think Adobe has brought the Adobe Experience Platform to market at just the right time - it is more important than ever to be able to address users and customers in a personalized way. The AEP can help companies resolve some of the data collection and processing issues and thus achieve truly personalized customer experiences. The implementation effort is high - as with all comparable tools. But once you've done your homework, you can offer customers a great, personalized and unique user experience in real time - and that's a key competitive factor.