SOLUTION REVIEW: ADOBE RECOMMENDATIONS
This post is a brief summary of my in-depth analysis of Adobe Recommendations, published in a Patricia Seybold Group report in August 2012.
Adobe is a $4B software company with more than 100 products that it groups into two families: digital marketing and digital media. Adobe’s target markets are marketers and developers in every industry. Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite comprises solutions which all share a common set of optimization, content, analytic and data services.
Given Adobe’s focus on digital marketing and digital experience, ultimately all Adobe products are contributors to personalization. For my evaluation, the most relevant offering is Adobe Recommendations in combination with the Adobe Test&Target optimization services.
Adobe Recommendations was released in March 2009. It is based, in part, on technologies acquired with Omniture’s purchase of TouchClarity in February 2007. Adobe Recommendations is integrated with Adobe SiteCatalyst, Adobe Test&Target, , and Adobe Search&Promote . These integrations enable Adobe Recommendations to use data from these services to create more sophisticated recommendations. Adobe Test&Target is virtually a prerequisite: it provides data used by the recommendation algorithms as well as the services marketers use to test and optimize business results and the customer experience.
Adobe Recommendations is used largely by retailer clients, but also by clients in B2B ecommerce, high tech, publishing, and media. Within the retail sector, apparel and accessories dominate Adobe’s client set. Adobe customers already using Adobe SiteCatalyst or Adobe Search&Promote would naturally consider Adobe Recommendations given the ease of implementation and its integration with their marketing suite. Marketers in need of a broad, cohesive online platform, including one that controls recommendations, will be attracted to Adobe’s very strong marketing suite, with its analytics, testing, search, and business opti-mization offerings.
Adobe’s personalization offering is in a strong competitive position. Operations is a key Adobe strength, an area in which I think they are unbeatable. Because Adobe’s Digital Marketing business has been delivering SaaS since 1998, and because Adobe SiteCatalyst has such high usage—more than one trillion transactions per quarter—Adobe can claim the most scalable and best tested hosting environment in the recommendations arena.
When Adobe Recommendations, Adobe Test&Target, Adobe SiteCatalyst, Adobe Search&Promote, Adobe CQ, and Scene7 are installed, they automatically integrate via the services provided by the digital marketing platform. Marketers can create campaign, testing and reporting variables that are common across all of these products. Adobe Test&Target services address not only recommendations, but any other aspect of the digital experience (on web, phone or email) that needs to be optimized.
Another strength is the rich customer profile that is created and used across the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite. This profile is accessible to other applications via APIs, and it is collected across touch points when the customer is logged in.
Adobe’s reporting interfaces make it very easy to connect strategy and objectives to individual projects, collect ideas about what to try next, and communicate progress to stake-holders.
Adobe has been delivering services to marketers for more than a decade, and the company has a good understanding of what marketers need. So Adobe’s consulting, client care, education, and partner programs are well-designed to deliver the help marketers need, from strategy to implementation, with hand-holding and coaching. Delivery is effective worldwide, with significant presence on 5 continents and 1,000 certified partners.
The evaluation is based on my Recommendation Solution Evaluation Framework, which details 100+ criteria in 7 categories. It is available as a free download here.