Adobe’s two day live online event, Experience Maker, was insightful, thoughtful, and informative, just as I predicted. Knowing what kind of high quality content to expect from one of their events, I went into the virtual conference with an urgent question: what exactly is an experience maker?
It didn’t take long to answer the question.
The short answer is: An Experience Maker is a new generation of executives – one who is flexible, puts customers first, and is helpful in the most creative way possible. This is a crucial perspective for leadership in modern businesses, especially for those looking to improve the customer experience, digitize business processes, and create better internal alignment.
Let’s take a look at the three key components of Adobe that make an experience maker, as Marissa Dacay, Senior Director Global Enterprise Marketing at Adobe explains, and why these qualities are critical to today’s business.
An experience maker is empathetic
One of the main themes during the two day event was that times have changed drastically and things will never be the same again. While the news may seem foreboding, the truth is that it is an opportunity – if we can navigate it properly. In Marissa’s opening address, she stated that these elements will be used in a way that “sets resilient companies apart from the rest of the pack”.
One of the biggest and most important aspects of being an experience maker is empathy. Empathy for customers, empathy for colleagues and employees, and empathy for yourself. When you know that each of these stakeholders is faced with uncertainties and completely new problems, you need to address those problems and respond to them.
This means rethinking the customer journey, rethinking the customer experience, rethinking the content, and how you can help and support potential customers and customers, as well as your own teams. Empathy means “understanding that feelings influence decisions and trust” and using that in your business decisions.
While initially a certain amount of panic led companies to cut their B2B solution contracts in anticipation of falling sales, many companies with executives and customer-centric employees who are empathetic see their customer base doubling and remain loyal when helped with the weather the storm. As Marissa put it as a modern leader, “We’re not here to just sell, we’re here to help.”
An experience maker is adaptable
Another major theme of the EML Virtual Conference is that companies that have not yet started their digital transformation may not be too late, but they will certainly face a bigger battle. First and foremost, the reason is the ability to adapt to whatever comes in your way.
Companies and their executives focused on digital first experiences, customer support and internal collaboration and communication were most easily able to change their position and offer or adapt internal processes to remote work and new customer journeys. Marissa explained that in these times, “There is strength in the pivot. The scenario planning is shifting, and b2b in particular needs more content in the “late phase” for the customer. Experience makers now have to ask themselves questions like: “How do you bring a product demo into virtual content?”
With manual processes and slow internal organizations, you may have more difficulty creating this pivot – but all is not lost. Now we have seen that our global economy can change in an instant, and the Experience Makers will help their companies be prepared for anything in the future.
This “come whatever” mentality and the ability to be flexible and adapt very quickly ensures that companies struggle to see the other side of this troubled time and all the others that will be inevitable in the future .
An experience maker is included
While segmentation and targeting is an important part of marketing and sales, today’s business leaders need to strive for inclusion.
This means a few different things: Inclusivity in its broader sense means ensuring that employees, customers and other stakeholders feel that they are being heard and that there are content, solutions and experiences that meet their needs. As Marissa put it, “Your customers live in a different world and their needs have changed. You need to understand your customer in real time. “
It also means that leaders and companies must strive to achieve higher levels of self-awareness when it comes to their greater role in society, as difficult issues related to diversity and equality need to be addressed directly. Because consumers and employees alike want to align with businesses and individuals who embody important values, seasoned makers must carefully conduct their self-education, growth, and involvement in all aspects of the business.
If we go into this further, we can see that modern companies need to be continuously involved in the customer journey. Experience makers must then both proactively anticipate needs in a holistic way and be able to adapt quickly if a gap in inclusivity is discovered. This means customers can find and access useful, helpful, and reliable information at all stages of their buying journey, both before and after the purchase. Here, inclusivity is also important for internal alignment and the establishment of flexible, customer-oriented processes.
When it comes to leadership in modern businesses, we are tested in ways that we have never seen before. However, real experience builders can take the hand that has been given to us and use it for new opportunities that put customers first, foster relationships, better business models and internal processes, and greater satisfaction within and outside of organizations. Today more than ever, leaders need to be empathetic, adaptable, and inclusive, and then it will be much easier to embrace an uncertain future.