Adobe and Microsoft have announced new product integrations along with the XDM (Experience Data Model) language for interchanging behavioural and marketing data between platforms.
Microsoft has a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) offering, Dynamics 365, but is weak in marketing automation, while Adobe lacks a CRM product to compete with Salesforce, so it makes sense for the two companies to integrate.
A new piece announced at the Adobe Summit under way in Las Vegas is that Adobe Campaign – which manages cross-channel campaigns across web, mobile, email and print – is integrated with Dynamics 365.
In addition, Adobe Analytics integrates with Microsoft Power BI, for visualisation of how different marketing efforts contribute to the sales pipeline, and Adobe Experience Manager, for managing web content, can be hosted on Microsoft Azure.
Of most interest, though, is a new co-developed language for describing consumer attributes and behaviour. XDM is designed to enable easy interchange of customer profile data between applications, and has the support of MasterCard, AppDynamics, Qualtrics, Dun & Bradstreet and Zendesk.
Detailed information on XDM is not yet available, but it is intended to be useful for sales and customer service as well as marketing.
Microsoft will be talking further about XDM and how to use it at its forthcoming Build developer event in May.
The common thread here is that making full use of the data which we willingly or unwillingly pass over in the course of all our transactions and activity is the key to all sorts of business improvements, not only in marketing, but also in product development and customer service. Aggregating this data across multiple organisations by means of common data standards (subject, of course, to the privacy agreements and confidentiality requirements of each) could enable smaller players to come closer to Facebook-like profiling and targeting.
Microsoft announced its $26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn in June 2016, no doubt with a view to building its bank of business data.
Adobe talks about this in terms of personalisation and improving customer experience. "The technology of measurement and optimisation and personalisation and advertising has really moved well beyond just the marketing department," said John Mellor, VP of strategy, business development and marketing. "We think this is a much bigger initiative within enterprises that we call the experience business wave."
Adobe also announced the Adobe Advertising Cloud at the summit. This is a new cloud offering based on its acquisition of TubeMogul in December 2016.
When it comes to advertising, the company makes a point of its independence versus others such as Google.
"We are agnostic when it comes to the media inventory," says Tim Waddell, director of product marketing and advertising solutions. "We will buy what is in the best interests of our customers."
The Advertising Cloud is also part of a new bundle called Adobe Experience Cloud, which further includes Adobe Marketing Cloud and Adobe Analytics Cloud.
Adobe's Creative Cloud – which bundles familiar products including Photoshop, InDesign and Premier Pro – is primarily targeted at design departments or individual designers. However, there are integration points with the Experience Cloud, such as workflows between media assets in Creative Cloud and Experience Cloud campaigns.
Finally, the company announced new features in Adobe Sensei, its AI and machine learning service (which incidentally runs on Amazon Web Services, not Azure). These include auto-targeting for content personalisation and anomaly detection for identifying statistically significant events. ®