Proof of Value with Adobe Experience Cloud

May 9, 2023 | Brett Birschbach
Proof of Value with Adobe Experience Cloud

Owning and implementing a MarTech stack in and of itself isn’t valuable. Rather, the production of value defines a MarTech solution’s worth. When engaging clients investing in the Adobe MarTech line of products, we like to get started with a Proof of Value, a staunch and purposeful departure from Proof of Concept. Whereas a Proof of Concept, purported as a milestone, is really just a waypoint leaving doubts of when (or if) we’ll arrive at the promised destination, a Proof of Value delivers business results and often, subsequent investment.

Deriving Value from MarTech

Let’s start with a quick analysis of how MarTech delivers value, beginning with data collection. Is having data equivalent to delivering value? Nope, data is just information, which we arguably have all too much of these days. We gather data to allow us to gain insights.

Are insights equivalent to value? Again, no. Insights are simply a higher order of data, and simply possessing them does not provide direct value. Insights are used to inform activation, i.e. how do we take what we know (data) and do something valuable? Ah…now we’re getting to that v-word!

MarTech uses data and insights in service of activation to deliver business value.

Adobe Experience Cloud has a variety of tools available, depending on the value-oriented use cases you’re looking to achieve:

  • Data & Insights: Adobe Experience Platform (AEP), Adobe Analytics (AA), Customer Journey Analytics (CJA)
  • Activation: Real-Time Customer Data Platform (RTCDP), Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO), Adobe Target, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Commerce, Campaign, Marketo

To derive business value you will need a bit from column A and a bit from column B. 

Building MarTech for “Someday”

Humans have an incredible capacity to live for the future. The promise of a better tomorrow helps countless people endure the toil, time, and cost of innumerable hardships (and IT projects). Someday I’ll buy a house. Someday I’ll find my life partner. Someday I’ll retire. Someday we’ll activate our data.

Often, we see customers approach MarTech value delivery the same way, using a very simple, waterfall process.

Step 1: Implement AEP/CDP for Data & Insights

Step 2: Implement AJO for Activation

Step 3: Profit (value someday…)

Illustration of implementing MarTech for eventual value:


The problem with this approach is partway through Step 1, Step 3 (value) looks unknowingly far away as stakeholders holding the purse strings start asking if “someday” will ever come. As Step 1 eventually comes to a close and funding is needed for Step 2, with no Return on Investment (ROI) yet achieved, previously excited supporters of the shiny new MarTech stack start contemplating if the juice is worth the squeeze. And even when (or if) Step 3 is finally reached, a true ROI is only realized well down the road as the investments in data and activation require a significant amount of return value just to break even.

Building MarTech for Today

If you always live for someday, you’ll miss out on the value you could be enjoying today. Exchanging the waterfall approach to MarTech for an agile, cross-cutting implementation with crawl/walk/run horizons, we can deliver value incrementally, early, and often.

Step 1: Define a valuable use case

Step 2: Implement data (e.g. AEP/CDP) in service of the use case

Step 3: Activate the use case (e.g. AJO)

Step 4: Profit (value now)

Step 5: Loop back to Step 1 with some of the profits (more value in the future)

Illustration of implementing MarTech for Proof of Value:


With this approach, revenue increases quickly, proving the value of the investment. Further, we avoid over-engineering data we’ll never activate or use cases we’ll never address, thus avoiding unnecessary expenses and waste. Stakeholders are not only happier, they’re happier sooner. When the time comes to ask for the next investment into your MarTech stack, you now have proof of value to back up your request. 

If there were A, B, and C technologies or capabilities that we knew we wanted to build as part of our roadmap and A and B were more foundational and longer term but C, even though it was third, was going to deliver more immediate results, we would choose to go with C because we knew if we could prove the results with C, we would then have credibility to get funding for A and B.

Kian Conley
SVP Consumer Strategy, Hilton Grand Vacations

Drive Value Now 

Turning $ into $$$ quickly is attractive to everyone, at every company, in every economy. You don’t have to take this journey alone however - look for guidance from other companies, both in your industry and in others. Learn from case studies of companies that succeeded, and look for best practices that align to value creation over implementation. For instance, our packaged offerings for Adobe Real-Time CDP, Adobe Journey Optimizer, and Customer Journey Analytics are designed to allow companies to launch new marketing initiatives as quickly as possible. 

Delivering value incrementally with your newly purchased Adobe Experience Cloud (or any other) MarTech products is not only prudent, it’s gratifying. Don’t get stuck building the perfectly complete data store for activation “someday.” Focus on a use case that you’re confident can drive value now, pull together a data store (or two) to enable activation, and prove to stakeholders that value is within your grasp. Then, go achieve more.