Adobe Systems Draws on New Breed of Channel Partner

The VAR Guy

April 19, 2011

4 Min Read
Adobe Systems Draws on New Breed of Channel Partner

Adobe Systems has a long and well-established reputation as a premier provider of creativity software. But what type of creative moves does Adobe have planned for the channel? The VAR Guy tracked down a few answers…

Let’s start with the obvious. Adobe’s various programs – from Adobe Photoshop to Illustrator to Dreamweaver – have served as the platforms for creative types to put their ideas into action, and as such the company has established a loyal, almost rabid following among its users. Now the company is hoping to parlay those dedicated users into its next channel partners.

But Adobe isn’t just putting its creativity suite in the hands of those partners and saying, “Go forth and sell.” Instead, the company has realigned its strategy and is working hard to establish a niche within a new marketing vertical that it believes has much untapped potential: Customer experience management (CEM).

“We have this mobile social phenomenon occurring; the dynamic of who has control [in a vendor-user relationship] has shifted to the user,” said Ed Van Siclen, vice president of Technology and Partner Solutions at Adobe Systems. “The way companies engage with us today is different – no longer are we watching TV and waiting for commercials to wash over us. We are constantly on through our many devices and when we want to make a connection with a company they better be ready for us. So we asked, ‘How can companies deliver the most engaging experience that reinforces the brand?’ It starts with exceptional creative, and then companies have to have right content layout so it works on all devices. And then finally it needs to be optimized to drive sales.”

Legacy Meets M&A

To whit, Adobe is leveraging its legacy in the creative space and has made some strategic acquisitions to help it with analytics, optimization and even the platform on which to build an optimal customer experience.

In 2009 Adobe bought Omniture, known for its web analytics, measurement and optimization technologies, and in 2010 it snapped up Day Software for its web content management prowess (and it’s open source, to boot). “So now our users can go from the creative authoring process and input that directly into content operating and then have tests and targeting to make sure they’re [projects are] optimized and offer the right kind of web experience,” Van Siclen said. “That’s what customer experience management is all about.”

Digital marketing companies understand the concept well, he added, which is why they are the perfect resellers for Adobe’s CEM solution.

“They have better relationships with digital marketing officers than us – they are at the inception of the deal,” he said. “We have programs in place to encourage them to co-sell – deal registration, preservation of their percentage payout – and they also can get revenue through first-line support because that’s something we just don’t offer.”

True Believers

Adobe currently counts digital marketing agencies including Razorfish, Logica, SapientNitro, MRM Worldwide and LBi within its partner ranks. “They are truly the alpha dogs,” he said. “Some of these interactive agencies have married their left brain with their right brain – the science with the art – and those that can combine those can do truly breathtaking things.”

Indeed, such expertise can help push Adobe further into the CEM space, as traditional marketing methods no longer apply in a connected world.

“We are trying to asset a birthright on this market through our creative legacy. Brands trust Adobe – they’re not going to pick up the phone and call Oracle for this kind of technology. Now we have all the assets to pull it all together,” Van Siclen said.

Hmmm… Van Siclen certainly makes some compelling points. The VAR Guy will be watching closely to see if those points translate into more channel momentum…

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