Adobe Offer Decisioning, The New Next Best Action

13 May 2021

What is the next best message I can put in front of each and every one of my customers? This is a marketer’s million-dollar question which Adobe is trying to address with its latest application service called “Offer Decisioning”.

What is the approach?

For the next best offer question to make sense, you need to consider it in the context of a channel and a marketing objective. If you do not narrow down the context, the answer will inevitably be “it depends”…

With Offer decisioning, the Marketer can prepare a selection of Offers (the variants) and the system will apply the declared rules to select the one most relevant to each customer.

What is an Offer?

It is important to note that in this context, the term Offer broadly refers to a “message”. Yes, it could be a discount, but it might be a loyalty message, a reminder to participate in a survey or even a product tip.

Example of offer categories – Adobe Summit

Why is this complicated?

There are 3 main reasons why the “next best offer” approach is complicated.

  • Offer Management. Logistically, the offers and their associated MetaData (parameters like eligibility or representations) need a repository that is both fit for purpose and maintainable on a day-to-day basis. The usability of this library is crucial.
  • Applying a rule is not complicated, but the challenge rapidly ramps up in complexity and scale once you consider large number of rules, customers and data points.
  • Deployment. The decisioning needs to be centralised to maintain consistency and avoid duplicating work, and it needs to be accessible across all channels from an integration perspective.

What do we make of the new Adobe Offer Decisioning?

As Adobe Campaign specialists, we cannot ignore the fact that the approach is the same as the one taken with the Interaction module. From what we have seen, most use cases could be addressed within the context of Interaction in ACC. Yet, it doesn’t mean this new approach isn’t valid.

What we see as significant improvements:

  • The content management library seems much more user-friendly, after all, this is Adobe’s historical sweet spot.
  • The solution is based on REST APIs, making it more straightforward to technically integrate into your marketing stack.
  • It should be easier to utilise real-time data streams although many use-cases do not require this to be valid.
  • Finally, we are told that scaling is natively built-in which implies that support for large offer catalogues and customer databases should not be an architectural issue.

In our experience, Interaction is a powerful solution that many marketers find challenging to tame. The new offer decisioning tool is a validation that the approach was right whilst addressing the usability constraints. As an example, the in-context preview shown during the demo was particularly neat!

Illustration of an offer being inserted into an Email (Source: Adobe Summit Demo)

Devil is always in the detail and there is no doubt we will come back to this topic once we have explored and tested the solution in more depth.

Adobe Target vs Adobe Offer Decisioning

As a final note, it was made clear that Offer Decisioning is not intended to replace Adobe Target. Target recommendations are algorithmic, whereas the selection criteria of Offer Decisioning are user-defined eligibility rules. Target uses the data of all customers which makes it particularly useful for anonymous web visitors whereas Offer Decisioning applies rules specifically in the context of a single customer’s data. The approach is different, more relevant to one-to-one CRM.

Links to relevant sessions

Offer management is discussed 22 minutes into the “Orchestrating Personalized B2C and B2B Customer Journeys at Scale” session

Create and Manage Personalized Next-Best Offers (23min – positioning and demo)

What Next?

If you’d like to implement Offer Decisioning and are already an Adobe Campaign Classic client, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss the most appropriate solution.

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