From startups and multinational corporations to government agencies and non-profits, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is helping millions of customers unlock the potential of the cloud. AWS services help organizations of all sizes build applications at a speed that can meet changing consumer needs and market dynamics. And over the last fifteen years, AWS has launched over 200 services and solutions across computers, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, and more.
Six months ago, before I joined Adobe to lead marketing for the Adobe Experience Cloud, I worked at AWS and saw first-hand how the company helped organizations drive key initiatives. In the midst of COVID-19, AWS played an important role when customers across industries had to make sudden pivots: Consider Zoom, which worked with AWS to rapidly scale its service and deliver continuous innovation for its expanding base of corporate and individual customers. Or the Los Angeles Unified School District, which leaned on AWS to quickly activate remote and virtual learning.
And take the University of North Carolina Health and the State of Rhode Island, organizations that worked with AWS to deliver new channels for communities to navigate healthcare and employment issues. AWS also helped the National Football League (NFL) run its first-ever virtual NFL Draft, helping ensure that over 100 live feeds ran successfully and creating a seamless experience for everyone watching.
Image source: Adobe Stock / fizkes
While helping customers navigate this new environment, internally AWS also had to re-think how teams engaged with customers. Virtually overnight, face-to-face business meetings and in-person conferences were put on pause. For a company that once held thousands of events globally each year, AWS quickly embraced virtual events as part of their broader marketing strategy.
AWS used Adobe Experience Cloud to deliver a polished customer journey online with analytics, personalization and marketing automation tools. AWS, working with Adobe, was building in real-time the future of B2B marketing and role of hybrid events.
A Quick Pivot
It’s no surprise that events are a primary component of any B2B marketing strategy. With customer needs that can be multi-faceted, complex use cases that require specific product functionality and multiple stakeholders, high-touch experiences are necessary to connect with, educate, and inspire customers about how products and solutions can work for them.
Across the thousands of events worldwide that AWS holds each year, from large conferences to more intimate customer roundtables, the biggest one is re:Invent. Held annually in Las Vegas, re:Invent brings together tens of thousands of attendees for keynotes, breakout sessions, trainings, and more. AWS re:Invent is, at its core, an education and sharing conference for customers that brings together the AWS community to learn from and inspire each other.
In 2020, when COVID-19 brought in-person events to a halt, the AWS marketing team re-imagined re:Invent as a virtual event spread out over three weeks, with over 650 education sessions, five keynotes, and 20 leadership sessions. AWS was able to use the online experience to dramatically expand its audience to over 300,000 attendees.
Image source: AWS
Virtual re:Invent was very popular with customers, with many giving feedback that it should happen every year alongside the in-person event. For AWS, it was a signal that their approach in creating a connected and personalized customer experience paid off.
From the start, while the event drew inspiration from an in-person experience, AWS needed to embrace what worked offline, while building a completely reimagined virtual experience.
For example, live attendees are accustomed to seamless transitions when they arrive at the conference, from shuttle transportation to signage that guides them through sessions and breakouts. With Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and Marketo Engage, AWS was able to orchestrate this digitally as well and create a personalized digital journey during the conference, targeting customers with content and also suggesting sessions based on audience profiles.
Insights on how attendees were navigating and consuming content online were used to deliver and then optimize an integrated journey that spanned channels such as the re:Invent website, paid media, email, and sales. Prior to the conference, AWS used Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, and Marketo Engage to create registration journeys for different types of customers, from new prospects to highly engaged accounts.
Image source: AWS
Going forward, AWS plans to leverage Adobe Experience Cloud to deliver even greater personalization at scale. The goal is to ensure that the AWS customer journey includes customized paths, allowing for scenarios where customers are given an option to connect with a specific expert tailored to the content that most interests them.
In other instances, AWS will be able to easily identify low performing assets online and swap them out with something more relevant for a particular segment of customers. Insights would then be passed regularly to the AWS sales team, so that if someone needed more help, an AWS representative could contact them personally.
“This year marks our 10th annual AWS re:Invent, and if the pandemic has taught us one thing it’s that blending in-person and virtual experiences will become a new reality for marketers moving forward,” said Rachel Thornton, Vice President of Global Marketing, Amazon Web Services (AWS). “The key is in building a cohesive customer journey online, which we were able to deliver with Adobe Experience Cloud. It allowed us to reach more customers globally, while enhancing the overall experience that in-person attendees could have at virtual and, in the future, hybrid events.”
On a personal note, I have been lucky enough to work directly with both Rachel Thornton (my former manager at AWS) and Anil Chakravarthy (GM and EVP of Adobe Experience Cloud – and my current manager) who will share the stage for a fireside chat at Adobe’s Experience Makers Live event – don’t miss it! These are two amazing mentors and leaders; Rachel taught me that great marketing is nothing without a deep focus on the customer, and Anil has showed me the speed, focus and agility needed to run a fast-paced enterprise SaaS business. Join me at the free, Experience Makers Live virtual event on August 31, 2021 .
Source : Adobe