Adobe proves you can successfully disrupt yourself, diversify your products, and excite your customers

“Build or Buy” is the age-old dilemma for corporations seeking growth, but its more critical than ever in the era of growth hacking. You can also do both. For instance, Adobe Systems Inc. was known for its installed base of shrink-wrapped purchasing creative types who devoured the latest versions of Photoshop and Illustrator. Adobe’s customers were loyal because these products were the gold standard.

That was all smooth sailing until the likes of firms like Salesforce, Oracle and Marketo and others forced a new standard for marketers oriented towards digital experiences over design. In response, Adobe moved to disrupt itself, and the gamble paid off. It adopted the subscription model, and the stock rallied to new highs as revenue and margins continue to climb. It also diversified and established a stronghold in the digital marketing technology space with its Adobe Experience Cloud and made blockbuster acquisitions of Magento in Commerce and Marketo in marketing automation.

In “Growth IQ” by Tiffani Bova, the 2018 book for marketers looking to engineer new growth strategies, Tiffani recommends that at least 1/3 of a company’s revenues should come from products developed in the last 3 years for it to define itself as an innovative company.

While at the same, time Bova cautions about the risks. “The more new products you develop, the greater the customer insight you will need to stay on top of.”

True, but the risk of not doing anything far outweighs these organizational challenges, and Adobe took the plunge.

For Adobe, it appears it bridged that gap from 1990s-era software giant to MarTech cloud champion. Adobe’s Experience Cloud, initially launched in 2012 as the Adobe Marketing Cloud, has now enabled the company to double its revenue in the last five years.

And last week, as a testament to  its commitment to innovation, it was once again named a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms. For the second straight year, Adobe placed the furthest in the Leaders quadrant for completeness of vision.

“Today, organizations are challenged with understanding and engaging with every customer at an individual level to deliver exceptional experiences that build lasting brand loyalty,” said Suresh Vittal, vice president, Adobe Experience Cloud. Top brands using Adobe Experience Cloud include 24 Hour Fitness, British Telecom, Foot Locker, the National Football League, Scandinavian Airlines, Swisscom, T-Mobile, the company says.

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