The Experience has Exploded

Experienced-focused interaction dives into conquering human affectation, whether you like it or not.

We get it. The Experience is our business now. The Experience is now The Experience. We’ve inceptioned ourselves into a feedback loop where every experience is THE Experience and if it’s not being collected, analyzed, synthesized, monitored and anthropomorphized...then how can we tell if it’s working?

I’ve worked up this fervor for experience from Adobe Summit last week, where Adobe unveiled the new Adobe Experience Cloud, which consists of three more clouds- specifically Marketing, Analytics, and Advertising. Despite cloud proliferation, it’s experience as the crucial touchpoint that was hammered all week in Vegas, and through which much of the surreal tech advancements have been funneled. Adobe displayed feats of AI, VR, and data gathering that honestly left my jaw on the floor.

Technologically Human

Reflecting on it all, I see an incredibly interesting dynamic to the progression of technology today: by using iteratively advanced programs and artificial intelligence, we are racing after and trying to nab intrinsically human affectations, emotions, and logic, feed them into algorithms, and force them into ones and zeros. (And ultimately, cash.)

During one session at Summit, someone posited, “People often say their reason is X, but it’s really Y.  What if they’re wrong about what’s driving them?” Let’s sit with that a minute. What if someone’s emotion/logic/fundamental understanding of their being is wrong? Are we ready to begin a tautological argument now about the nature of being over someone’s purchase logic for cheese crisps?

Let’s forget the Greeks for a minute. Humans are error-prone. Humans lie to others and more often to themselves. We are creating technology now to understand surface emotions and patterns of behavior that then suggest other emotions or reasoning patterns. I find it thrilling that we’re doing this, but then also wary when the next step is to go deeper and pry mechanical fingers into ids, egos, and the essence of humanity.  

Marketers (that term is out, too, by the way, per Adobe) are poised to become d­­­e facto psychiatrists, analyzing your contextual data to understand your buying, reading, and upselling logic, when you yourself might not even realize it. I see money to be made on the other side of this—selling this data back to people for their own edification. I’m officially noting that I’d like credit for this when it becomes a service.

So, Experience Curation, née Marketing, is now analyzing our emotions and context for greater meaning. As the newly unveiled Adobe Sensei and other AI has shown, we can now also target consumers via sensors in public to gather age, gender, and physical attributes, and adjust ads and content to their segment preferences on the fly. Through Natural Language Processing via our perky AI assistants, Siri, Alexa, and whatever else you call your anthropomorphized data collection device, our search terms, semantic data, and other contextual clues can be gathered and used to suggest purchases or even auto-send you samples of products might like.

Innovation vs. Privacy

As a marketer, I am abuzz with the possibilities those technologies can unlock. As a consumer, my initial thoughts are of my privacy. Who is drawing the line on passive or active data collection? Where is the opt-out button when these experiences play out in the physical world? If my private search and emotions are now fair game, where can one be free of predation? These worries dampen the wonder of it all, The Experience becomes cautionary instead of revolutionary.

The speed of technology is swift and impressive, but our duty also lies in applying it carefully.  We have a responsibility to our customers to dole out these new and perhaps intrusive technologies and techniques in ways that are digestible and still delightful; as data collection and synthesis become the fulcrum around which businesses operate, the give and take of information between brands and consumers will change.  As a marketer, a consumer, and a human, finding the sweet spot is what it will take to craft the perfect Experience.