The content supply chain is ‘a mess’: Can Adobe help fix it?

We talk to Adobe partners about some of the challenges created by genAI and its ability to scale content creation.

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Talking to some prominent Adobe Partners in the corridors and on the Community Pavilion floor at Adobe Summit this year, we constantly heard the content space — the “content supply chain” as Adobe now calls it — referred to as “a mess.” And it’s getting messier. Problems that already existed will actually scale because of the speed and volume at which generative AI creates new content assets.

Nevertheless, the consensus seemed to be that Adobe is right to highlight these challenges and that, by continuing to build bridges between Creative Cloud and Experience Cloud, it is contributing to what one day might look like at a solution.

(Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Algolia: Adobe is enabling efficiencies for brands

Piyush Patel, chief strategic business development officer at Algolia, has been involved in the Adobe ecosystem for some time, working with Adobe partner Sapient and later leading Capgemini’s Adobe practice.

Q: What is Algolia’s proffer?

A: The idea among marketers has been, I know this customer, I am going to create an experience for them. Well, there’s 8 billion people in the world; you can’t create 8 billion experiences. The tools have been moving towards determining automatically what people want to see. Adobe Real-Time CDP can understand you from all the different touchpoints of Adobe. But, where they have a gap, the biggest touchpoint where the most intent is collected, is when a user searches for something — specifically looking for one thing. The user tells you what they want rather than the marketing determining what to put in front of the user. What we’ve been doing is figuring out how to merge those two things.

Adobe Target knew something you did, something you clicked on; we knew something you searched for; we’ve brought all that together. Search is not just “find me red boots.” You want to be smart about it — we leverage AI to say, what does “red boots” mean? Where else have they clicked? What have they bought before? Take all these data elements and the search result for “red boots” should be different for one user than for another.

Q: And search can get quite complicated for purchases beyond “red boots,” like what do I need for a camping trip or skiing trip?

A: Yes, we have a session tomorrow with Norwegian Cruise Line, one of our customers. How they leverage us with Adobe is, you’re looking at destinations, stops on the way, ratings and reviews, availability, cabin sizes, prices — there’s a lot of content to consume and as a brand you want to surface that to guide the customer towards a decision.

Q: What has struck you about Adobe’s announcements at this year’s Summit?

A: When they talk about the workflow, they’re enabling companies to be more efficient about it — the work was broken down into silos before. They’ve done a good job over the last five years, with the integration with Workfront and everything else, to make the internal creation of content and experience process more efficient for brands.

Dig deeper: Adobe continues to roll out genAI capabilities across its platform

Claravine: Creative Cloud and Experience Cloud finally coming together

Chris Comstock, chief growth officer at Claravine, spent several years at Adobe, becoming a senior product manager, before arriving at Claravine via Bitly and Oracle.

Q: First, tell us about Claravine.

A: We’ve been around for almost 10 years; initially it was an Adobe Analytics tracking code solution. We’ve transitioned into pure marketing taxonomy/metadata management selling into the enterprise. We’re an Adobe partner helping standardize metadata and naming conventions in Adobe Experience Manager.

With genAI creating more content, the mess just becomes bigger. Some of these big brands have thousands of assets sitting in their DAM. We are their single source of truth for everything marketing taxonomy and metadata.

Q: But Adobe Experience Manager does have AI-powered asset tagging already, doesn’t it?

A: Yes. We are complementary. There are business requirements the AI is not necessarily going to know, so we are helping them manage that. We are also helping them manage change, so if they switch agencies they can onboard their new agency into our solution.

Q: Claravine itself is not a DAM though?

A: No. We are just focused on that metadata. We integrate into a DAM. 

Q: Adobe’s demonstrations of the impact genAI can have on the content supply chain are impressive, but don’t problems come along with the scale?

A: As you start to do personalization, you’ve got a thousand assets times a thousand ad units, and different publishers. That complexity no one is talking about. Nobody controls Google, Meta, CTV, all these platforms. It just gets messy; in fact, it’s getting messier. It’s easy to create the assets but someone’s still got to create the campaigns.

We help teams to understand what assets should be used for what audiences. Where assets are curated for a specific market, we can help teams use those assets correctly.

Q: What is the most interesting development you’ve been hearing about at Summit?

A: I spent some time at Adobe and back then we talked about Creative Cloud and Experience Cloud coming together, and I think they’re finally coming together. The planning, the workflow, Firefly — they’re getting to the promise of those tools bridging together, where you’ve got the creative teams working in the system connecting to analytics and measurement and the operations teams. Those things are starting to be connected together in a more seamless way.

Dig deeper: Adobe: Enhancements to B2B and CDP offerings

Stensul: Adobe is shining a spotlight on problems

Stensul began as a startup helping teams to collaborate on email creation without a need for coding skills. It has since expanded its offering to landing pages and it integrates with a range of Adobe applications. Noah Dinkin is founder and CEO.

Q: For all the excitement about genAI, it surely places a greater strain on the content supply chain?

A: From our perspective, we appreciate that someone with a very large megaphone (Adobe) is shining a big spotlight pointing at content supply chain problems. This is not a sustainable way of operating at the pace things are growing. We would say the exact same things.

Q: At one time, the problem with content was that it couldn’t keep up with personalization. Now the pendulum has swung; assets can be created at scale, but can people keep up with review, approval and so on?

A: Review, approval and staying within brand guardrails — not just the color palette, but tone of voice. In a technologist’s utopia, the machine will optimize everything and potentially optimize away the specialness about this brand versus that brand. Does it all end up homogeneous?

In the near term and perhaps for years, there will be many human eyes on things before they go out the door.

Q: Stensul must be looking closely at the GenStudio announcement?

A: The problem space that “content supply chain” talks about, we live that world. That’s what we’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to. It’s B2B, it’s B2C, and it’s a mess everywhere, regardless of channel. It’s a question of what depth of mess. The way to solve it is to democratize who can actually create things; the way that’s going to fly in a company of size is that you’ll need guardrails, and Stensul has extremely robust guardrails at a granular level.


GenStudio recognizes that the approach needs to be more radical than just incremental efficiencies. Bringing comments into the right rail in Photoshop doesn’t solve the problem. We already integrate with the products that GenStudio sits on top of, or integrates with. As GenStudio becomes a real product, I’m sure there will be APIs and we’re figuring that out. 

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About the author

Kim Davis
Staff
Kim Davis is currently editor at large at MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for almost three decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Shortly thereafter he joined Third Door Media as Editorial Director at MarTech.

Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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