Adobe on Monday shared with ZDNET its aggressive new efforts to reach small and medium-sized businesses on their own turf: on platforms like Etsy and Meta, as well as with the help of Mastercard's SMB programs.
Amid concerns that a recession might be looming on the horizon, the new partnerships aim to prove to small businesses that Adobe's creative design tools are easy enough for lean teams to use and a worthwhile investment.
"SMBs are usually the first to get squeezed in any downturn," Claire Darley, Adobe's VP of digital media GTM and sales, said to ZDNET. But they're also generally "the first to recover due to their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. They find ways to do things, and to have impact, with less. SMBs are relying on digital solutions and companies like Adobe to achieve a number of things."
During Etsy's recent Holiday Edition event, which prepared Etsy sellers for the busy holiday shopping season, 5.3 million sellers received four-month premium trials of Adobe Express, the simple, cloud-based media design app. This should help them create better product listings, as well as content like promotional design graphics, social media content and logos.
Meanwhile, Adobe has partnered with Meta to launch "Express Your Brand" – a training program that offers free education and tools to help SMBs grow their visibility online. The program will also grant annual Adobe Express premium subscriptions to 10,000 Black, Latinx and Hispanic-owned businesses.
With Mastercard, certain SMB cardholders will be able to pre-pay for any Creative Cloud for Individual app (like Acrobat Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator or Adobe Express) and get complimentary months applied to their subscription.
By partnering with companies that are already largely associated with SMBs, "we can have a collective impact," Darley said, "and join the dots to help [small businesses] compete."
Adobe's own market research recently found that 77% of SMBs say that ongoing economic uncertainty has compelled them to look for new ways to collaborate. Additionally, 70% of SMBs say they are using digital tools to do more with less amid labor shortages.
The new partnerships with Etsy, Meta and MasterCard coincide with the development of new capabilities designed to make Adobe more accessible for entrepreneurs who have to wear many hats while running their businesses. Tools like Adobe Express are being updated with new features tailored for SMBs.
The idea behind these new capabilities, Darley said, is to "make it easy for SMBs to monetize their great idea, by giving them things we have a really proud and strong heritage on – like Photoshop and Illustrator – but may be out of reach for somebody who isn't a professional designer. How do we take the best of those products and put them in an 'express' version?"
Adobe Express, for instance, is making it easier for SMBs to manage social media content with features like content scheduling and color palette recommendations. Additionally, new Adobe Acrobat integrations enable SMBs to design content like cover pages and section dividers.
Adobe is also introducing in beta something called Share for Review, which lets users share a version-specific link to a Photoshop or Illustrator file. It automatically flows reviewers' comments back into the app, eliminating the need to juggle between different tools.
Also within Adobe's Creative Cloud, the company is using its Sensei AI engine to simply and automate repetitive tasks.
Adobe is also adding SMB-focused capabilities to its Document Cloud and Experience Cloud tools. For instance, Adobe Acrobat is getting free web-based watermarking, cropping, redaction, OCR, stamping, certifying and page-numbering tools. Additionally, Adobe Marketo Engage is making it easier for SMBs to automate marketing efforts with features like quick-start templates for e-mails.