We Took Our Own Medicine: Adobe Boss

We Took Our Own Medicine: Adobe Boss
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Adobe’s president and chief executive officer, Shantanu Narayen, told the 7000 strong audience at its marketing cloud summit that it has experienced the pain of reinvention by applying its Marketing Cloud solutions to its Creative Cloud business.

“We are realising at Adobe that we have to apply that same thinking to how we deliver the Creative Cloud and how we communicate with our customers, by expanding the definition of what we call product,” he said.

“In the past we used to think of the desktop and mobile apps as separate from Adobe.com, but now we recognise that they’re all unified and their in turn exactly the same as other cloud services. So we are working ourselves towards integrating all of these into a unified end experience.”

Narayen said that from product discovery, to purchase, to download support as well as ongoing usage, all of the experiences had to be consistent and continuous.

For example the new Hello app within the Creative Cloud, personalises tutorials and tips for brand new users and allows Adobe to recommend new services from right inside the product.

“Turning your product into marketing puts marketing at the very centre of every single business. We understand that reinvention as a company is easier said than done. Some of you are further down the path than others, but we live it every day as customer zero for all of our solutions.”

In a wide ranging address as part of the opening session of the week long love-in for everyone with the word digital in their title, Narayen also said that Adobe had thought that marketing as a function was actually underrepresented and underserved by technology companies. That’s why it acquired the Salt Lake City based Omniture just over five years ago and embarked on creating the $US1.25 billion monster we have today.

“We realised that marketers not only wanted to create content, but they wanted to manage that content, and monitor it and optimise it.”

He also said that marketing in its entirety is on a reinvention journey. “How do you take advantage of all of the amazing technology that is available?” He argued that the pace of change is not just being measured in years anymore, but in months as well as weeks.

“However some fundamental principles of marketing don’t change,” he said. “Great creative is still the bedrock of marketing. To stand out whether it’s through humour or emotional connections through a story, the art of marketing creative is and always will be a constant.”

Narayen briefly charted the history of digital marketing saying the first phase of digital marketing, focused on the delivery of great creative digitally as companies stood up their websites. “Digital marketing took a huge step forward when businesses starting moving and targeting online. Art and science came together.

“Data and insights, visitor behaviour all of a sudden became available and at our finger tips. We could finally see where visitors were coming from and what they were doing on our websites. We could AB test content and we could personalize the messages that we had to drive conversion.

“And of course CMOs could finally start to answer the question of what 50% of my marketing budget was effective.”

Today, Narayen said, the Internet of Things was making the task of marketing even more challenging. “We are swimming with devices and data and more people who are connecting to the Internet through something other than a computer.

“As a community we need to stretch our focus on the customer experience. I would like to think that we are in this era now where your product is marketing.

“Traditionally as a marketer, your company gave you a product and your job was to market it. The questions you got to ask were things like, how do I position my brand, what’s the messaging, how do I allocate my media spend?

“But the new questions to ask are: Are we thinking broadly enough about what the product is? How can I bring together this power of digital marketing to dramatically improve the product experience?”

Narayen said that companies all around the world in every vertical are going through this change. Retail, travel, services, some of these companies have known that their product is marketing for a long time, because the service they deliver is synonymous with the brand. “It’s how they sell, not what they sell, that makes them stand out from the competition.”

The Summit also saw a slew of product announcements made on the first day.

A new solution called Audience Manager that offers new capabilities to gain greater insight into customer journeys, including a new Audience Marketplace to buy and sell anonymous audience data, and cross-device identification that lets marketers take advantage of user authentications to target individuals in a household that share a single device.

An all-in-one mobile app framework that dramatically simplifies the mobile app lifecycle – from app development and user acquisition to app analytics and user engagement.

A solution combining advances to Audience Core Services and a new algorithmic engine to unify audience targeting, buying, data and billing in one platform. Having a one-stop shop for all your targeting, data and billing needs is a big step forward in addressing the current challenges in programmatic ad buying and content delivery.

David Hovenden is currently in Salt Lake City for Adobe’s annual summit.

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