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Digital Marketing

Now more than ever, experience is the brand – recap of the Adobe Summit Day 1

by Duff Anderson, on Mar 11, 2015


Yesterday marked the opening of the Adobe Summit, the largest digital marketing conference in the world. With over 7,000 attendees, from 44 countries representing 76% of the top Fortune 500 companies, this is a digital marketing rock show. Brad Rencher SVP at Adobe kicked off the festivities in true visionary style. He opened the conference with bold statements on the future of digital marketing, challenging us as a community to stretch our focus on the customer experience. Below are a few of my key takeaways and thoughts from day one of the Adobe Summit:

Digital marketing blends art and science

It wouldn’t be an Adobe conference without looking at the creative side. But as Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, explained great creative content will always be a part of marketing. But digital marketing is where art and science come together to deliver the right content to the right customer at the right time. We are living in a data driven world where we are challenging the old adage, ‘Half my marketing dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half.’ One of the consequences of this amalgamation is the exponential growth of marketing technologies that bring art and science together. But as Shantanu noted, marketers can’t operate in a silo. Recently, eMarketer found that a marketer's number one priority when selecting a new technology is that it integrates with existing tools. Innovation that integrates systems is essential to break down data silos and empower marketers to leverage the wealth of data at their fingertips. Until recently, some of the most valuable first party data, such as customer feedback or Voice of the Customer data, was sitting siloed in reports however now it can be leveraged by marketing technologies such as the Adobe Marketing Cloud to create more customer centric experiences.  

Consistent and continuous experiences

Brad Rencher continued the keynote emphasizing that the digital reality is that the customer experience is your brand. Consumers interact with your brand when they want and how they want. This creates more opportunities for brands to delight consumers but also more opportunities to disappoint. The key for marketers is to be consistent and continuous in creating experiences. Consumers want experiences that are seamless across touch points and follow them across touch points. Brad shared a great experience about buying a new car where he had selected the exact car configuration he wanted on his tablet but when he went to the store he was presented with glossy printed brochures. His experience didn’t transition from tablet to in-store, neither was it consistent across touch points. This is what customers expect. To delight consumers, brands need to understand their customers’ needs, wants and desires before they can deliver.

Mobile is not a side show of your business

Of course, a digital marketing keynote would not be complete without a mention of the need to embrace mobile. The keynote presentation touched on the need for marketers to create end to end mobile strategies. Mobile can’t be an afterthought. It is the bridge to get consumers into the store and engage with your brand. Recently, The Altimeter Group released a white paper on the inevitability of a mobile-only customer experience where they noted that, “When businesses don’t consider difference in mobile device interactive they’re left with a one-size-fits all approach to mobile that doesn’t account for nuances of engagement, context and intention vary greatly from one platform to the next.” Marketers need to think mobile first. This change in thinking also needs to be applied to research. The desktop experience is radically different to the mobile experience. Only by collecting customer feedback on mobile can brands truly understand their mobile user experience.

The Adobe Summit is challenging marketers to recognize that as technology and behavior changes so does marketing. As Brad stated for brands to deliver a comprehensive experience they need to pivot. Marketing can no longer be one department among many, marketing is the epicenter of this transformation and the customer experience is at the forefront.

Image credit - Magnus Höij

Duff Anderson
Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience.

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