Friday, March 23, 2012

A View from the Summit

What does marketing look like from the top?

Given Adobe's client base, there is no doubt what happens at the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit doesn't stay here is Salt Lake City.  This year's message about the Digital Self is likely to be repeated in the conference rooms of the biggest companies with the question: What do we do now?

But this is a tale of two conferences: It was a marketing conference; it was a technology conference.  Those who had been to previous Omniture Summits missed the deep diving 'how do I' sessions.  The new marketers in attendance wanted less code or product marketing and more solutions and proof.   Reflecting this duality many a company sent both their geeks and their business minds as hallway conversations involved small groups. 

This being Adobe's Summit, their site-centric view of the world yielded a common refrain: convert traffic into sales.  Even the session on media monetization focused on segmenting site content based on traffic patterns.  Their position on driving traffic still remains one for their partners as evidenced by the sponsors - multichannel campaign management and search companies dominated the exhibit hall.  So, it falls short of being a full-blown digital marketing conference.

They continue to extend the Genesis idea of data integration in a couple of new ways - separate environments for handling of multi-channel and real time data (e.g. Insights), integration of analytics into reporting (Navigator - from the lab), and numerous social plays - usually from an ad or campaign point of view.   The idea of personal, direct-to-consumer communication remains elusive. 

Personal highlights:
  • "Self-expression is the new entertainment" - Arianna Huffington's view of the time spent on line.  Whether permission is granted to use that to sell stuff remains to be seen.
  • A chance encounter to have lunch with Adobe founder John Warnock where we discussed 'where was this all going?'   His view:  simple, end-to-end understanding of how to market.  The opportunity to have a point of view on what content to create is still open and 'is the right question'.
  • "Fail fast to succeed faster" - the conclusion of a session on conversion testing delivered by my son.  I'll admit to being proud and prefer this to Biz Stone's recommendation to hire people who have failed in the past.

  1. At some point the adjective 'digital' will be dropped and this will be just the Adobe Marketing conference as those in attendance assume leadership positions.
  2. Off-site strategy remains a big opportunity while on-site optimization is becoming a professional service. 
  3. The blending of CMO and CIO will continue as both disciplines will be required going forward. Saying you don't understand technology or marketing will be career-limiting.
  4. Consumer identification remains the holy grail.   All working sessions talked about the year-long integration challenges to get to a place where the vision could be realized. 
  5. Data and analytics will be the fabric of marketing planning; they will have a seat at the table from the beginning.

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