Reinventing Marketing at Adobe Summit 2014

My first presentation at Adobe summit 2014 in London today was the morning keynote and it’s so packed with information that I still wonder, while I’m writing these lines, how I can summarise so much information. Here is my account of this morning’s keynote in which Adobe delivered gazillion innovations impacting both the field of marketing and digital. 

Adobe: reinventing marketing

Marketing, let’s be clear, needs a hard reset. We work in silos, pedalling heads down trying to get to grips with new tools as they emerge, and each tool that comes in is being added one after the other in an increasingly hard to digest multichannel sandwich. It’s time to reinvent marketing. And believe it or not, Adobe, the Brand famous for bringing software like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, might well be a major player in this entire marketing rethink. I know it sounds zanyish but it’s happening; if the Adobe Marketing Cloud BU has already reached the $ 1Bn mark, something big must be happening.

Brad Rencher in this morning’s keynote, announced just that; but unlike most corporate marketing presentations, Rencher and his teams showed us, in real time, on the screen, how they deliver on their promises. “We hear about changing consumer behaviour all the time but what we are seeing now is that these changes are having an impact on organisations” Brad Rencher said by way of introduction. “We’ve seen this coming for decades as marketeers and now, we have the opportunity for marketers is to reinvent ourselves and create new things. This is something much broader than just marketing”, Brad said, “it’s about reinventing the enterprise”.

reinventing marketing
Adobe’s Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Marketing Business Unit at Adobe Systems ready for a hard reset of marketing
Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen stepped in and delivered his vision. “Technology isn’t enough. Enterprises will have to break the silos and listen to customer expectations”. This is in fact what Adobe did for themselves. By moving all their business into the cloud : the creative cloud.  Their whole business model has changed. They were able to embrace this humongous change even though their existing business model made up 70% of their revenue. Tell us about people entitled to talk about digital transformation to others. “This means  reinventing everything and break through the clutter of the buzzwords and deliver outstanding customer experience” Narayen said.
How will we unlearn marketing
Reinventing oneself is the challenge but “unlearning is a huge hurdle” Brad Rencher said. Like driving in London when you learnt in the States for instance. So how we in the industry unlearn marketing?
“Imagine there are no bosses, no hierarchy, no processes … What would marketing look like if we started with blank sheet. Then we’d focus on doing just one things, that is serve our customers” he said. Like jumping on new channels as they emerge and adding channels on top of channels means that we are working the wrong way. We need to be backwards compatible but this is a huge problem because we’d have to ditch everything we do at the moment.
Adobe marketing cloud is aimed at doing that
Marketing cloud handles the whole process from cradle to grave: analytics, campaign, experience management, media optimiser, social and target. By feeding existing analytics data into the media optimiser adobe is able to make clients save 50% on their SEM for instance. The platform is huge and supports zillions of transactions every year and Adobe comets on pursuing their effort of innovation to support marketeers with their challenges due to fragmentation. In the new version of the marketing cloud platform there a re new tools aimed at solving such issues.
Brad took two examples: profiles and content. The profile management service will enable users to use profiles through all existing channels to run their marketing campaigns without having to manage different profiles. As to content, adobe has worked on a system to help users move faster by creating an assets library to speed up the sharing of content assets across platforms and users. Marketing mix planning gives hints as to where marketeers should spend their dollars. And once the recommendation has been issued, marketeers can also use the platform to execute that campaign.
And of course the platform is linked to the company’s CRM, and ERP and all necessary back end systems.
Marketing reimagined

This is “marketing reimagined” Brad said and he and his teams went on demonstrating how they deliver this directly from the screen. The demo which impressed me most was that of the mobile app development system which gives you hints as to the amount of savings which can be derived from that. Here is how it works :

  • Understand our client as a whole person : never lose sight of customer. Not the media plan view or the CRM viiew of the customer but all bungee.ed together, the real view of the customer. This is what analysts call emergence. This is not just a data store, it’s about taking that data and turning it into useful information. Master marketing profile takes information for of all sources about your customer and sharing it with other employees, it’s some sort of superior webs analytics inclusive of information from social media. Profiles can be grouped into what Adobe calls Audiences. All profiles are shared in an anonymous manner and Adobe insisted on maintaining the highest standard of data privacy but the profile core service is also able to merge. Social media and buying media from an indentified existing client for instance; this enables Adobe to bridge the gap between behaviour (through analytics), assets managements (like items of a marketing campaign which can be generated directly from within the marketing cloud platform) and even the campaign management therefore delivering on the promise of a non fragmented marketing environment sketched out by Brad Rencher earlier.

reinventing marketing
A holistic view of Marketing … at last, all unified through Software. Some found it funny that we had to have Software to do that, but in fact, ERPs did this to HR & Finance and many other areas 15 years ago… I’m not surprised
  • Burst of creativity : we’ve had our moments with “cute display ads” Brad said but one has to move beyond this Brad said. We have the data now we must deliver the right experience with the help of the data that we have. Adobe experience manager is about that. Assets can all be inter connected and deliver for desktop and the mobile web. Brad has focused on mobiles in his presentation. Consumers want apps but creating deploying and evolving these apps has never been more challenging. But are we thinking broadly enough? We need to make apps easier to develop. Adobe has development is making it possible to create and maintain mobile apps with drag and drop applications and that included e-commerce applications too. A lot of what we see in the mobile application space is similar to how websites were built 20 years ago. One of the biggest challenge is, despite what people think, bringing the app to a phone. “We want to to make this an accelerated experience” the Adobe rep said on stage. It’s done on IOS only and IOS 7 only though, but the landscape is very fragmented and poses a real issue to marketers. It also enables marketeers to test the look and feel of the new app without talking to IT nor contacting the many agencies involved in the development.
Time will tell us how marketing has been reinvented. Software can certainly trigger behavioural changes, but it will also require a fair bit of change from the people point of view, a challenge which Adobe is ready to tackle as well, knowing that they are very active in various in-job training programmes to help marketeers evolve. They sure have a long way to go.
Evernote Snapshot 20140514 092924
 Shantanu Narayen … reinventing marketing

Web design: simple is beautiful

Today’s selection is about Web design courtesy of the Optimezely Agency

Web designBecause I am sick and tired about hearing people focus on look and feel when they should be focusing on user experience and content, and because user experience and content aren’t about html5 (let alone Flash! Heaven forbid…) but about optimising quality, interest, readability and click-throughs. Have you noticed that most successful websites are, by and large, designers’ nightmares? eBay, Amazon, Yahoo!, Gmail, trip advisor, Schibsted’s websites, Rakuten’s platforms etc. to name a few aren’t really good examples of “nice” websites, but they are all very effective. In the early a days, and for a long time after that, Yahoo! was nicknamed the “typographic nightmare” by designers because they didn’t even know how to antialias their logo.

So why are Corporate clients still focusing on those eccentric designer websites which look like tablet apps, behave like crazy and have a huge negative impact on SEO.

Go figure it out… What about hubris?

6 Best Practices from 251,391 Website Experiments (and how to apply them)

By removing the optional “Search” field, Seamless was able to reduce choices and create a more …er, seamless experience for their visitors.

  • 20% increase in click-through-rate
  • 5% increase in completed ordersno. 3. Words matter. Focus on your call to action

Profile: One of the fastest-growing online legal services company, based in SF
Rocket Lawyer applied best practice #3 to their “incorporate” landing page:

  • Original: “Incorporate Now”
  • Variation: “Get started”


>> go on reading at: 6 Best Practices from 251,391 Website Experiments (and how to apply them) 


Long Now Foundation: slower pace, better future … well maybe

(you may also vote for this article on Marktd)

The Long Now Foundation Good morning, we are on Monday, the twenty first of January zero two thousand and eight. No this isn’t a typo, but rather a sign that we are taking into account the fact that humanity still has a few millenniums to go through. Well… hopefully! [One may have doubts when one considers the dreadful status of pollution in emerging behemoths like China (and this is just a beginning; despite courageous efforts by the likes of the ex Prime Minister Gordon Brown, there is little or no evidence that anything will be done to curb carbon emissions over there)]. Thus, focussing on the long term is what the ‘Long Now Foundation’ (a term coined by famous UK musician and innovator Brian Eno) is doing as a day job. The foundation is a think tank aimed at promoting long term thinking (by long term, the foundation member certainly don’t mean anything like 18 to 24 months). As a result their seven recommendations are that we should:

  1. serve the long view (and the long viewer)
  2. foster responsibility
  3. reward patience
  4. mind mythic depth
  5. ally with competition
  6. take no sides
  7. leverage longevity

Layers of SpeedAll which items should be heard by marketers as the foundation for increasing Corporate Responsibility in what they are doing. Needless to say that we still have a long way to go, but there are also encouraging signs that things are moving in the right direction. Yet, those of us who are endeavouring to take a lot of hindsight and put Nature above Fashion and not sacrifice Culture and the Environment on the altar of greed, may have a tough time now and again. It was my case when I read that issue (Vol. 171, No. 4 dated January 28, 2008) of Time magazine Europe; the ‘briefing‘ section on page of this issue triggered a few thoughts related to that subject. In this section weirdly entitled ENVIROTECH and even more weirdly substitled Green Machines, Time describes some of the highlights of the Detroit 2008 auto show:

Detroit’s annual Auto Show displays the best and brightest prototypes for eco-friendly cars Jan. 19-27. A look at some of the top innovators from the U.S. and abroad.

  • TOYOTA A-BAT Utilizes solar panels
  • SAAB 9-4X BIOPOWER Runs on biofuels
  • FISKER HYBRID First true electric plug-in car
  • JEEP RENEGADE Gets up to 110 m.p.g.
  • MERCEDES-BENZ VISION GLK Powered by a diesel engine
  • LAND ROVER LRX 2-L turbodiesel

This is how huge diesel-powered SUV’s, dubbed Chelsea Tractors in London by Environmental activists, are deemed “green” (for a hint on what Diesel fumes have in store for you, please check the UK Government’s official Health and Safety Executive website). Seeing this makes you think about long term view doesn’t it.

The Long Now Foundation describes its Clock and Library project in the following way:

“Such a clock, if sufficiently impressive and well engineered, would embody deep time for people. It should be charismatic to visit, interesting to think about, and famous enough to become iconic in the public discourse. Ideally, it would do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment. Such icons reframe the way people think”.

But the real question is not whether people see the clock (or Arthus Bertrand’s earth from above photos or Nasa’s or anything else) and think it’s cool. The real point is how do we go beyond this and actually do something about it. Marketing and Innovation has to go beyond this green paradox and start acting on it, or it will disappear. For those who still doubt it, I would recommend that they read Futurelab’s Alain Thys’s presentation on how Marketing committed suicide.

Let us hope that the clock is really well engineered and that we’ll keep our eyes on it all the time, there is a lot of catching up to do.

side note: many thanks to Stewart Baines from Futurity Media for telling me about the Long Now Foundation.

Scott Berkun Spells Out The Myths of Innovation

The Myths of Innovation is a must-read for would-be innovators

(important notice: this post is the original and unabridged version of a post written for Bnet, to which I am a regular contributor)

“Poor is the substance, alas! and yet I’ve read all the books”: Stéphane Mallarmé’s warning would be perfectly valid for most of the literature devoted to innovation. There are books on that subject however, which are really worth reading such as the inevitable myths of innovation by Scott Berkun. Berkun is a full time writer and speaker and former programme manager at Microsoft, the man behind the success of Internet Explorer at a time when the web was dominated by Netscape. He also delivers lectures such as this amazing Carnegie Mellon presentation on the book I am describing here. His book is not based on dubious principles but spells out clearly the “don’ts” of innovation. It’s a lot more powerful than most books because of that, because it’s easier to learn from mistakes than mimic other people’s behaviour. Here are Scott Berkun’s 10 myths of innovation summed up in a few words, and I hope this will convince you to buy a copy of his book too:

  • myth number one: the myth of the epiphany
    An epiphany, in essence a sudden moment at which creation is supposed to happen, is epitomised by Archimedes‘s Eureka moment or Newton‘s apple. Yet, if many innovations are described as magical moments, the truth is often more complex: hard-work is required, the Eureka moment is often coming at the end of that process (not the beginning). Most Eureka legends aren’t real, they are myths aimed at giving a romantic view of innovation,
  • myth number two: we understand the history of innovation
    Well, so we think, but most of the time we don’t. Most of the stories we read about innovation aren’t real either. Google wasn’t a search engine to start with, nor was Flickr a photo sharing platform etc. in actual fact, most innovations are the results of errors, changes and corrections, but we like history to smooth things out and make them sound perfect and simple,
  • myth number three: there is a method for innovation
    How is innovation delivered? Despite our attraction to recipes, innovation is – in essence – a “charge into the unknown” and therefore, a method for innovation is a bit of an oxymoron,
  • myth number four: people love new ideas
    So we like to think but most of the time it’s not true. Changing one’s habits is always a challenge, and that is true of customers too (remember Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the chasm?”). There is no end to the list of rejections that innovators have to face. Change management is in an innovator’s best friend,
  • myth number five: the lone inventor
    We like stories in which a genius single-handedly changed the world: Edison invented the electric light; Ford invented the automobile; Apple invented the first graphical user interface etc. all wrong! And most of these stories are wrong. Often, innovations happen simultaneously too (in different countries at approximately the same time). Lastly, successful companies are often started by a group of people, not the obligatory lone inventor,
  • myth number six: good ideas are hard to find
    Ideas are everywhere, and not just found as a result of a brainstorm session (a tool which most of the time is badly used and implemented). Ideas come in more than many ways, mostly through trial and error. As far as I am concerned, because I am not a very imaginative person, I love to pick other people’s brains and make notes of all the ideas they have had but have never had the pluck to implement. It would be so nice if we could… is often my starting point. The real issue is not the idea(s) but how they could come to fruition and when,
  • myth number seven: your boss knows more about innovation than you
    Berkun argues that managers can make decisions that others can’t but this doesn’t mean that they always know what to do. Often, power and a high position in the hierarchy exert pressure on execs and they feel terribly alone. I have witnessed that the higher in the hierarchy two, the farther away you are from the field and it’s easy to lose sight of reality; theoretical views don’t make decision-making easy. Often, managers are therefore afraid of innovation. Berkun provides the antidote by describing the most common necessary traits of successful managers,
  • myth number eight: the best ideas win
    There is a fairy tale view of innovation (in fairy tales good guys win and bad guys lose) hence the belief that it’s always the best innovation that wins. There are so many counterexamples such as the QWERTY keyboard (aimed at slowing down typists to avoid jamming), HTML and JavaScript (probably the most horrendous computer languages ever invented), the M-16 rifle etc. There are 7 factors according to Berkun which are leading to product success: culture, dominant design, inheritance and tradition, politics, economics, subjectivity and short-term orientation,
  • myth number nine: problems and solutions
    Great innovations – such as the palm pilot project, a pioneering digital notepad invented at the end of the 1990s – often come from the clear and simple spelling of a few problems that they are meant to solve. Believing that serendipity plays a major role is also wrong and yet another proof of the myth of the epiphany. Hard work and prototyping are of the essence,
  • myth number ten: innovation is always good
    Rudolf diesel is said to have committed suicide when he realised that his invention would only be bought by the military (and therefore serve the purpose of the war between Germany and France; he was German but had always lived in France). His innovation was being used to do harm and kill people and destroy Europe, not to do good and improve people’s lives. Other examples abound quoted by Berkun in his book — such as the DDT and personal computers and even cell phones, not to mention discrimination via the infamous digital divide.

Such are the lessons we can derive from Scott Berkun’s research on innovation. In one of his posts on the Harvard Business Review blog, Berkun declared that true innovators don’t use the word innovation at all. They talk about new products, new projects, change management or just doing things. Innovation isn’t a playground for intellectuals; it’s a game for doers and hard workers. I found the statements so true, and so close to how I felt (sometimes I’m being asked to pitch about innovation and I feel weird about that, because innovation is something one does but it’s yet difficult to describe) that I decided to know more and buy this book; probably one of my favourite business books.

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increasing brand advocacy with Social Media

On Nov 10th, 2009 I was in Atlanta presenting at Blogwell on behalf of Orange Business Services, presenting our social media strategy and explaining how, why and what we did online to increase our brand advocacy. Yesterday, the video recording of that presentation was posted by SMBC and – assuming your firewall isn’t going to block Vimeo – you are kindly invited to click the following image in order to view the recorded session.

And if your firewall does block Vimeo, or that you find the quality a bit flaky, you are now left with the possibility of contacting me via the comments section of this post and then I can tell you how video can be made available to all easily and qualitatively, which is what I explain in that recording.

here is the introduction to the video by the SMBC representatives:

In his BlogWell Atlanta case study presentation, “Succeeding in Social Media Initiatives,” Orange Business Services’ Head of Internet & Digital Media, Yann Gourvennec, explained how they’re finding success in social media as a business-to-business brand.

Yann’s case study covered how they’re finding passionate buyers online that advertising can’t reach, how they’re using video, and how they’ve used social media feedback to improve their products.

BlogWell is the only conference where social media executives from large companies come together to share their case studies, offer practical how-to advice, and answer your questions.

To learn more about BlogWell, visit

BlogWell is produced by GasPedal and the Social Media Business Council.

Learn More: and