Social marketing sounds like the age of Self “There’s people doing frightfully well, there’s others on the shelf […] this is the age of Self” Robert Wyatt
Social Marketing: What if it were the Age of Self
We’re in 2012 and 8 years after O’Reilly coined the 2.0 moniker, I still find people who are asking me whether ‘social’ is new in marketing. Yet, while certain people are still asking themselves questions, the world is moving fast; even though the path may be chaotic.
More than anything else, brands will have to work on their social capital and what Edouard Austin (who works in my team at Orange) is calling the ‘digital self’. This is the modern marketing conundrum: how to be oneself and develop one’s digital self without being self-absorbed and self-obsessed. More with Edouard’s report of the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit which took place in London a few days ago
Adobe Digital Marketing Summit London 2012 : The Digital Self
For its 2012 edition, the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit saw roughly 2000 enthusiasts converge in London, in the heart of the soothing Battersea Park, for two days of learning, sharing and discovering of new, more efficient ways for digital marketers, publishers and advertisers to reach out to their customers.
Alongside a passionate team of French bloggers, including Fred Cavazza, Nicolas Malo, Carole Da Silva, Laurent Evainand Florian Giudicelli, I arrived at the impressive venue and was immediately stunned by the scale of the event : 37 countries represented, 30 partners co-sponsoring the event, members of the press from all over the world and a future-like decoration which led me to think I was embarking on some kind of out-of-this-world experience. And actually, it wasn’t far from it !
Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Digital Marketing at Adobe, got the ball rolling inside the imposing “London 2012” conference hall with an opening speech about the main theme of this Summit : the Digital Self. We are in an era where we are constantly defining and redefining ourselves, with over 1.5 billion people online sharing information about themselves with others on a daily basis. It’s the digital marketers’ job to read the signals we are sending out, map the patterns which are emerging and deploy the adequate strategies to reach out to customers, all this in a specific timeframe, as “it has to mater right now, or it doesn’t matter”.
In that respect, real-time personalization has become a key aspect of digital marketing, as companies have to send out messages which will resonate amongst their customers at that point in time. The digital self has gone from being talked about by academics to actionable, and three fundamentals emerge :
Data : the essence of digital. Data is not actionable alone however; it’s the left hand of digital marketing and is the enabler that amplifies the content.
Content : elemental to digital, bringing experience to life.
Optimization : identifying data in order to send the relevant message/content using the adequate technology at hand.
And such technologies were then introduced on stage as we were able to hear more about tools such as Adobe CQ 5 (5.5) for example, a web experience management solution which makes the old content management systems I used to work on look like prehistoric toys ! Here, you can personalize the content on your website with regards to customer data, making the message much more efficient, and the interface is simply… simple (!), as most of the work is done by drag and drop !
A number of other tools were also introduced, amongst others : Adobe Discover (path analysis), Adobe Insight (data analysis which enables companies to make quick, informed strategic decisions) and Adobe Social (a platform integrating social advertising, monitoring and analytics to your marketing tools), the latter being launched later this year.
Several guests were then invited on stage to share their experience : Chris Popple, Managing Director at the Royal Bank of Scotland, talked about the importance of staying in touch with customers via social networks, and referred to the Twitter idea bank, where customers can leave comments and tell them what they want. Also on stage was Chris McShane, Director of Content and Social Media at Live Nation, who insisted on the fact that in the quest to inspire people, personalization is key. People’s data is constantly changing and in order to stay in touch, we have to change our position along with them.
And that is what really came out of this first day at this Adobe Digital Marketing Summit : times are changing ever so rapidly, companies’ relationships with customers are shifting dramatically, and Adobe provide a set of tools to respond swiftly and efficiently to these new demands. Unlike individuals who choose, companies must have a digital self, which is in itself a challenge, with regards to the forever expanding landscape. The next five years will be crucial, as the appearance of social sub-networks, or social niches, will give customers even more opportunities to express themselves. And thats’ why, as McShane mentioned, “businesses need to get tech-savvy very quickly”. Or else…
Stay tuned for more news about the event in London !