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

A Free Yet Legal Copy of Microsoft Office on Your Tablet With Cloudon

Let’s make the most of the summer with a bit of light reading and what I would call the application of the week: cloudon. I have selected a number of applications which I find particularly good or changed my way of working, or of entertaining myself, unless it’s both. This week, I will dwell on the cloud on iPad application, which I find really extraordinary, and I really wonder whether these guys are making money out of this and how. Is this the latest mystery of the new economy?

We will start with a visit to the application website in order to confirm that the application is available both for android and iOS. The application is available for both iPhones and iPads, and I will focus on the iPad version here in this blog post.

Step number 1: once the location has been installed, fire it up. First and foremost you will have to fine-tune the settings so they have access to your online cloud discs: four spaces are available with cloud on, which you can use concurrently. As far as I’m concerned, I have set up Google drive and Skydrive (by Microsoft’s, by far my preferred, because I was one of the first users, so that I have access to 25 GB free of charge). I left dropbox and box on the side for the moment by can you back to it later and at them to my final if I so wish. All that is needed to complete this setup is to let cloud on access your online disc by clicking the button “authorise”.

Step number 2: once your online disc has been selected (here I chose Skydrive), the folder structure of your disk is then displayed to you, and you can choose the list or icon formats from the top menu.

Step number 3: Once I’ve changed the display to icon mode which I find more convenient, I can then select the folder in which I have stored all the draft pieces for my blog. I call it “blog posts”.

Step number 4: I then select the relevant blog piece in word format. I can see on the screen but it was last changed on 24 June at 7:39 AM.

Step number 5: once you’ve clicked on the right file, it is then downloaded from the Internet. It is subsequently displayed, see the following screen grab, directly on my tablet into a Microsoft word window, more or less identical to the one I have on my PC (in fact it is a simplified version of Microsoft Word 2010, similar to the one you can find Skydrive itself). The greatest weaknesses that I spot in this application, is in my minde the relative slowness of download of the file (even more so if the file is really big like the entirety of our forthcoming book typescript for instance). My hunch is that we will see performance improving significantly within the next few months if this kind of applications remain in the future. As a matter of fact, what we are witnessing here is more than just another application but the implementation of something which I have described many times on this blog, which is called “ubiquitous computing” and was invented, I mean the concept, by the late Mark Weiser in the late 1980s. The missing link though is connectivity, as always, even though enormous headway has been made in the past few years. My guess is that it will take another 2 to 3 years, maybe 5, before we enjoy seamless connectivity coverage, with the kind of comfort that I experience while sitting behind my PC, connected via Ethernet on my 100 Mbs fibre access.

Step number 6: I can then write directly into the file which is editable in real time ; in order to prove this I have underlined a word by clicking at length on it, which triggered the contextual Microsoft menu which everybody knows. This the tablet equivalent to the right click of the mouse on a computer

Step number 7: then click the icon on the top bar which represents a compass on the top right-hand side of the screen, and this will open the menu which will make it possible for you to create a new file: either a spreadsheet (maybe not the most convenient type of file for tablets), a wordprocessing Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation. I decide to choose the latter…

Step number 8:  I then rename this new file which will be saved directly  in the original folder.

Step number 9:  an empty PowerPoint file will then be opened , which I will be able to populate exactly as if I were on my computer,  with a simplified version of PowerPoint 2010. This is a simplified version,  but yet, it is very usable, and it caters for basic Microsoft templates for instance. in order to create a presentation with a personalised template, I recommend that you use a presentation which you have created beforehand (with no content preferably ) in order to make the most of all the available screen layouts. This will save you a lot of time and will make it unnecessary for you to spend hours twiddling page templates on the tablet which is not very convenient.  You can then focus on adding text but also clipart, images, video etc. It is in fact very easy for you to modify an existing PowerPoint presentation and even create one directly from the tablet, and then synchronise the file directly on your computer , or vice versa.  I remind you that, with Skydrive, you do not need to own a local version of Microsoft PowerPoint, because it is available online too. Personally, being a teacher and benefiting from the special teacher/student price for Microsoft Office, I still think that owning a local Microsoft license is preferable.

Beyond the fact that this application is nice and convenient and mostly free of charge, one may ask oneself a few questions. On the one hand, what will be the business model of Microsoft in the next few years ? I could actually bet on the fact that access to software will be increasingly “cloudified”, namely from the moment that connectivity is really improved and made seamless and ubiquitous. from then on, I really wonder whether software which you either install or download is a model which will survive for very long .  This, however , is the model on which Microsoft thrived for so many years. Besides,  I really have a few questions about the business model of cloudon itself; I mean beyond its potential acquisition by Microsoft one day.

I also found it very strange that cloudon has had little coverage on the Web since 2012 , even though a great number of downloads have already been  performed  by users . I would be surprised if the Palo Alto company decided to remain silent , and maybe one day , what Geoffrey Moore calls the early majority will catch up with the “visionaries , dreamers and doers”. Wired pointed out  rightfully  that  the application’s limits came from the fact that the data was stored on the cloud, which rendered the display a little blurry but usable anyhow. this is a valid remark, but I couldn’t find that problem with PowerPoint, which I found to be the most useful application of the three.

There are a few limits with regard to the use of this application in presentation mode, but in our case I would recommend a more specialised application which I will describe in a forthcoming blog post.  As Wired pointed out, it is still very difficult to use such applications in order to create a presentation from scratch and the use of cloud on is , probably for today, limited to minor edits.

My hunch is that the self-proclaimed “visionaries” of Palo Alto shall not be deterred.

Time will tell…