With 13,000 digital marketing experts across leading global brands, marketing technology platforms and agencies coming together at Adobe Summit last week, one keyword resonated in everyone’s minds and tweets: experience.
From the first presentations of Partner Day, to Sir Richard Branson’s keynote, to every single breakout session, the omnipresent theme was making experience a core part of business. With DAC leadership represented across Analytics, Technology, Paid Media, Digital Strategy and Customer Relationships, we learned from and contributed to this call to arms for Experience Makers. DAC has been in the business of making experiences for over 45 years. Today, empowered by the leading products of the Adobe Experience Cloud, including Analytics, Audience Manager and Advertising Cloud, we can deliver on our promise of delivering personalization and localization at scale for enterprise brands.
While experience was top of mind throughout the week, there were a handful of other key topics discussed across the conference.
This continues to be the core, ongoing focus for companies across industries, including Adobe itself. Digital transformation is having business-altering impact as brands recognize the need to meet the demands of today’s customers and to make the experiences that will allow them to survive. Two core elements of digital transformation that were much discussed were technology and talent.
On technology, how do organizations select, implement and integrate the tools, platforms, services, apps, and more that create outstanding experiences? (More on Adobe’s view on this below.) On talent, how to you acquire, and more importantly, organize and empower people in your organization to be experience makers? What I always find most valuable about Summit is hearing from brands talk about how they are approaching these challenges and this year was no exception with leaders from Dick’s Sporting Goods, True Value, Albertson’s, Coca-Cola and more talking about how they position their people and teams for success.
This was a frequent watchword throughout the conference, most notably from Adobe’s continued rollout of their Sensei AI framework. To quote Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, “AI will change everything.” While this is undoubtedly true, the line he used that I think more realistically defines the landscape – at least in the immediate term – is that automation powered by AI will “amplify, not replace” how digital marketers create experiences today. AI has the power to increase efficiency, broaden reach, and achieve scale, but as of today, still needs the expertise of the marketing strategist, the creative designer, the producer, and the data scientist to provide the direction and parameters to create the ideal customer experience.
One of the most exciting, relevant topics covered at Summit was the discussion around the need for a common language, schema, and data model for today’s customer journey. With thousands of data sources, hundreds of ways of naming or organizing data, and dozens of enterprise marketing platforms, a barrier exists to achieve the level of integration across systems to achieve the level of cross-channel, device, journey personalization that we seek as marketers today. Adobe is setting out to define the data model and lay down the markers for others in the industry to follow to bridge these gaps. It’s too early to know whether this will be successful, but it’s encouraging that the conversation is starting so that marketers – and their agency partners – can eventually realize the full potential of the power measurement and personalization tools we have at our disposal.
As always, Summit is an outstanding event for learning, networking, and being inspired, and 2018 was no different. The DAC team returns from this year’s event as energized experience makers ready to help our clients succeed in reaching their business goals. If you were at Summit this year and would like to share your thoughts or if you’d like to hear more about our experience at Summit or DAC’s Adobe capabilities, please drop us a line or leave a comment below. DAC would love to hear from you.