Lights, Camera, Adobe!

Last week I was able to venture to Las Vegas to speak with and learn from some of the best and brightest in marketing and marketing data at Adobe Summit 2016. With over 10,000 attendees and 150 speaker sessions, Summit is an expansive and impressive week of top of the line tech and innovative thinking. Speakers from Mattel, Cirque du Soleil, the NFL, as well as Abby Wambach and George Clooney, were just a few of the big names featured throughout the week. The overall theme of the summit was becoming an experience brand or experience business; creating innovative and engaging experiences for your consumers as opposed to a focus on just content and products. While there was a heavy focus on Adobe’s suite of products, there was also a great deal of thoughtful discussion about marketing as a whole and how marketers can form better connections with and better serve their customers. As Adobe EVP Brand Rencher discussed, the trend has been for businesses to market to devices, not to people, and that is what needs to change. We are now in the Experience Era of marketing, which calls for the content marketers serve to be consistent, continuous, and compelling. In an industry where the volume of content has grown exponentially in the last two years, this is important. It is not enough to generate a mass of content to throw at consumers and call it a strategy. Content should be well thought out, deliver value to the viewer, and be deployed on a platform that is meaningful to the target audience. In becoming an experience business, brands need to deliver on four key points. From the consumer’s standpoint, an experience business will:

  • Know and respect the consumer
  • Speak in one consistent voice
  • Make the technology used transparent
  • Delight them at every turn

Personalization and instant gratification have become well known expectations of consumers, but brands should also keep in mind that the consumer experience as a whole is important. What they experience through mobile content is more important than the fact that they can consume it on the go. “Delight them at every turn” also brings up an interesting point. More than one speaker, including Richard Dickson of Mattel, highlighted the opportunities created by a brand disrupting itself. In the case of Mattel, and in particular Barbie, changing consumer tastes demanded that Mattel “disrupt what they had created without reinventing the brand.” The Barbie brand had lost focus and needed to reconnect with their audience. Mattel disrupted the culture that had been created around Barbie to emerge with a newly relevant and innovative approach to Barbie’s history of “you can be anything.” A particularly provoking quote was “ to find the way forward you have to understand what made you special in the first place.” Mattel started with dreamers and innovators, people who emulated the values that had been the backbone of the company and are now the engine behind Mattel’s development as an innovation company and an experience brand.

Summit was not all stories and theory; in fact, there was a heavy emphasis on using data to create these experiences. While storytelling was the number one point of the second general session, “take data and data science and develop a person centric story to create the experience” was an important note added to that point. As an advocate for creative strategies driven by data and insights, I was excited to explore sessions focused on data, one of which was hosted by none other than the NFL. With millions of fans and over $13 billion in annual revenue, the NFL is a brand that relies heavily on creating experiences. So much so, that they created a division specific to being fan centric and a custom consumer database to be used in strategy development. The Fan Centric Marketing department collects data from hundreds of fan touch points to create targeted and custom experiences and offers based on the actions and interests of individual fans. These insights shape the customer experience from which platform they are greeted on, to which social networks they are directed to, and the interactions they experience with the league and their team of choice.Adobe Summit NFL Consumer Profile Data collected in their database is also used to shape their media buy strategy and look-alike audiences on ad buy platforms. For example, by tailoring their look-alike audiences to resemble their fan base’s actual online activity, they deliver greater results than a general cookie based look-alike audience. While data is important, the distinction was made during the presentation that fans are not data points. Fans are people who crave connection and are driven by emotion. By utilizing the data that fans have provided through their actions and interactions, the NFL is able to develop the types of experiences that keep fans engaged and coming back for more.

Throughout the Summit, Adobe’s powerful tools were on display, with many speakers showing the great variety of ways the tools can be utilized by brands and industries. They also showcased new technologies and products that may be rolled out. “Sneaks” granted attendees a peek behind the Adobe product curtain, demonstrating smart shopping technologies, activity attribution, and smart content editing, among others. Some may be more useful than others, but all were designed to fit the needs of becoming an experience brand. It is an exciting time in technology and it will be interesting to see which if any of these tools will make it into the Adobe Suite.

Did you attend Adobe Summit 2016 or follow along as it was happening? What did you learn and what was your favorite part?

Top Quotes from Adobe Summit 2016:

“Stories evoke emotion and emotion drives change” – Adobe

“Customer driven slice of awesomeness” – Giles Richardson, Royal Bank of Scotland

“Work like a leader and think like a challenger” – Richard Dickson, Mattel

“My authenticity has been my saving grace in life” – Abby Wambach