Market Leaders And Fast Followers Celebrate Over A Decade Of Digital Marketing Vision

In 2004, Omniture founder Josh James, an avid skier, held the first Summit atop the Snowbird Ski Resort for 270 early adopters and converted. Fast forward eleven years to 2014, an estimated 5600+ customers, partners, influencers, and prospects gathered at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 25th to March 28th, 2014, in search of reinvention in digital marketing (see Figure 1). Since that time, Adobe Summit has emerged as a must attend event for those looking at the entire digital experience from creative to commerce. Despite the size, this year's event remained equally intimate. At almost every venue, restaurant, or session, attendees remarked on how easy it was to meet people and discover, connect, and engage on the future of digital marketing.

Figure 1. Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen Opening The General Session on the Need for Reinvention In Marketing

Source: Adobe

Adobe Summit 2014 Announcements Focus On Needs Versus Wants New product enhancements, a new release, and a few key partnerships highlight advancements in Marketing Cloud which includes a number of organically developed products and acquisitions of Omniture, Day Software, Efficient Frontier, and Neolane. Today, the Adobe Marketing Cloud includes Adobe Social, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Media Optimizer, and Adobe Campaign (see Figure 2). This year's announcements reflect a need to improve integration among the acquisitions and deliver core needs versus nice to have capabilities. Main announcements from this year's summit include:

Figure 2. The Six Components Of The Adobe Marketing Cloud

Source: Adobe


  • Adobe Marketing Cloud Core Services Improve Suite Value .  Adobe announced new cores services for Marketing Cloud.  These services include a key master marketing profile, shared assets, marketing mix planning, identity, contextual activation, tag management,  integration, and collaboration.

    Point of view (POV): The core marketing services are much needed to bring not only the acquisitions together, but also future partner integrations.   The Master Marketing Profile allows marketers to aggregate profiles information from multiple sources.  Shared assets put the power of the Adobe Creative Suite to work allowing marketers to create once use everywhere.  Marketing mix planning enables marketers to tie together attribution, analytics, media planning and execution to analytics and campaign activation.  The new identity capabilities are a good start, but much more will be required to support commerce apps entering a digital business world where trust is the new currency and transparency must balance privacy.
  • Adobe Target Aims For Mass Personalization At Scale .  A new offering of Adobe Target premium provides advanced testing and targeting capabilities.  Key enhancements include automated decisions, deeper audience targeting, improved reporting, mobile support, and visual workflows.  The new best practices and expert onboarding helps customers access services from industry experts.

    (POV): Automated decisions provide a basic but easy to use self-learning algorithm.  At the demo booth, it became apparent how a marketer could quickly scale content to the right person at the right time with the right content.  Audience targeting is a noble effort but requires some work in integration master marketing profile to existing sources. Early view of reporting show improved integration to Adobe Analytics for source data.  Customers will love the visual workflow which brings the customer journey to life.  The new Adobe Target Premium automates many of the tedious tasks and allows digital marketers to focus on more strategic elements of mass personalization at scale, a key Constellation 2014 trend.
  • Adobe Launches New Adobe Experience Manager (AEM).  The new AEM6 release adds improvements to sites, assets, apps, community, and forms.  Sites adds a touch enabled interface and easier to use templates.  AEM benefits from the shared assets in Adobe Marketing Cloud Core Services.  Apps allows integration with phone gap assets to enable create once deploy everywhere.  Communities gain a much needed machine translation for globalization. Forms provide a tie in to workflows which are much needed in regulated commerce.

    (POV): Integration with commerce engines in sites is a key time saver for brands and enterprises delivering on creative to commerce. A demo of AEM6 on the demo grounds show how new enhancements improve faster go live.  New assets capabilities make it easy to go from photoshoot to delivery with videos.  While the community features could use more advanced features, unified moderation with Adobe Social improves basic community management.   Customer facing mobile apps should prove to be a hit with brands.
  • Mobile Enhancements Go Beyond PhoneGap Enterprise. The new mobile app development solutions take into account the entire digital marketing life cycle.  Adobe Mobile Services 2.0 provides measurement at key mobile apps stores such as Apple App Store and Google Play. Other features include Apple iBeacon support and re-engagement notification via the Adobe Campaign UI.

    (POV): The ability to create, edit, and modify content in real-time then publish across all development platforms in the Audi demo was a keynote highlight.  Support for Apple iBeacon provides a key component in location context that will prove important for ad networks and matrix commerce offerings.  These bluetooth low energy beacons will enable payments as well as content delivery.  Users will want to take advantage of the Adobe Campaign UI to track credit balances, share breaking news, find flight departure details, notify users of friends in proximity, and other right time data across all devices.
  • Epsilon Provides Loyalty Platform To Adobe. The Epsilon Agility platform integrates with Adobe Marketing Cloud to deliver data, insights, analytics and transactional rules-based functionality.  Epsilon provides a loyalty platform that follows a loyalty lifecycle of identify, acquire, inspire, engage, award, and refine.  Adobe Marketing Cloud's Experience Manager and other solutions will organize, create, optimize, and manage delivery of creative assets across all digital channels.

    (POV): Epsilon has made some key partnerships with digital marketing leaders such as Acxiom, Facebook, Twitter, and now Adobe.  The partnership provides mass personalization at scale for loyalty programs using Adobe Experience Manager as the origin of assets and an important relationship for both Epsilon and Adobe.  Over time, expect the Epsilon Agility Loyalty offering to include Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Media Optimizer, Adobe Social, and Adobe Target.

Market Leaders And Fast Followers Focus On Completing The Digital Marketing Journey With Commerce

In speaking with over 100 attendees, matrix commerce has emerged as a key requirement. Just putting a site up, a mobile app, or even kicking a campaign is not good enough. The fusing of demand signals and supply chains creates a need for solutions that can deliver from creative production to commerce completion. The new customer centric world is agnostic to channels, demand signals, supply chains, payment options, enablers, and big data. This world of matrix commerce is an emerging frontier for brands and enterprises. Three partnership solutions play a key role in delivering creative to commerce:

  1. Elastic Path. The Elastic Path Edition For Adobe Experience Manager received much fan fare from partners and customers at Adobe Summit. Attendees were drawn to the integrated CMS with AEM, advanced product/service bundling, personalized merchandizing, dynamic pricing, order experience, and trade promotion management capabilities out of the box. The recent partnership with MRM/McCann also adds credibility and momentum to Elastic Path's vision and strategy.
  2. Intershop. The Intershop integration with Adobe Experience Manager drove massive interest on the show floor at Adobe Summit. A key draw to Intershop is the ability to drive both B2B and B2C commerce experiences on the same platform. Integration with call center channels was important to many attendees.
  3. SAP hybris. SAP announced a partnership with Adobe to deliver on hybris Omni Channel Commerce and customer insights from SAP HANA. SAP will resell Adobe's Marketing Cloud and both vendors will invest in joint integration research and development. Conversations with many line of business customers exposed private concerns in adding to their SAP investment with SAP HANA. Why? Most marketing leaders seek to escape their SAP investment and have done so by moving to other products in CRM and customer experience. In speaking with an SAP hybris sales person, the intent is to reach out to marketing professionals and change their mind. Given the buzz on Elastic Path and Intershop, the real test will be licenses sold.

Figure 2. Flickr Photostream From #AdobeSummit

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The Bottom Line: Adobe Marketing Cloud Has Evolved Into A Major Contender For Marketing Suite Short Lists

The Adobe journey to enter into the enterprise software business began in September 15, 2009 when Adobe acquired Omniture, an online marketing and web analytics provider for $1.8 billion. Followed by the acquisition of Day Software, Efficient Frontier, and Neolane, the company has built and acquired a suite of marketing cloud solutions. Renamed Adobe Marketing Cloud in 2012, Adobe is the only provider to tackle the entire creative creation and commerce delivery market. As with any post merger integration effort, much work lies ahead in unifying identity, common objects, workflow, context engines, business processes, and other common components. This year's Adobe Summit highlighted the integration work required to complete the vision as well as reaffirmed the research and development investments committed to bring a unified offering. So far, much progress has been made. However, much work lies ahead in creating a platform for partners to expand upon. While Adobe's competitors also face massive integration work ahead, the good news for customers - individual components compete well against other best of breed offerings in their respective categories. Despite the work and challenges ahead, Adobe's Marketing Cloud should be considered in short lists with mega platforms such as IBM, Oracle, and

Your POV.

Ready for digital disruption? Are you an Adobe shop? Will you add additional modules of Adobe? How did you like Adobe Summit? Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org.

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