2013 is the year of the Marketing Cloud - and on the back of a series of new announcements at its Digital Marketing Summit, has Adobe just put itself in leadership position?
Predictions that 2013 may be the year of the Marketing Cloud are coming to pass – with Adobe the latest vendor to set out its stall in this increasingly competitive marketplace. Only a week after Oracle indulged in some chest-beating when detailing how its version of the Marketing Cloud would compete with the likes of Salesforce.com and Microsoft, Adobe has used its US Digital Marketing Summit to unveil the first set of upgrades to its Marketing Cloud since its announcement last Autumn.
“This is going to move the conversation forward,” Neil Morgan, director of digital marketing at Adobe, told MyCustomer.com in a pre-event briefing. “Salesforce.com has been doing some work on developing their Marketing Cloud and we all launched these Clouds last year. Now it is about who can deliver the greatest feature set and the most compelling experience and the most productive environment.
“Our announcements show that we don’t intend to follow the market - our goals is to lead the innovation around Marketing Cloud. We think we had, from the outset, the most comprehensive end-to-end solution, but now we really want to innovate in these areas – social, mobile, asset management and so on.”
In front of more than 4,500 digital marketers and senior leaders attending the US Summit, the vendor has unveiled extentions to the capability of a number of its solutions as well as the Marketing Cloud itself.
Elaborating on this last development, Morgan explained: “The driving issue of marketing is the need to get to market more quickly in digital. The shorter time frame of digital content and campaigns means more content and campaigns are needed more quickly. That is driving the need for tighter collaboration between the different stovepipes within marketing – between buyers and campaign managers, between digital and creative teams, and between the in-house and the agency folks. So we’re building a collaboration capability into the Marketing Cloud that enables all those teams to work more closely together to get campaigns to market more quickly.”
The refresh of the Marketing Cloud sees the addition of a new user interface that provides a single place for users to share their work and collaborate on content and campaigns. This is facilitated by a Pinterest-style visual dashboard that allows users to share any element of the Cloud, from a campaign report to a discussion to a piece of creative, as a card which is pinned to a board. Marketers can therefore hit a button and share that work with team members or across the business.
“The vision is to have communities of people working on different projects sharing work and managing campaigns this way, on a visual dashboard,” said Morgan. “Adobe is trying to drive innovation in digital marketing – it is about putting our customers in a place where they can respond to market requirements more quickly, get campaigns completed and executed more quickly, and that is what this new user interface to the Cloud is all about.”
Vision of the Marketing Cloud
In other announcements, there are also innovations for web experience management, the content management system that underlines the Marketing Cloud. Adobe’s fastest growing product line, the new capabilities will help businesses replatforming their online properties to go to market quicker.
“One of the biggest issues that customers raise with us is the challenges of managing content for the explosion of devices,” Morgan explained. “We will now provide build-once-deploy-anywhere capability that enables you to build an app, a site, a publication, etc. and put it into the cms and it will deploy on any device. We handle all the device management, all the rendering, on any screen, whether it’s as small as your hand or as big as your TV.
In addition, there will also be social capability, so that social components can be built into a site and rendered on any device, such as a community, or a reviews app.
Elsewhere, Adobe is unveiling predictive marketing workflow in Adobe Analytics, debuting a new generation of digital asset management (a place to store all digital assets securely in the Cloud that can be delivered to any app or site around the world), and adding new mobile marketing capabilities to the Marketing Cloud, including building out greater mobile analytics capability, social aps on all mobile platforms, and mobile advertising with specific targeting ability for mobile apps.
“Mobile is a massive growth area and the mobile traffic we track for customers grew 117%, more than doubling. And often this is very high value traffic, very monetisable,” noted Morgan. “With every product getting new mobile capability right across the board, this is what I think our customers are most excited about.”
And Morgan is convinced that this excitement will extend to those who are yet to be Adobe customers, as the Marketing Cloud’s upgrades attract a new audience.
“Our strategy is two-fold,” he concluded. “Firstly, to have the Creative Cloud be the default tool to create content. Our creative tools are industry-standard and with Creative Cloud we now offer all our CS6 desktop tools, plus new apps and services to create amazing content on a membership model, like a subscription service, which is becoming extremely popular and driving a lot of Adobe’s business. And secondly, we have a unique advantage over our competitors, by leveraging the Creative Cloud into the execution of that content in any digital channel; to provide a suite or a Cloud of capability that takes all of that digital content – whether that’s a publication, a website, an app, a social network, or whatever – and deliver that to consumers automatically in a way which optimises the consumer experience and optimises the performance of the marketing budget concerns. That is the vision of the Marketing Cloud.”