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Adobe hails 'marketing beyond marketing' as it announces Microsoft partnership

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30th Apr 2015
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The Excel Centre in London was in the business of cracking mysteries this week, as it played host to the annual Adobe EMEA Summit.

Not only did it feature a keynote from the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, but it also boasted a presentation from Professor Brian Cox, who shared the secrets of the universe with attendees.

But it was the mysteries of modern marketing that brought the 4,000 delegates to the event. And the opening keynote, delivered by Adobe’s Brad Rencher, proclaimed that the solution required a total reappraisal of the definition of marketing.

“Whether you’re paying for coffee, ordering groceries, checking in for a flight, watching TV or even paying your taxes, digital experiences are now changing how consumers interact with brands in profound ways,” said the senior vice president and general manager of Adobe’s Digital Marketing Business Unit.

“Gone are the days when marketers came up with a great idea or unique proposition that could be broadcast so often and so loudly that it would change behaviour. It simply doesn’t work anymore. In an age of digital everywhere, consumer behaviour is getting more complex and ultimately changing the definition of actually what marketing is.

“Too much of what we do, and how and where we do it, is changing and changing quickly. And as technology and behaviour change, so too does the nature of marketing. No matter what industry you’re in, the new digital reality is bringing a massive transformation in which your customers’ experience is the brand of your organisation - and ultimately the best gauge for your success.

“Marketing has so far been at the forefront of this revolution. But it is rapidly moving beyond marketing, forcing enterprises to reimagine how they organise and portray themselves outside the organisation. For brands to truly deliver a comprehensive experience, the enterprise needs to pivot. When we begin talking about experience, marketing is no longer one department among many. It is the epicentre of this transformation.”

Beyond marketing

Further evidence of this evolution came in the form of statistics quoted by Adobe EMEA president Mark Zablan, noting that almost three-quarters of European marketers now believe that marketing has a greater influence on the organisation than ever before. Elsewhere, it was also highlighted that research house Gartner has forecasted that marketing will increasingly set the strategy for all customer-facing technology across the enterprise.

But marketing is changing – and indeed must change in order to adapt, said Rencher.

“Today, consumers have the opportunity to interact with brands in more places and in more ways than ever before. As a result, consumer expectations are at an all-time high,” he explained. “They expect instant access to instant information with the ability to buy whatever product or service one wants on whatever device one wants, or consume whatever content we want on whatever device we want - all in a secure environment, all with a consistent and continuous experience.”

He continued: “The result is that ‘experience’ defines the brand today and tomorrow and why marketing has to move beyond marketing - an expansion and enhancement and intensification or what we define marketing to be.

“It is time for us all to realise that marketing doesn’t end when we identify the right target audience and finish when we set up the campaign perimeters or buy a display ad. And it doesn’t stop when the customer clicks and makes a purchase and acquires a product. It moves beyond.

“We need to take the principles of digital marketing use it as the foundation for customer experience delivery across the entire enterprise. In-store, returns, call centre, advertising - all need to abide by the principles of digital marketing. The reality is that brands have to earn it every day through every experience - no matter where that experience shows up for the consumer - at every touchpoint. We either win or we lose.”

However, Rencher added that forward-thinking brands are viewing this as an opportunity, creating experiences that are far from traditional marketing channels. Examples of ‘marketing beyond marketing’ included Coca-Cola’s efforts to transform its digital experience, including the introduction of digital vending machines and soda fountains that enable consumers to create their own mixes. Elsewhere, Audi City has seen the auto manufacturer pioneer a completely new buying experience through its showroom of the future.

Microsoft integration

Furthermore, ‘marketing beyond marketing’ means understanding everything about customers, Rencher noted. This proved to be the segue to the biggest announcement of the day, with Rencher revealing that in order to support this customer understanding, Adobe would be partnering with Microsoft to “transform engagement across sales, service and marketing.”

The basis of the partnership is the integration of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a move which the official announcement says will “allow brands to deliver experiences that take all customer engagements into account – from reach and acquisition to retention and loyalty” and “help eliminate frustrating customer experiences that result when marketing, sales and service interactions are siloed.” 

This partnership further promises to:

  • Align sales and marketing activities by tightly integrating audiences and their behaviours, which can help guide sales or service calls, identify sales opportunities or inform lead scoring.
  • Find high-value audience segments and provide them with real-time offers on the website or enable targeted display ads.
  • Combine web behaviour data with order history, return history, loyalty status and call centre history to not only identify where in the sales lifecycle stage a customer is in, but then also deliver the right content at the right time, whether that content resides on a landing page, in a service follow-up email, or as an alert in a mobile app.

In other announcements, Adobe announced the acquisition of advertising technology Tumri, to extend its programmatic advertising capabilities and bolster the creative functionality of Adobe Media Optimizer. It also unveiled new asset management capabilities in Adobe Experience Manager to help organisations accelerate and optimise the creative-to-marketing workflow

Concluding his keynote, Rencher said: “Adobe is helping you move beyond the current definition of marketing, helping your enterprise deliver consistent experiences across every touchpoint – sales, service, support, even how you build your product. And the announcement of our new partnership with Microsoft is a major step in helping us do that.

“And while we cannot predict the future, we can lay the foundation that gives you control over what the future brings. And as an industry we face the reality that we will add another 20 billion devices across the globe by 2020, the marketing canvas that you will use to deliver these experiences is going to grow exponentially. Adobe marketing cloud is focused on the principles that will allow you to be successful 0- comprehensive, integrated and actionable.”

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