The 2014 Adobe Summit is in full swing in Salt Lake City…need to keep up with the goings on…here is an overview of the beginning of this year summit. Check out the changes taking place in social media, mobile, and marketing. Listen to what leaders in the industry have to say about trends, etc… Check it out and leave your thoughts.
CMO’s Notebook: Adobe Summit Sees Marketing At Center Of Every Business
by Steven Cook
The Adobe Summit is under way in Salt Lake City. In attendance are 7,000-plus attendees, from 44 countries, representing a diverse mix of all the functions needed to create, manage, and deliver exceptional digital brand experiences, from concept to customer.
- “Mobile will increase the velocity of what your business can do and achieve.”
- To start this “marketing beyond marketing” journey, the CMO, in genuine partnership with the CIO and CPO, needs to leave the past behind.
- “To being truly agile, you need to give up some completeness.”
My mandate? Like last year, I’ll be covering the Summit from a CMOs perspective, providing high-level, actionable insights. (Sessions are available to view on-demand; click here for access.)
Let’s start with the opening session, during which Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of the digital marketing business unit at Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company), issued this challenge to our digital marketing community: Learn how to take “marketing beyond marketing” because “marketing can no longer be one department among many. It should be the epicenter of an organization’s digital transformation.” Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, reinforced this challenge: “Marketing is at the center of every business.” (Click here for more of what the execs spoke about.)
Whether your organization is B2B or B2C, customers expect exceptional, consistent experiences at every online and offline touch point. As smart stretch objectives go, Rencher and Narayen’s challenge ranks very high on the list, and is a necessity for survival for any type of business today, especially considering the growth in the number of people who are connected on the Internet–from 1.2 billion in 2010 and forecasted to reach 5 billion by 2020. Chances are, we will surpass that prediction as the Internet of Things morphs in the “Internet of Me.”
“The key to being consistent and continuous is mobile. Mobile is the glue to do this,” Rencher said. “Mobile is forcing marketers to engage in and meet consumer expectations, and create linked experiences at every touch point. Mobile will increase the velocity of what your business can do and achieve.”
I agree with Rencher’s point about the importance of mobile first. Even more important, I believe, is alignment and integration among the chief marketing, chief information, and chief product officers. To start this “marketing beyond marketing” journey, the CMO, in genuine partnership with the CIO and CPO, needs to leave the past behind to rethink and evolve talent requirements, enable collaboration and relationship building, adapt core values, and other critical components. This topic is nothing new for CMO.com readers. Suffice to say, it is hard work that takes time to get right, and you can never stop evolving.
In Perfect Harmony
Another panel, led by Adobe SVP and CIO Gerri Martin-Flickinger, focused on “Bringing the Band Together–How to Harmonize IT, Marketing and Product in the Digital Age.”
Martin-Flickinger gave an opening keynote, followed by a discussion with a panel of leaders who are achieving success. The panel featured four diverse Adobe customers: Ted Baumuller, senior director for marketing IT at Cisco; Becky Huling, VP, customer engagement marketing at FedEx Services; Wendy Purvey, CMO at Sotheby’s International Realty; and John Weston, CMO at Mayo Clinic.
After the panel, Martin-Flickinger spoke exclusively with CMO.com about her high-level takeaways.
CMO.com: What are the most important things that the CMO, CIO, and CPO and their teams need to be thinking about and acting on to “bring the band together”?
Martin-Flickinger: One of the areas that all of the panelists touched on was we are in a new future. … All three of these functional domains have to stop thinking about the old way. They each have to give up the past, move into the future, and they need to do this together. It is so easy to say that, but making it happen is really hard. It requires people to spend time together face to face. They have to get to know each other’s business issues because each one of these teams is facing very different challenges. A galvanizing force in the center of each of these teams should be the customer. If you get all of these leaders to come together and figure out how they all can influence the customer journey and experience, it could be very helpful for uniting these groups–and other functional groups. But I really do think it is about giving up past paradigms and moving to a new future state.
There is no picture of what that new state looks like–I think this is the other thing people need to remember. You don’t just pick up a textbook and read “how to reorganize or realign now to make this work.” Every industry is different, every business is in a different state of maturity, and every company’s product or service is different, which all impacts how these functions need to come together. It is an evolution, not a revolution. It all starts with baby steps. But it all starts with relationships and being ready to change from the past.
CMO.com: What are the top three issues or opportunities by function that keep the typical CMO, CIO, and CPO up at night? Where are the differences, and where is the overlap?
Martin-Flickinger: Well, let me start where there is overlap because this speaks volumes. I would say speed is one of the largest pain points for all three of these functions. They may have different speed issues, but it is all about speed. You know, the chief product officer is really focused on, how do I get my product to market faster? How do I ensure that when my product is in the market that I get feedback from my customers faster? How do I do what I do with technology solutions that can get me to my customer and hear back from my customer faster?
CIOs–you’ve heard it forever: We are the turtles, but we want to be the cheetahs. How do we as an organization enable business to go faster? And for a CMO, they need the campaign idea executed today. I don’t want to wait. I want it now. And I want to know the results of it three minutes from now when the world starts seeing the campaign.
The velocity of all of the business requirements of each of these functional leaders is very different from just a few years ago. I think this is really key.
CMO.com: On the same topic of speed, what about agility, flexibility, and pivoting like a startup? What are your thoughts on these key dynamics?
Martin-Flickinger: These are all part of being at the speed you need to be at. It isn’t just about going fast. It’s about fast in a way where you can course correct. You can be agile, but you don’t have to plan out for all possible outcomes at the beginning. To being truly agile, you need to give up some completeness. This is something IT professionals really struggle with because their mind-set is all about complete solutions. And to be honest, agility pushes you in the opposite direction. So I think there is a real important issue that needs to be faced and embraced.
In terms of other things, I think there are two pieces to this collaborating-together journey that the CMO, CPO, and CIO would all agree no matter where you are coming from. One is the importance of separating content and creative assets from how you display content. It’s the whole paradigm of AEM, Adobe Experience Manager.
The next common theme is I hear all of the time is personalization. I mean deep personalization based on data in your back office as well as in product and behavioral data. You really need to embrace this in a holistic way. And the power you are going to get from the unification of this data is tremendous. But the CIO, CMO, and CPO have got to come around the table for this to happen well. This is where supercharged power comes from data enablement.