Top 10 Marketing Predictions – Adobe Summit

Day 2 of Adobe Summit brings us an interesting interview tin Tamara Gaffney at Adobe Digital.   Check out her perspective on digital change, and the effective nature of marketing in today’s digital marketplace.   It is insightful and gives perspective to where growth is anticipated and how marketing departments can be more effective. 



ADI’s Gaffney At Summit: Top 10 Marketing Predictions For 2015

by Steven Cook
Contributing Editor

In his Day 1 opening keynote at the Adobe Summit, Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems, spoke about the art and science of marketing. “Even while marketing is on this reinvention journey, some fundamental principles of marketing don’t change. Great creative is still the bedrock of great marketing to stand out,” he told conference attendees.


  • My view is that tablet use will become bifurcated into the TV device of the “fixed but mobile lifestyle,” or it will become a business device.
  • Social pop culture commentary is transitioning to a visual form versus just words.
  • Think like a content marketer or a journalist. Project where your stories are going to be and what is happening.

In a Day 2 session, Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Index, continued the art and science theme in her keynote, “Marketing’s Next Big Trends – 2015 Predictions.” Afterward, she sat down with to elaborate on the important implications for all CMOs, their C-suite colleagues, and their collective teams. Let’s start with mobile first since we are in a mobile-first world. As Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of the digital marketing business unit at Adobe, said in his keynote: “Mobile is the glue that will increase the velocity of what your business can do and achieve.” What are your biggest predictions and calls-to-actions for CMOs regarding mobile?
 In mobile let’s start with tablets because everyone is wondering [about] the future of tablets and whether or not it’s game over or it gets reinvented. Someone in the session asked me what my definition of a tablet was. Some of the labels we have are meaningless in today’s screen-size-plethora world. Where is the line between an iPad and an iPhone 6 plus? I think the definition should be around the type of connection capability that the device has.

I’ve gone on record saying that tablets shouldn’t even be considered mobile because when you look at the data, what we see is that 93% of tablet browsing is on Wi-Fi connection. Now, I’m not saying that Wi-Fi can’t be considered mobile. It is just a different kind of mobile–it is “fixed mobile.” You can imagine this type of use case in an airport, or when you are waiting in a store waiting for someone else to shop and you are bored. When you think of tablet use cases, it’s really important to know that you are pivoting off of Wi-Fi-type customer content consumption behavior, which helps you to understand where to position tablet use relative to other form factors. That tells me that there are opportunities for marketers to use tablets for media consumption use cases.

Think about it: If we wanted to work, we would have pulled out our laptop. The installed base of people who have tablets is huge, and they are affluent and tech-savvy. I also think there is a big B2B use case for tablets. My view is that tablet use will become bifurcated into the TV device of the “fixed but mobile lifestyle,” or it will become a business device. Tablets need to become more capable of running business applications, like PowerPoint and spreadsheets. In your talk, you mentioned several times that it is very important to understand the strategic implications of changing consumer usage behavior and habits on different-size screens–smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV, and now wearables. What are the implications for CMOs and their ecosystems?
Gaffney: One of the things CMOs are faced with is their ongoing balance between how, when, and where they spend their budgets in an omnichannel customer world, and having enormous accountability for the MROI of their decisions. CMOs’ budgets are growing as more integrated digital work falls into their domain, so this issue is becoming amplified. So when you look at all screens, the Internet of Things, and eventually the Internet of Me … CMOs need to start thinking about the behavioral and consumption changes that are occurring now and will occur in the not-too-distant future that will impact delivering integrated continuous and consistent brand experiences to their customers. CMOs don’t want to be caught flat-footed.

So here’s what’s going to happen because of all of these different screens, use cases, and potential power plays of various tech hardware, software, and media companies for audience aggregation and revenue gain. Google is going to try to own your home and your car. Apple is going to try to own your living room and your mobile life. It is going to be a new battlefield and a new war.

Remember the browser war battle, Digital World War I? We thought things were settled. But smart mobile devices came along and they disrupted everything. Now we are heading into Digital World War II. Why does this matter to CMOs? There is massive potential to win and massive potential to lose. One of the things that Adobe and I talk about a lot is personalization in real time. Many CMOs don’t realize how big of a deal personalization is to their businesses until they get in trouble, and then it is probably too late to respond. Personalization is a real point of difference with customers now. “Marketing beyond marketing” means delivering digital brand experiences everywhere that positively impact the perception of your brand. This is very important for the Millennial market; it is their expectation. They are the future customers we are aiming for.

Today we need to think beyond the screen and about how, where, and when people are consuming content in different environments to win. So here’s what this means for CMOs: First, stop solely focusing on just the things that you can measure. Try much harder to measure things that you don’t typically measure or measure well. We found at Adobe that we overindexed on the things we were measuring and underindexed on many of the things we didn’t measure, like PR and value-added content generation, when, in fact, for a B2B company that Adobe primarily is, PR and content marketing are very important marketing mix components.

Second, use a combination of art plus science to inform your strategies and tactics. Some things can’t be measured or measured well. Often times this is where business judgment and looking at a broader set of factors and other industries outside of the one you compete in comes into play. Let’s now talk about social. What are your top messages for CMOs?
 Let’s talk about the strategic and tactical components of social, how they should be split up, and their value. The potential strategic components of social are to listen and watch customers; look at what they say, do, and visualize. Take a look at where, geographically, and when people are talking about stuff on social. You may see comments that influence where you might want to expand or invest in your business, or where you don’t want to go or reduce investment.

The other thing that you can see in social is pop culture. It has been there all along, but now social pop culture commentary is transitioning to a visual form versus just words. Think selfies, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine. We have become even more of a visual culture. This is a good thing because visuals actually tell us more about people than their words do. Pictures show us more about people’s emotions, moods, and attitudes. So look at what pictures and videos are being taken and how viral they go. Look at how your current and prospective customers express themselves, and bring this info into your knowledge base about your market. Many marketers are not doing this, and they are missing out on an opportunity to be smarter and differentiate their brand narratives. For example, create lifestyle visuals for your brand to differentiate it from all of the stock visuals your competitors are using.

The other side of social media I want to talk about is that it gives people monetary power. We are starting to see how entertainment or sports franchises and celebrities are now able to monetize their social followings. Think LeBron James and his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was able to monetize his social footprint and clout to negotiate his new compensation package, and the Cavs have monetized LeBron’s social footprint and clout to increase the value of their team by 37x. More and more, we are going to hear about a brands’ social clout becoming a factor. LeBron was worth more to the Cavaliers because of what his professional brand team did with his social media.

There is a real lesson here for CMOs: Brands can do this, too, and should be doing it, to increase their value. You have an opportunity to monetize the network that people–your customers and super fan advocates–have built. So CMOs need to put together a social team that has strategic tools and responsibility. Tell them to go crazy figuring out how they can use social media to drive business results and brand value. What are your top three imperatives for CMOs?
First, identify key events happening in the world at large and in your customers’ lives that interest and impact them. These can be big marketing rallying points for your organization and sources of compelling content. Often times, brands use big events like the World Cup or the Olympics. But what about years, like 2015, when these big events aren’t happening? You want to know what is going to be on their minds, what topics they are going to be interested in and receptive to it.

We can also see that there are certain days and day parts when your customer will be more into consuming content. Sports fans or auto buyers may be more open to using social media for sports or shopping for a new car on the weekend, so be there when they are there with your differentiate content. Friday afternoon might be a good day for your social media. Behaviorally, sometimes you can forecast opportunities from these events. Think like a content marketer or a journalist. Project where your stories are going to be and what is happening. Find or create rally points around what people are doing. Develop differentiated creative for these events and a calendar to execute.

Second, get your creative house in order. CMOs not only need to figure out where all of their creative assets are and which ones are performing well, we have to get better at differentiating our creative from everybody else out there. We have to get more creative with it. And we need to have the right partners in creativity both inside and outside the organization. This is super important. We live in a visual society that is getting more visual every day. Visuals can help you go beyond differentiating on price only. This is how your brand puts its best foot forward.

And the third one is to pay much more attention to social buzz. Think about social strategically and tactically to figure where your customer is and is going. There is so much opportunity to get ahead of your competition.

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