Today’s marketers are being asked to do “more with more,” Adobe SVP and GM of Digital Marketing Brad Rencher informed Adobe Summit attendees at this morning’s opening general session. Fortunately, both he and Adobe CEO Shantau Narayan explained how today’s digital tools allow marketers to obtain insights and engage customers at levels that have never existed before.

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“Marketers have become seekers of knowledge,” said Rencher. “But there are more questions than answers, and the answers are not tweetable. They’re contained in best practices and digital devices.”

Dispelling Myths, Carving Pie

Narayan began his remarks by saying Adobe has had success helping marketers dispel common “myths” that have built up about digital marketing -- such as that social media is worthless, people don’t like to be targeted and marketers don’t like Big Data. He also warned attendees that digital spending only accounts for 25% of an average company’s budget. “We want marketers to get a larger slice of the digital pie,” he said.

Engaging Everywhere

According to Narayan, the omnichannel revolution has changed marketers’ digital engagement strategy. “Digital strategy used to be about your site, getting customers there and trying to convert them,” he said. “Obviously that has changed.”

Narayan said marketers now must engage customers in “every use case,” including PC, tablet, smartphone and car. “Every interaction is truly relevant,” he stated. He gave the example of Adobe client Delta Airlines, who offers customers a single unified interface. “Not just the PC, not just the tablet, not just the smartphone, but the screen on the back of the seat in front of you that you watch entertainment on, or a digital magazine that knows everything about you. This is what marketers are striving for.”

Thus marketers must “embrace rocket science,” said Narayan. “Every company is swimming in Big Data,” he said. “More can be done.”

For example, he said customer conversion tracking systems can allow marketers to change campaigns in real time if they are not meeting customer needs. “Not all of us have the luxury to be able to change a campaign at the speed which customers expect,” he said. “You can also use the data to predict what will happen next.”
Using math and machines, Narayan said marketers can “take marketing interaction to a whole new level” through activities such as automated media buys.

Connecting the Dots

Narayan concluded his presentation by urging marketers to “connect the dots” and use digital marketing technology not only to engage customers but also to engage their counterparts in other departments in the company. “Unless you connect the dots, organizational change will not happen,” he advised. “You can break down silos of information, people and processes.”

Adobe itself is pursuing a “connect the dots” strategy. Narayan said that on Monday mornings, he used to perform a financial analysis of marketing efforts conducted through all channels. “The unanswered question was customer sentiment,” he said. “Customer retention and conversion data in real time to predict where the business was headed.”

By making “significant changes” in promotional and informational flow, Narayan said Adobe has been able to get a “holistic, day to day” view of the customer. “Not just who visits our site, but who signs up, downloads software (trials), uses them and converts to a paying customer.”

By changing how marketing, sales and finance interact and collaborate in tracking this kind of in-depth customer data, Narayan said they can change the business, with marketing driving the change. “CMOs are in a better position than CFOs to truly predict the business,” he stated.

Rencher added that marketers today are driven to perform advanced digital marketing by changes in consumer expectations and the methods consumers use to gain access to content. He also said this year’s Summit has more than 5,000 attendees from 27 countries.