The long anticipated integration of Campaign into Adobe's broader marketing suite will take a big leap forward late this summer, but customers should expect ongoing changes throughout the year.
Campaign, acquired when Adobe paid $600 million in cash for Neolane last July, sends personalized content across any channel. Adobe released a rebranded version in January that connects with its Experience Manager. But the company still has a long way to go before Campaign works seamlessly with the other four parts of the Adobe Marketing Cloud -- analytics, media optimizer, social and targeting.
"I think it's going to take some time to fully flesh-out that acquisition and fully integrate it with the marketing cloud," Patrick Tripp, senior product marketing manager for Adobe Campaign, said in an interview. "It's going to be a journey. It's going to be a series of announcements through 2014."
The biggest step in that journey will come at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City on March 24 when Adobe will preview features that will be included in a major upgrade due out in the third quarter, probably July or August.
"At Adobe Summit, we're going to start to introduce a lot of the major contents of this product. It's really very much focused on the alignment within the overall marketing cloud," said Tripp. "There are a lot of ways to describe that -- integration point, look-and-feel, user interface, data aspects. There's a lot to that."
The ultimate goal, illustrated in the flow chart below, is to allow marketing managers to access any part of the Adobe suite when communicating with customers through Campaign. Once complete, that will help to hone the right message to send to individual customers at the most opportune time.
That sort of personalization has become a major goal for marketing technology companies, with some pundits calling 2014 the "year of personalization." Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle and many other large companies compete with Adobe, which has built its marketing cloud into a $1 billion business through pricey acquisitions of Omniture, Day Software, Demdex, Auditude and Efficient Frontier.
"When you build a portfolio like this through acquisitions, it's easy to have silos, to basically have a lot of acquisitions that stand alone and sit side-by-side," said Jeff Allen, director of product marketing for Adobe Analytics. "Never mind the organizational overlap. Just the fact that people will stay within their columns can be a problem or at least a missed opportunity ... The right direction for Adobe is to break down those silos."
Wall Street holds high expectations for Adobe. Its stock has already risen 77 percent to $69 from its 52-week low of $40.21, but 15 of the 24 financial analysts who follow the stock still rate it a "buy" and nobody rates it a "sell."
Case in point: Brendan Barnicle, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, set a target of $75 for Adobe shares in mid-February. He noted in a research report that "in our channel checks, we have consistently heard that Adobe has all of the core components for creative and marketing. In fact, our channel contacts see no competitor that can come close to the Adobe offering."
"It's really about recurring revenue," said Tripp. "If you saw the Adobe financial statement, they're really ramping up the company for some significant growth in the years coming due to the focus on cloud-based pricing models that allow you to have recurring streams of revenue ... and allow the company to very precisely forecast revenue for the next few years, which has gotten the Street very excited."
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