LAS VEGAS — Adobe’s premier digital marketing conference is finally here, with a host of celebrities including actor George Clooney, soccer great Abby Wambach and even Donny Osmond — perhaps best known to Baby Boomers as the teen who sang Puppy Love — all poised to share their marketing insights.

Well, not really. The three will be joining two Adobe execs — VP of Strategy John Mellor and CMO and EVP Ann Lewnes — and Mattel COO Richard Dickson and Cirque Du Soleil VP of Sales and Marketing Alma Derricks for a keynote tomorrow on Inspiring Experience Through Creativity.

It's just part of Adobe's plan to infuse a wide variety of viewpoints, not to mention a little star power, into its annual three-day conference.

'A Milestone for Momentum'

The event is designed to showcase innovation, tools and trends and, most especially, how companies are using Adobe Marketing Cloud to gain deep insights into their customers, build personalized campaigns and better manage their content and assets.

The conference, which runs through Thursday at the Venetian and Palazzo resorts here, is expected to draw 10,000 attendees. It will feature 14 keynotes and 225 breakout sessions.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and GM and EVP Brad Rencher kick the conference into high gear with a keynote exploring how brands can deliver powerful experiences to consumers. Walter Levitt, CMO of Comedy Central, Giles Richardson, head of digital analytics at the Royal Bank of Scotland and McDonald's CMO Deborah Wahl, will join the two Adobe executives for the discussion.

“Every year, Summit is another major milestone for us in terms of the momentum that we’re seeing and achieving with regard customer adoption and maturity with regard to digital,” Kevin Lindsay, director of product marketing of Adobe Target, said of Adobe Marketing Cloud’s growth.

About Adobe Marketing Cloud

In fiscal year 2015, Marketing Cloud reached a record $1.36 billion in revenue and totaled 41 trillion transactions per year — 41 percent of analytics transactions came from mobile.

Adobe claims more than two-thirds of Fortune 50 companies use its Marketing Cloud today, including eight of the top 10 Internet retailers, all of the top 10 commercial banks and all of the top 10 media companies and top 10 auto manufacturers. In addition, it said eight of the 10 largest agencies and eight of the top 12 systems integrators have built their digital marketing practices around Marketing Cloud.

Last year, Marketing Cloud processed more than 40 trillion transactions, including 1.5 trillion mobile transactions. Adobe claims that intelligent location marketing helps companies engage their customers with relevant content and messages based on a user’s proximity to iBeacons.

Adobe warmed up for the conference with two days of pre-conference labs. The labs offered training in how to create and monitor campaigns in Adobe Analytics, use classifications, configure report settings in the admin console and integrate the analytics data with external data.

The Value of Experience

Adobe is harnessing customer experience, digital experience and personalization under the broad umbrella of the experience business. "Experience is really the theme of this year’s summit," Lindsay said.

To stay ahead, businesses need to use real-time analytics, audience managers and personalized customer experiences, and also target people with messages and campaigns at optimal times across all platforms.

“A few years ago, we kind of stopped talking about digital marketing,” Lindsay said. “We started talking about marketing in a digital world. It’s a nuance. But it’s an important one.”

So what defines the experience business? "We think about companies that look at customers first," he said.

"It’s customer-first, putting customer right in the center and that customer’s experience in the center of everything that company is focused on and every way they can execute … [Experience] is the third wave that we’re seeing.”

Updates and Product Announcements

You don't hold a customer-focused summit without including a host of new product announcements to keep them excited. To start, Adobe will announce a next-generation redesign of its Marketing Cloud, which hosts eight key solutions — Experience Management; Analytics; Campaign; Target; Social; Media Optimizer; Primetime; and Audience Manager — all supported by a platform of what Adobe calls “core services.”

The company is redesigning the Marketing Cloud to improve core services and offer deeper integrations across all eight solutions, Lindsay said. It will also enhance the user interface and beef up its mobile offerings.

“We pulled a lot o workflows together, a lot of these personas, email marketing managers, content authors, the digital analyst … and looked at the common and most relevant workflows in terms of how these work together to really execute against a digital strategy,” Lindsay said.

The redesign also offers improved analytics and data science. That includes smart tags and asset insights, which will allow people to use predictive tagging without having to manually tag large quantities of images.

“It’s really around that theme of content velocity and being able to tie together these assets that come out of creative teams,” Lindsay said.

“It’s very much a core tenet in how we deliver value. The human being marketer can’t do it all alone. When we’re talking about scale and the time to market … marketers do need to lean on data science and machine learning and algorithms.”

Adobe will also offer a sneak preview of Virtual Analyst, a tool that assists marketers “who might lack the know-how and resourcefulness” in discovering deep insights and analytics, and discuss Adobe I/O, a developer portal where developers can download multi-cloud APIs to build their own applications.

Other News

Adobe will also offer news about its:

Cross-Device Cooperative — “Devices don’t buy products. People do,” Asa Whillock, principal product manager of Adobe Marketing Cloud, said.

The Device Co-Op, scheduled for release in the second half of the year, tackles the challenges of a cross-device industry, he said. Adobe’s solution is “the best of both worlds,” Whillock said.

Device Co-Op allows brands to link unknown users logged in on separate devices so that marketers can “speak to a person rather than separate devices” and actually make relevant offers to customers.

Early measurements on the new Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op showed up to 1.2 billion devices are already linked worldwide.

Consumers can opt out of the cross-device platform by linking or unlinking their devices. To protect user identities, Adobe worked with Future of Privacy Forum and 451 Research to create security, transparency and privacy policies.

TV Transformation — Viewers want a consistent, continuous experience across screens, Campbell Foster, director of product marketing of Adobe Primetime said.

In a “multi-screen, cord-cutting” world, Foster says many TV companies face challenges in monetizing, measuring audience across different devices and maintaining reach and engagement.

Adobe answered those challenges with its Primetime OTT platform, enabled by Adobe Marketing Cloud. Integrating Primetime OTT on the platform will help media companies acquire new audiences and engage and monetize them with tools like personalized TV and advertising across any screen.

Adobe partnered with comScore to release Adobe Certified Metrics and provide a way to measure digital TV and ad measurement and consumer behavior across platforms.

“Broadcasters and content programmers need a complete understanding of their audiences to maximize advertising opportunities, and the advertisers need a better way of understanding how they’re actually reaching the audiences that they’re buying impressions against wherever and whenever consumers are watching video,” Foster said.

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Title image of the Venetian Hotel by Scott Webb