5 Things We Learned at the #AdobeSummit

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Dom Nicastro avatar

customer experience, Five Things We Learned about Marketing at #AdobeSummit

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is a public relations master. Salt Lake is awkwardly quiet at night for a "big city." A red-eye delay in Salt Lake is a good time to write a story.

And, lastly, digital marketers and web analytics people have a little soul to their step when a good band like Vampire Weekend is playing. Or maybe it was the free beer and wine dancing.

Either way, we learned a few things this week at the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.

Some of our learning journey included tales from the digital marketing industry.

Here's what we discovered:

Communication Still a Problem

One relationship marketing manager we spoke with said breaking down communication silos throughout the company is a major hurdle in her organization. It's not so much about finding the right tool for collaboration, but establishing a consistent communication strategy between marketing and other departments within the organization.

Omnichannel Still Buzzing

Riding the omnichannel marketing wave is something Adobe is pushing in its updates to Adobe Experience Manager, and it's one of the things that drew the most applause from the audience during the Tuesday keynote.

One marketer told us during the conference she's really hyped on the concept: not only jumping on "multichannels" in marketing campaigns but integrating campaigns across "omnichannels."

People Ranks Above Product, Process

One of the big themes in Adobe's digital marketing research findings was getting in place a solid foundation for people, process and products. But finding the right people is always a challenge. We heard of a tale of a company that ended up firing an employee for failure to spearhead the implementation of a marketing software tool.

Jumping into digital marketing head-first with a new tool can do wonders for an organization, but only for those who have lined up the right people with the right skill sets. It's a theme we heard from conference attendees all week. 

Data Game Never-Ending

One web analytics manager we spoke with at the summit told us marketers simply can't escape data. They're constantly chasing it down, trying to make sense of it. They're trying to take petabytes of data and trying to pull a story out of it.

Is it their biggest challenge? Maybe. An informal poll during a B2B marketing session Thursday morning revealed that mobility and brand imaging are the two biggest challenges for marketers today.  

Learning Opportunities

No Easy Task

No matter the top challenges for digital marketers, there's no debating there's a lot of them.

Of all the speeches, keynotes, session presenters and conversations over the free beer and wine, no one said it better than Brad Brown, senior vice president of digital retail and customer support at REI, when talking about the challenges digital marketers face.

Today’s technology “looks great,” Brown told the keynote crowd Tuesday, “but it’s really really hard, and that’s why we call it work.”

Most attendees told us this week: it is a hard job. All kinds of tools flying at you at once, and all must speak to one another. They must mean something to the bottom line. Everything, SAP B2B marketing executive Shawn Burns told his audience Thursday morning, must relate back to revenue.

The way we see it, being a digital marketer is like being a teenage playground basketball player who is given the best tools in the world: a brand-new basketball, new sneakers and a new basketball hoop.

And then, he's asked to go play Michael Jordan in one-on-one. 1990s Michael Jordan, that is.

The tools are there, but there's a Basketball Hall of Fame type of customer staring at you each day. They are savvier, impatient, demanding and take nothing short of a personalized, awesome, quick and error-free experience.

So who wants to play?