The front of the Adobe building, its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.
PHOTO: Franco Folini

Adobe spent $4.75 billion acquiring Marketo in 2018 and recently made what officials call one of its most significant integrations post-acquisition. The company announced an Adobe Experience Manager Asset (AEM Assets) Selector, which allows Marketo Engage users to access assets from Adobe’s digital asset management (DAM) offering.

This integration — announced in its Release Notes for January 2020 — is available for Marketo customers who are also customers of AEM Assets (the Adobe DAM) and have version 6.5 or higher. Marketo Engage, formerly called the Marketo Platform, is a part of Adobe Experience Cloud, supporting demand and account-based marketing strategies. 

Why is this announcement so significant?

This is the second major integration between Adobe and Marketo post-acquisition, the first being the one between Marketo and the Adobe Platform Launch, which offers tag management capabilities. That integration married Adobe’s tag management capabilities with Marketo’s custom JavaScript tracking code, called Munchkin, and an integration with Bizible, Marketo’s revenue attribution system.

Brian Glover, director of product marketing for Marketo, said Adobe and Marketo integrations existed even before the 2018 acquisition. But he called the recent release of the Adobe DAM with Marketo one of the “key integrations customers have been asking for.” Glover added, “Customers are particularly excited because of how widely Adobe Experience Manager is used, the connectivity of content and content being so essential to the marketing process.”

Working Better With Creative Teams

Adobe officials said the new integration allows marketers to access assets that align with their brands with AEM assets available directly in Marketo Engage. This, officials said, is designed to help marketers avoid the back-and-forth with creative teams and ensure they’re accessing brand-compliant images.

“Marketers when they're creating their campaigns need images, landing pages or emails and other assets,” Glover told CMSWire. “And so they typically have to go to the creative team for this and there can be a lot of back and forth in terms of getting the right images. There is a lot of resizing or doing some editing to those images. And so what we've done is create a direct integration with Experience Manager Assets. This allows a marketer in Marketo to access all the brand-compliant images they have with their DAM and able to import them into Marketo and then use them within a campaign.”

Related Article: Adobe-Marketo Acquisition: What We Know So Far

Changing Tune on Adobe-Marketo Acquisition

When the Adobe-Marketo acquisition hit the streets, it caused quite the buzz. After all, it was one largest marketing technology acquisitions in terms of the price tag, and many had different forecasts of the product roadmap.

Inga Romanoff, certified Marketo consultant and five time Marketo champion who leads Romanoff Consultants in New York City, predicted when the acquisition hit that Marketo and Adobe Marketing Cloud would remain separate products within the portfolio.

The latest integration release, she said, potentially changes her original take about Marketo staying a separate product within their portfolio. “I am observing Adobe developing ways to offer Marketing Cloud features seamlessly including Marketo as part of the suite, while adding Account-Based Marketing (ABM) capabilities to its product suite,” Romanoff told CMSWire “It’s not surprising to see the January Marketo product release announcing Adobe Experience Manager Asset Selector, a new feature within its core Marketo Engage Adobe application.”

This move allows Adobe to take a major step in making “geeky” Marketo friendlier for advanced marketing processes and is well-suited for Adobe core customers, Romanoff told CMSWire. “AEM-managed assets allow for exceptional automation capabilities: expiration, copyright management, etc." she said. "The new feature ... claims quick access to assets that align with brand’s Adobe DAM, available directly in Marketo Engage." The move simplifies bulk asset creation for Marketo users, but does not extend advanced DAM features or automatic asset refresh just yet, according to Romanoff.

Strong Momentum for Adobe

Jeff Coveney, chief marketing officer of Digital Pi, a Dallas-based Marketo partner, sees the product momentum as strong for Adobe-Marketo. Most acquisitions take time to realize success because of management changes, products evolving and the market adjusting.

“Adobe's acquisition of Marketo was no different,” Coveney said. “For example, through the first year, Adobe had to work through how to integrate Marketo into its vision, and align the organization to cross-sell Marketo with its other solutions. Marketo's CEO Steve Lucas also stepped down in the fall of 2019. As we hit 2020, that alignment and integration is kicking in.”

New leadership is in place, with former Informatica CEO Anil Chakravarthy taking over the Digital Experience business, Coveney noted. Integrations like Assets-Engage give businesses a reason to leverage multiple products rather than a single point solution, Coveney added. "End result: a better overall solution for Adobe customers and increased revenue potential for Adobe,” Coveney said. “The future definitely looks bright for Adobe and its customers.”

Related Article: 10 Ways the Adobe, Marketo Acquisition Will Impact Marketo Users

A Marriage of Content and Audiences

Colin Reid, senior director analyst at Gartner covering marketing technology, said the integration of AEM Assets and Marketo Engage speaks to the need for marketers to connect audiences and content for personalized experiences. Time will tell if the integration can be successful for marketers inside the platform, he added.

“We’ve seen explosions in content operations and organizations really focusing on the content operations. You’ve got to have that be as mature as your audience systems in order to deliver personalization, and that's really, in today's digital marketing, the driver or the outcome CMOs aspire to,” said Reid.

Expect More Adobe-Marketo Integrations Ahead

Glover said to expect more integrations coming in "quick succession" in the first half of the year. The initial vision of the acquisition remains: delivering on core areas around content and targeting audiences across channels consistently and powering analytics. “But,” Glover added, “there are new opportunities now that we're looking forward to.”