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Big Ideas & Best Practices: Recapping the Adobe Summit 2013

Digital Marketing Summit LogoThe Infinitive Analytics team recently traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit.

As usual, this was a powerhouse conference, attended by top digital marketers and analytics practitioners. A huge number of digital innovations, best practices, success stories and lessons learned were shared.

You can watch many of the keynotes and sessions here, but in the meantime, read on for our favorite takeaways:

Overall, this was an impressive conference, with phenomenal content, highly informed speakers and great entertainment (not to mention delicious barbecue at Pat’s).

The sneak-peaks into new Adobe Marketing Cloud and Creative Cloud features were hugely helpful, and the panel discussions and breakout sessions provided insight into applying innovative strategies and solving real-world problems. Adam Bain of Twitter presented highly intriguing predictions for what we can expect in the future of digital marketing and online commerce.

A key theme of the summit was the need to “break down organizational silos,” and focus on organizational change – a critical requirement for success in the digital world. As much as it’s about the data, mastering the “people” and cultural side of digital analytics is still critical, and often overlooked.

One expert claimed that CMOs might now be in a better position to predict and drive change than CFOs. Because of CMOs’ proximity to and visibility into deep data about customer preferences and market trends, they can best see quickly emerging opportunities and threats, though of course they’ll still need budgets to seize those opportunities.

Across the many success stories, there was a common denominator that went unmentioned – data governance. It’s amazing how little credit goes to this essential ingredient to digital marketing and analytics success. Here’s our full take on why data governance matters.

Consumers may have higher expectations about big data than businesses – customers want broader, easier and faster access to data. But speed (and especially real-time) may be a double-edged sword for business analysts and decision makers; they must keep up with an accelerated environment, while slowing down enough to not miss the primary points and high-value nuggets that are focused on individual customers.

IA team at Adobe Summit

The team enjoying Pat’s BBQ

The Adobe product suite continues to evolve, with extensive integration and a very powerful interface. It is clear that the focus will be on truly integrated platforms that bring together full views of all customer data, as opposed to narrow “point” solutions that isolate source data into standalone silos.

All the sources – search, direct traffic, campaign data, mobile – need to be integrated for holistic views. Attendees were highly enthusiastic about the Adobe vision, but also acknowledged how challenging it will be to make it a reality.

Last, but by no means least, keynote speaker Salman Khan of Khan Academy was the real star of the show. Khan’s presentation about using technology to bring a first-class education to everyone across the world and driving big change through small steps brought down the house. It’s no exaggeration to say he moved nearly half the audience to tears.

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