Adobe Outlines Vision: ‘We Have Data. We Have Content.’

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billingramAmong Adobe’s visions for its Marketing Cloud suite of products is enabling a streamlined process of creating content and delivering it all the way through to campaign execution, the company said. Just weeks after Adobe’s announced $600 million acquisition of marketing automation company Neolane (See AdExchanger story) to round out its creative and content capabilities with cross-channel campaign management, Adobe today launched Adobe Social Version 3.0 that encompasses “predictive social posts” and integrations to Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr and Foursquare.

The key use case? Create content within the social publisher and connect the dots with media optimization to promote posts and campaigns. Through a series of metadata and reporting, a marketing team can essentially break down how individual engagements are contributing to overall site monetization.

AdExchanger sat down with Bill Ingram, Adobe’s VP of product management for digital marketing, and Emi Hofmeister, Adobe's senior manager of product marketing, to talk about the new release and what Adobe’s next-steps are in melding Neolane into the Marketing Cloud.

AdExchanger: Before we talk about the release, can we talk about the marketing vessel Adobe’s building? There are a lot of Marketing Clouds out there.

BILL INGRAM: If you look at Adobe’s business in general, there’s two parts. The creative business, which is the Creative Cloud business with the authoring tools that Adobe has, and then the Marketing Cloud, which is the Omniture acquisition, the Day Software acquisition and the Efficient Frontier acquisition all kind of coupled together. The experience part of digital is really important to us. We feel like the digital experience is morphing in to just more than the Web experience – it’s morphing in-app. It’s what happens in social networks.

Getting as much from traditional – call it legacy (marketing) – to digital is where we’re focused and we do that by kind of bringing our toolsets together. You’ve probably heard us talking about the art and science of marketing. You really need good creative to do effective marketing, and then you need to deploy that creative in various, smart campaigns. At the end of the day, for us, the key elements are data and content. If you want to know why we’re different, it’s because we have data and we have content. The data comes from our analytics heritage. The content comes from our Photoshop heritage. It’s really as simple as that.

Did your Neolane buy put you that much closer to the customer record? Do you want to do more CRM?

Ingram: We want to make sure the customer experience of marketing is the right experience. And we want to do that consistently across channels. We don’t intend to get into the customer service space. We want to be a digital record of our customers. We don’t want to be a CRM system the way Oracle is. The way Salesforce.com is. We feel like those are systems we can easily tap in to and leverage, but our value is going to be delivering a personalized, highly relevant experience to consumers and that involves building great content and then deploying that content and using data to smarten up about it. Last year, we had 26 products in market. We’ve done some impressive inorganic innovation and we’ve done some organic innovation as well.

Last year, our strategy was to rationalize those 26 products into five things. What we heard from clients was, ‘Listen, you’re kind of hard to do business with because we don’t know what to buy. You’ve got a lot of stuff in your product portfolio and we don’t know exactly what we need.’ So we rationalized it down to five, and Neolane will be the sixth, which we’re calling Campaign Management. Neolane provides a really great email management system, cross-channel offline and online campaigns and then what are traditionally viewed as campaign forecasting and budget allocation tools.  Adobe Social is our offering in the social space. It combines really great publishing and listening technology with best of breed analytics and moderation tools.

Media Optimizer is our paid media tool, so any kind of paid media you can optimize in that environment from paid search to display and social and paid media in social. Adobe Target is our personalization engine, which enables us to create kind of one-to-one personalized experiences. It does A/B testing, as well. Adobe Experience Manager is really about the experience. It’s a content management system at heart and it actually manages the customer experience across the board from mobile to social to dotcom as well. And then, Adobe Analytics, which is where most of our heritage is, in terms of our Omniture business – Site Catalyst is the flagship there.

Can you talk more about this new “Campaign Management” component of the Marketing Cloud?

Ingram: We’ll probably start going through a couple orders of integration, so we’ll start selling it to our base right out of the gate. There’s some integration we already have in place due to our Genesis framework that we’ll just package up and make productized. And then we’ll invest to get this tied up much more aggressively. You can tell there’s going to be an obvious connection there. You’ve got the media forecast…execution in email, which will be separate, execution in display and paid search and execution in social. Those will be the connections and then the analytics will come up from the bottom to kind of hook it all up and close the loop on those campaigns.

You’ve got channel execution capabilities. You’ve got social as a channel. We can publish to social and we can run ads in social, publish to Google, or their display network or their paid search network. What Neolane provides is that cross-channel view of the marketing mix -- so the online/offline piece -- and the forecasting tools. It’s, ‘How much money, if I’m a CMO, do I allocate to that to achieve my objectives?’ ‘How much money do I allocate to my search stuff?’ Plus, it gives us a really good campaign management capability for email.

You mentioned that Media Optimizer is a $100 million business that's growing quickly and that Experience Manager is on fire. What about Adobe Social? Are there any struggles to get customers to use all of these facets together?

Ingram: I would say there are challenges. If you look at the business, we’ve got 6,000 customers here roughly (on Marketing Cloud.) Social is probably our most nascent business that we have because we really just launched it, so we have about 150 customers there today… the majority of clients pick what they need and they add as additional needs come in. We have several customers that are using it all. Customers like REI. Customers that are big, all-in customers to the Marketing Cloud. We’ve got emerging solutions around video and mobile, and then cross-channel campaign management where Neolane fits in, which really strengthens our position there.

With social, the conversation is shifting from what are we doing in social networks to what are social networks doing for us in terms of return. These are the kinds of questions CMOs are asking their practitioners of social, and these are just general problems. They’re not unique (to us.) The data is different. It’s unstructured data so there’s massive quantities and you’ve got to get to signal very quickly. Social channels are becoming prolific.

You’ve got different regional footprints and different niche networks that are popping up. You’ve got different content types like heavy imagery networks such as, say, an Instagram that are very specific to a content type and then, how do you scale it across your business? How do you handle your servicing needs with your marketing needs with your brand needs as well?

Our solution is Adobe Social, which connects the dots between what’s happening on social networks, listening, publishing and engagement to drive real business results for a brand. If you’re a retailer, it’s how many widgets are we selling? If it’s a print advertiser, it’s how many visitors are we acquiring and how are we monetizing those visitors when they come to our site? All of that is connected to delivering clear results and connecting the dots. We can tell you how that campaign for social contributed to the overall success of your marketing campaign.

 

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What’s included with the latest release of Adobe Social?

Ingram: Adobe Social Version 3.0’s key value proposition is: take social data, leverage it across your enterprise to not only drive actionable insights, but actionable campaigns, too. It adds some robust collaboration utilities so that the Marketing Cloud is going to come with a user experience that is targeted toward (being) easy-to-use, with collaboration and sharing, mobility and all of that is available for our clients. Marketing is becoming less of an 8-5 thing and more of an always on thing, so mobility is a huge focus.

 

  • We’ve simplified the workflows for all our applications into what we call this Marketing Cloud UI. So we have single sign-on and you’ve got these things that we’re calling feeds and boards. You can curate your own content on boards. It kind of moves Pinterest from a B2C tool to an enterprise tool.  There is also a collaboration structure built in as well. We’ve revamped our entire reporting infrastructure to make it interactive, so you’re looking at buzz reports and seeing different trends and terms. You can click, and it filters all of your data. You don’t have to go search and run reports. You don’t have to run pivot tables in Excel. You’re just clicking through the data.

 

  • Anomaly detection- It automates alerting associated with data anomalies. The system will highlight it for you and we do the correlation analysis as well. We’re adding listening sources, and imagery and text services...We have geolocation tools built into our analytics capabilities. You can geofence in our tools today, but this gives you the ability to see what is happening socially on a location base.

 

  • It allows you to take a post and the imagery associated with that post and it will tell you what your engagement rate will be based on all the data you have on all your prior posts. A post can be a campaign, so you can tell how effective your campaign is based on what you want your end result to be: likes, comments, or shares, and this will eventually be built out to be KPI-driven, such as orders, revenue, time spent on site if you’re a publisher. We recommend how to drive those numbers out, what text you should use, what verbatims, should you use video imagery vs. a snippet or should you change the wording of your post itself. This is one example where we feel predictive takes a strong role in what is traditionally viewed as an innocuous publishing process.
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