What did marketers take away from the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit in Salt Lake City last week? Below we recap some keynotes, breakout sessions, and broad themes from the conference.
The Wednesday evening general session, featuring a conversation between Federated Media's John Battelle and Twitter's Adam Bain, garnered a lot of buzz online (AdExchanger story). During the panel, Bain took a shot or two at Facebook and pledged future innovation around analytics and attribution. As of Thursday morning, 27% of all online conversations about the event mentioned Adam Bain. Comparably, 15% of conversations mentioned Adobe's new Marketing Cloud UI.
Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, was also a hit with attendees after he spoke during the morning session on Thursday, sharing his inspirational story of quitting his job as a hedge fund analyst to start a nonprofit organization providing free online educational videos and resources for students, teachers, and other learners around the world.
Breakout sessions and smaller panels included discussions debunking digital marketing myths such as "social can't be monetized" and "consumers hate to be targeted."
Glen Hartman, global MD of digital consulting at Accenture Interactive, told AdExchanger, "Most of these sessions highlighted data, analytics and measurement as a key enabler. The merger of creative, data, analytics and technology, simply put from a marketing, sales and service perspective, means that just about anything you want to do is now possible."
And, as digital becomes an everyday part of marketers' lives, attribution has emerged as a key challenge -- and one that came up several times during the Summit.
"A lot of people are focused on it," said Matthew Comstock, VP of data and analytics for Razorfish. "What is the right type of attribution? What's the right way to do attribution modeling? And dissecting different types of attribution."
Dr. Sid Shah, director of business analytics at Adobe, believes the industry has made headway when it comes to attribution, but there is a long way to go.
"Marketers have struggled to understand how these channels interact with each other," he told AdExchanger. "The fact that data online can easily be measured and stored and analyzed means we have already made headway. It boils down to the fact that marketers want to understand how each media influences a consumer in the funnel and what is the most appropriate way to do that."
Naturally, a lot of the conversation during the week revolved around the new Adobe Marketing Cloud and demos from clients, including a new user interface for the Marketing Cloud, mobile capabilities, and an updated Media Optimizer platform.
Razorfish recently signed a more robust partnership agreement with Adobe, and Comstock told AdExchanger, "If you look at what Adobe's done within the marketing area, bringing together more than 20 products and through their re-architecting the products into these five solutions, from the agency perspective, we're used to going out and selling the solution aspect of it. This will help them move from the point solution approach to a bigger solution and make that transition."
But what about those brands that haven't had a chance to test-drive the new innovations? What are they looking forward to?
Chris Kahle, web analytics manager, Caesars Entertainment:
"A challenge we've had over the years is that we've had to jump through a lot of hoops to collaborate all this information. The good news is we can track everything and the bad news is we can track everything. How do we get all this information out to all these people? I call it minding the firehose. Being able to collaborate that info across the board and distribute that info is a challenge we've had and I'm excited about the demo I saw."
Ken Foster, director of digital media, McGladrey:
"Our marketing teams are scattered across the country, and they all have a specific focus on certain sections of our website and certain content, so when you see these boards [in the new UI for the Marketing Cloud], they will be relevant to each person. That's how we can focus on getting the right reports and right information to people across the firm and they can make quicker decisions on that, refining content that leads to higher engagement rates."
As it has done in past years, Adobe hosted "Adobe Sneaks" at the end of the conference, where representatives from the company present interesting innovations and features they are currently working on. As Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein analyzed the Twitter conversation, attendees were able to "vote" for their favorites by tweeting with certain hashtags, and at the end of the presentation, the top Sneak was #SweetEmotion, a new tool for Adobe Social that improved sentiment analysis.
As attendees hit the slopes on Friday, digital marketing may take a backseat, but it will be interesting to see if the excitement for Adobe and its products continues once everyone is home from Utah.
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