While Adobe made several key announcements on updates to its Marketing Cloud offering, including extending its technology to the “Internet-of-Things and physical spaces”, Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO and Brad Rencher GM and SVP at Adobe, focused on the company’s customers who are using the technology in ways that Adobe themselves have had to learn from.
“People around the world know us for Photoshop,” said Narayen, reflecting on the recent 25-year anniversary of the product. “And on our journey we recognised that the marketer not only wanted to create content but to market and monetise it as well, which led us to enter the marketing space five years ago.”
The company’s continued trajectory is a “product as marketing” approach. “Companies in the travel and service industry have long realised that their product is their marketing,” said Narayen, explaining that the two are inextricable, with Adobe subscribing to this philosophy. “Uber realises that its app is not only its product but also the brand’s marketing.”
“Obviously we constantly look at the idea of ‘happiness’,” said Buckingham. “For us it’s always about how we create that next experience.”
She gave an example of building an app that allowed sports fans to get involved based on a team they support when they couldn't physically be at the game. “We also did a Coke ‘Hug Me’ machine for college students around the time of exams and stressful periods,” said Buckingham. “I’ve hugged the machine myself and it’s a great experience. We’re trying to be creative with all kinds of experiences that create happiness.”
After getting a laugh from the crowd, Buckingham discussed the business end of using the technology. “Now we put a beacon on a Coke machine to help businesses know where their customers are,” she said. “We realised we had machines where no one was going and can advise businesses on that. At the same time we can put Coke where people want to or are likely to go.”
Similarly, Starwood hotels have been using online-to-offline technology to enhance its business where “customer experience on digital has been historically difficult”. Using “customer attribution” and “taking data from relevant sources” to understand and have meaningful interactions with customers has been key to achieving this.
Chris Norton, vice president, CRM and channel intelligence at Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide, dove into the details, highlighting that the company uses a broad range of data sources from personal preferences such as “favourite pillows” all the way to “loyalty info and check-in times”.
“The approach with the Starwoord app is that you get a digital interaction when you walk through the door,” said Norton, explaining the brand’s combined use of personalised customer attribution and iBeacon across its digital platforms to create both “customer service and sales opportunities”.
In addition to Starwood’s digital overhaul, the company has changed the way it operates to be in line with the new approach.
“We have these small but cross-matrix teams where every team including HR and legal is involved in the ideation process,” said Norton. “It allows you to avoid pitfalls that come with not including those elements and these teams bring unique perspective to ideating strategy.”
In a build up to the session with Under Armour, Adobe showcased its end-to-end mobile services and the latest features in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, which allows marketers to change and update apps and creative across platforms, apps stores and regions – something that has traditionally been “the role of a developer.”
While highlighting that the platform allows marketers to see all this in one simple user-interface, the demonstration culminated in a showcase of using the platform to change a Coca-Cola ad with a new interactive creative on the main digital signage in Times Square, New York.
This followed with Jody Giles’s live demonstrations of Under Armour’s interactive retail technology that allows for personalised clothes buying experiences, including the ability to customise clothing, with online and offline merging together.
On the back-end, the technology has allowed the company to become agile in its way of working from digital to storefront and all the way down to the supply chain level.
Also speaking at the opening session was Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blind Side, who shared insights on his data-driven stories whilst providing the crowd with plenty of comic relief. He also shared details of his book, The Big Short, which is being adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling.
Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO and founder of FEED projects, discussed her journey “to move the needle on world hunger” and how digital marketing and media have played a significant role in achieving the cause. According to Lauren, the project generated 87 million meals in a recent campaign with “support of brands” and social media.