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Adobe Summit 2019: How Digital Marketing Leaders Set Themselves Apart from the Competition

I enjoyed another great year participating in Adobe Summit. The trends and themes coming out of this year’s Summit point to an ever-increasing pace of change among markets. Across all channels, digital marketing leaders are seeking to best deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person. Below are three ways to look at becoming more effective in that crucial objective.

One – Seek creative ways to evolve your business model

New growth is often the product of how companies re-think their daily operations. Guest speakers from BestBuy and Chegg described how they reacted to competitive forces in their market by pivoting to all-new business models, often with a reduced focus on product-oriented offerings and instead, strengthening their services and subscription-based revenue streams. Adobe spoke on how they worked to re-build a company on top of the existing brand, as they found new ways to deliver value to their customer base.

Other brands pointed to evolving their businesses through improved operational efficiency and through the breaking down of organizational silos — unifying a gaggle of point solutions across the business to become a more comprehensive and intuitive solution for their customers. Concurrently, those businesses were reinforced with an improved data infrastructure that enabled stakeholders to better monitor data quality and deliver critical digital insights across the organization with greater speed and accuracy, creating a more effective work force.

Two – Use AI and ML to enable personalization at scale

Almost every speaker at Adobe Summit touted the virtues of increasing the level of intimacy with their customers, at all points across their journey to engage with a brand. Whether they are in the discover, try, buy, use or renew phase, deep personal experiences are key to increasing customer loyalty and overall business longevity. To achieve this, digital marketing leaders need to employ machine-assisted management of every customer touchpoint.

As users progress through marketing campaign stages and channels, and dive deeper into the sales funnel, businesses must deploy robust data infrastructure to capture the digital signals being sent back from user behavior, to ensure a consistent hydration of the user customer profile This way, marketing managers can better tailor messages, content and the timing of delivery for improved user experiences, faster and easier checkouts, and higher customer satisfaction. Merkle illustrated this complex process through its Innovation Cloud demos and its sessions on Audience Mastery.

Companies such as SunTrust Bank spoke to use cases where they leveraged AI to better predict demand and user behavior in order to refine decisioning, campaign planning, and orchestration. The combination of AI and a robust data infrastructure led to better execution of next best action for specific audience profiles, and improved measurement of even hard-to-monitor customer touchpoints such as display ad impressions and site visits that were influenced by ad view-throughs. Adobe touted its Experience Data Model (XDM) as a key enabler to maintaining customer profile data consistent across sales, marketing, and support systems.

Session topics and speakers pointed out that in today’s market, the lines between B2B and B2C are becoming more and more blurred. By recognizing that business buyers are increasingly expecting high-grade digital experiences on par with consumer sites, digital marketing leaders can become more effective at Account Based Experiences (ABX), where messaging is more effective at targeting not just individuals, but also centers on influence within target organizations, driving a highly predictable pipeline and lowering the cost of acquisition.

Three – Invest in Your People

While a technology conference can be expected to focus on systems, data, and infrastructure, the speakers at Adobe Summit were also keen to emphasize the importance of the human element in business. First and foremost are the target audiences — the customer. People don’t want to be sold to; they want to be engaged with. So, it is critical to ensure that whenever technology is employed, it’s done so in a way that delivers real value to the customer, like adapting to the demands of newer, younger audiences, who have progressively lower tolerances for bad experiences online, to using tech to give customers a sense of control.

The definition of ‘people’ also includes the employees at a business. Continued growth for companies is dependent on empowering the teams on the front line who engage with customers, either in store or online. Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, spoke to the value of investing in their employees via training and support, to reduce churn rates and improve overall work satisfaction.

Partnerships were another aspect of the human element in focus at Summit. As with so many things, speakers underscored the fact that businesses can not do it all by themselves. Robust partnerships prove to be extremely valuable in fostering business growth and improved customer experiences.

Adobe Summit proved that marketers can make every moment personal, and every experience shoppable for their customers. In short, the ability to put the customer at the center of the company’s digital strategy is what will separate the leaders from the laggards in the coming future for online marketing.

To learn more about how to transform business process and systems infrastructure to become more customer centric, visit Merkle here.