"3 takeaways from the Adobe Summit 2019 that will continue to disrupt “digital” advertising"

Michael Chung, VP Account Strategy, Reprise US

I was one of the 17,000+ attendees for the Adobe Summit 2019 in March. It was a veritable melting pot of vendors, client-side marketers, developers and practically anyone who has a relationship with Adobe, and its vast product suite, all in pursuit of the latest iteration of radical transformation to the omnichannel. This being my third visit to the summit in many years, I had the opportunity to compare and contrast the evolution of the messaging over time.

Thematically, I saw the evolution of the customer experience and consumer expectation across channels that addressed three questions for brand marketers:

  • Why should I care about my customer experience strategy?
  • What is my actual target audience?
  • Who do I send my marketing campaign RFP?

The ‘Why’ of Customer Experience

The summit was awash with case studies of successful brands that have been leading and creating a genuine brand purpose across their customer interactions. For Best Buy, its digital transformation has been driven by the goal of helping people connect their devices to the home, thereby enhancing users’ lives with technology. By offering more experiences across online, in-store and in-home channels than their largest competitor, they have given themselves permission to drive activities focused on utilizing technology to reach out to disparate groups; working with senior citizens with their personal tech issues and building communities around teens to better explore and understand tech for their personal growth. Having a strong sense of cause and purpose works to guide your consumer experience strategy and provide a consistent internal and external message for your brand's overall purpose.

Redefining the target: B2C? B2B? or B2E?

While acronym bingo was in full swing during the conference, one key abbreviation transformation highlighted the shift of B2B/B2C, which pretty much just becomes B2E (B to Everybody). While Amazon is at the forefront of blurring the lines of who the actual end user might be, this philosophy transcends traditional industries by creating expectations of excellent experiences across channels and silos. Companies can no longer afford to deliver a mediocre B2B experience that does not match the experience of their B2C channels and vice versa, as the lines continue to blur. While this type of transformation doesn’t happen overnight, especially in sectors like automotive retailing, there is a clear opportunity to unite the discordant experiences of tiered marketing.

Services R-Evolution

One clear shift I continue to see at the summit year after year is the battle for supremacy between the business consultancy/systems integrator and the traditional agency model. As Adobe’s products evolve combining creativity, data, and technology as well as the convergence of the CMO and CIO role, there is an inevitable collision of competitors across both traditional models when approaching the business problems from different perspectives. With so many options available, even more choice will make it harder than ever for marketers to decide on integration partners. Despite the complications for the enterprise, as access to new and better data allows communications to be more targeted, relevant and timely; the removal of silos across marketing silos will continue to be a win for the consumer, creating a more streamlined and efficient customer experience.