Adobe Summit 2017 — What we heard from the attendees
Next, let’s turn from the points Adobe was proposing to the people who were listening. One of my favorite things about Summit is that it is the rare kind of event where the true pulse of the industry can be measured.
To that end, we had over 400 conversations with brands of all shapes and sizes at our booth this year. There were some very consistent questions and struggles that people were bringing up. Many of these sound remarkably like the conversations I was having at Summit five, six or seven years ago, while others were new.
I’ll propose an idea: I believe it’s unimportant to look at insights like those below and determine whether it is surprising or not that brands are struggling in certain areas. I think what is important for us all to recognize is that getting these things right, as simple as they may seem, is hugely differentiating for brands, opens new market opportunities, and drives real ROI.
Most importantly, I want us to recognize that closing these gaps is actually realistic. It’s very, very important to have the fundamentals right before leaping to the bleeding edge (or to not lose focus on them as you’re leaping). The fundamentals are your safety net if that leap doesn’t work out, and in many cases, they are totally necessary to take leaps in the first place.
Here’s a rundown of the kinds of questions we were asking and the kinds of responses we heard. A great way to use this is to make a checklist for your own organization. What are you in need of? What are you working on? What do you need to work on? You can also map out dependencies: which projects open doors to solving other opportunities? In each section, I have grouped projects and ideas into categories that elevate the issue or discussion to the level we typically try to work at.
Do you identify with some or most of this? I would love to hear your thoughts (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is your organization struggling with?
- Making good on the promise
- Realizing ROI on current tool investments
- Tagging in place but struggling with what to do with the data next (maturity)
- Taking analytics to the next level and analyzing the intersection of audiences and content
- Really creating content personalization and targeted experiences across channels and technologies
- Being strategic
- Overwhelmed with possibilities, Determining next best step on a roadmap with many possibilities, Where to start?
- Understanding the key problem we are solving before throwing a tool at it
- Organizational support
- Gaining internal traction on optimization strategy
- No time/resources
- Fundamentals and technical needs
- Trusting data
- Integrating data
- Target on Single Page Applications
What kinds of projects do you currently have underway?
- Tagging and Technical
- Technical Analytics tagging audits
- 3rd party data integrations
- Mobile analytics and tagging
- Establishing competencies and centers of excellence
- A/B testing—building capabilities
- Piloting Target but in need of help to form a strategy for the program that could follow the pilot
- Personalization programs launching or growing to be cross-channel
- Growth and augmentation of analytics team
- Stepping stones
- Building data warehouses/data lakes for consolidation of all data sources
- Moving to AEM and then broadening to using the Experience Cloud
- Integration of offline data into Analytics and audiences
- Complete website redesigns
What projects do you wish you had underway?
- Formalizing projects that have run on the side
- “Formal Analytics implementation and target projects, rather than hoping it will work itself out”
- Data integration projects to empower personalization/targeting
- Moving toward better, more personal experiences
- Greater personalization and effort to improve experiences
- Segmentation analysis and definition
- Business Health and Customer Analysis Projects
- Customer value/lifetime value
- Better visualizations of data
- Adding and enhancing key marketing architecture
- DMP/Audience Manager
- Enhancing DTM implementation/Launch
What was your reaction to mainstage content?
- “I liked the idea of better experiences, but unsure of how to execute on that”
- “I’m overwhelmed with the amount of information”
- “Will Launch be more of a developer’s tool?”
- “How will launch affect my current roadmap? Should I hold off? How to take advantage of new features?”
- “Why so many clouds, and clouds of clouds?”
- “What are new analytics levels? How do I get access to predictive in the new structure?”
Clearly, there was a lot on people’s minds at Summit this year, but there are certainly some trends that emerged. Organizations are still very much actively investing in strengthening their fundamentals, improving data quality, and integrating their various data sources and execution platforms (remember—architectures trump products!). At the same time, many brands still feel like they need to make data quality less of a side effort and more of a focused project, and the same goes for data integration projects, becoming great at segmentation, and defining core ideas like the value of a customer.
While there was a lot of discussion of experiences, brands are certainly not settled on the best strategies to bridge the divide between the idea of great experiences across channels and the execution of that idea. Similarly, analysts and marketers were very much identifying with our focus on using great stories and better data visualization to not just inform, but compel executives to act on findings and accelerate.
So, where do we go from here? The next section, What it all means and what to do about it, will cover exactly that.