Adobe Summit 2013: Predicting the Last Milliseconds of Truth.

Laurent Francois Co-founder & exec. creative strategist, RE-UP

Posted on April 24th 2013

Adobe Summit 2013: Predicting the Last Milliseconds of Truth.

Adobe Summit 2013 started this morning with some major announcements. Adobe Predictive Publishing for Facebook which aims to forecast social content performance to maximise engagement and ROI, will be deployed on additional social platforms later this year. It opens the gate to a better understanding of Social Media ROI, approaching it with a broader picture, linking it to direct marketing indicators and ad-servers insights. Adobe settled down strong arguments this morning to support its new products.

The last millisecond

According to Brad Rencher, Adobe SVP, the traditional marketing methodologies like focus groups belong to the past. As Rencher says:  "marketing has become incredibly complex and fast", with the rise of so many new digital functions within organizations. For example, there are more than 35 different job titles in Adobe Summit registration system which tend to cover similar marketing territories. In the meantime, a technological acceleration is happening:  smartphones will soon be in every pocket, which gives a certain power – or frustration – to the consumers.  "A new normal is set every day" in terms of access, availability and speed of availability to the contents.

We don't think that marketers should get rid of qualitative surveys thus. But this shift is interesting to be declared in front of a crowd full of big brand strategists.

To handle this new normal of #bigdata, Brad Rencher develops an interesting analogy with the swing of a batter: when a ball is thrown, the batter has only 250 milliseconds to know what to do. If he swings too late or too high, the action fails. Exactly like in the digital world. If you miss your consumers, he goes away. And if you betray him, he'll become a detractor.

“We have to slow things down”.

The promise of Adobe is to “do more with more”. In order to recommend good actions, leading to relevant and enriched experiences for users, Adobe suggests to ...paradoxically slow down the pace of information. As the last millisecond IS the key momentum driving Action to Experience - very similar to Google's Zero Moment of Truth - there's a need to set up a whole new value chain.

4 key pillars are at stake to reach this “last millisecond” momentum:

1-      listen to the signals, which means gathering behavioral insights, sharing attitudes, and also third party information which more and more come from retail CRM. The problem is that these data are still in silos within companies. And that not every "noise" is a signal.

2-      Based on this “listening”, Adobe wants to predict at a massive scale which actions, contents, ideas are going to outperform. Mostly through a simpler and better A/B testing of ads, learning in the long term habits of users etc.

3-       Assembling:  The challenge is to assemble in one place the right information, but even more important, have that in a system that can react in the last milliseconds and in real time. Again, at the moment, the “big data” are processed through various technologies that don’t communicate together.

4-      Deliver:  “Listen, predict, assemble and deliver” must be done end to end, in real time.

2 hurdles must then be tackled:

- technology

It can seem obvious but the marketing systems must move fluently from a task to another. The supply chain must be optimized. According to Adobe, we actually don't need more tools: we need the tools that we have to work together. Adobe used to have 27 products. Now everything is regrouped around one ecosystem.

- organization:

Adobe recommends to create centers of excellence to break silos. There’s a need to be agile, which can be pretty scarring for a lot of organizations. Adobe developed a Social User interface at the very centre: Adobe Marketing Cloud. It's not a dashboard per se: it's more a cloud with diverse calls to actions, a social portal to the marketing capabilities.

Among the diverse advantages: be able to identify unexpected clusters of users, which then can be outreached and better engaged, through data driven contents.

This marketing cloud works hand in hand with the Creative Cloud. We’re not that far from Creativity Marketing at the end.

"internet is transformational"

The most impressive demonstration of Adobe expertise was done by Alessandro Colafranceschi, global head of online & mobile banking for Unicredit group. His statement is that most banks consider digital as complementary activities, mostly for absorbing simple transactions. This is wrong. It's not about technology thus technologies are critical components. It’s about Users. And users must be approached through their territories and how brand can shape tangible relationships in an attention economy. This does not happen without pain: digital transformation faces resistance. Infrastructures, resources and cultures can jeopardize the vision of the social business.

As Alessandro Colafranceschi summarizes: when users experience a digital property of a bank, they don’t consider that it’s a site, a social network or a social media: they consider them as … a bank!

Adobe has proved that the market has just started to consolidate strongly. Analytics, content and customers' management seem to merge, fuse, impose new organizations.

What is fascinating is that Social Media is now entering a more mature level. It will certainly break conservative statements that Social Media ROI is a joke. We're already in a new dimension with Adobe: the era of How.



Laurent Francois

Co-founder & exec. creative strategist, RE-UP

Laurent runs a creative & digital agency in London, RE-UP.

RE-UP develops strong social media strategies for clients like L'Oréal, Clarins, or Nestlé but also for start-ups in the tech industry. 

Laurent also teaches Digital Marketing & Strategy in diverse business schools (ESCP Europe, ECS etc.).

Laurent was the first head of 360° Digital Influence in Europe (now Social @ Ogilvy), operating for clients like Lenovo, Vodafone, Tom of Finland or French government. He then created a business unit dedicated to social media revenue in one of the main media groups in France.

Laurent blogs on fashion on Hit Bag and Le Boulevardier

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