On a recent webinar I suggested, somewhat from the seat of my pants, that CMOs are the new CFOs. The past couple of days spending time with Adobe and its digital marketing customers at the annual Summit have convinced me that mine was more than a far-fetched insight.
If you are a digital marketer (is there any other kind now?) who sees that your future is not only more interesting but also more strategic to your company's goals, then the Summit, still ongoing, is going to give you a firm grounding to support your arguments. As the brilliant Forrester analyst Nate Elliot said yesterday in his breakout, in this age of the commoditization of manufacturing, the most important asset that any enterprise has as an advantage is its relationship to its customers. Continuing to grow that advantage and to instill customer loyalty is the single most important role within the company.
An interesting tweet picked up on the Summit hash, and a bellwether, stated that MBAs now prefer marketing to finance! That's great news for those of us who've already chosen something we thought was more creative -- and more fun -- over bean-counting. But more and more, marketers of the past are realizing that the skill set they developed in business school or in the less recent past is no longer relevant to their role today. Hence the theme of the Summit: the Reinvention of Marketing.
Adobe's most recent Digital Index, released at the beginning of the conference, revealed, not surprisingly, that data is the biggest concern for marketers. Interestingly, as well, social has new credence as not simply a channel but a strategy because of its enormous role in colleting real-time data.
"Social is a front-runner in taking action from data," says Emi Hofmeister, Group Manager for Product Marketing for Adobe (Social). "The data that we derive from social can speak directly to programmatic marketing, helping us to establish targets as well as to inform content creation." It's another interesting way that automation of marketing is creating new forms of human, i.e. social, value in decision-making.
Trending topics on social, coupled with listening, can also provide marketing with new opportunities to be relevant and effective (real-time marketing).
This is playing out in interesting ways for Scripps Networks International, producers of well-known lifestyle content including HGTV and the Food Network. Chad Parizman, Director, Convergent Media, added Adobe Social to all its brands a year ago.
"Integration is the key," according to Parizman, as we battle a declining market for media spend by optimizing across cable and inter-active. "Social is the bridge that allows us to gain insight from all platform experiences" and those insights can then be used for increased advertiser spend. "It also allows us to provide an integrated story to all the agencies we deal with for a single client, putting us in the very valuable role of understanding the client's customers in a single view of their content experience no matter which agency, broadcast, interactive or mobile, we're dealing with."
As major software players continue to gobble up those point solutions that support enterprise social, Adobe's focus on marketing is giving it a go-to-market clarity that should seep into broader adoption as marketing itself takes over a strategic role in the C-Suite. They have, as Nate Elliot would say, started at the "relationship" stage of enterprise social and digital by supporting their most fervent customers and with their recent announcement about a broader partnership with SAP. Looking forward to seeing how that expands in the coming months.