Review of the Adobe Summit 2016

The Adobe Summit for 2016 in Las Vegas featured an incredible lineup of amazing talent from a diverse set of professions. The summit is the largest digital marketing conference in the world, filling the Venetian Palazzo with about 10,000 attendees. This incredible gathering of the greatest minds not only in marketing but in a variety of other fields amassed to discuss the biggest trends. The Summit focused not only on the current state of the digital marketing world, but also future trends, technologies, and possible changes in the years to come. Devrun was at the Adobe Summit learning about the ever-changing world that is digital marketing. Here are some of the key points we took home with us:

The Keys of Customization

“I think companies everywhere are doing great digital marketing campaigns. But if that’s all we talked about we’d be missing the point.” Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO

On Thursday, the Adobe Senior Digital Marketing Consultant Brittany Chandler was a featured keynote speaker, discussing the need for personalization in every step. She stated that bringing customization both to data and content for individual businesses will boost sales and grow brands. The integration of customized data and content that can inform potential customers will make for a better customer experience.

One of the ways data will become a whole lot more personalized is the newly announced updates to the Adobe Marketing Cloud. After declaring that nearly 60% of people interact with at least two different devices every day, Adobe announced that their updates will allow companies to track users from device to device. This new ability to follow a customer along their complete digital journey, from work computer to home computer to smartphone and back, will strengthen the ability to study interactions with more accuracy than ever before. The implications of this new style of tracking will alter the way digital marketers view customer interactions.

The Cloud also announced additional updates to their systems to add some unique features. The updates include predictive features to further enhance customer experience, like audience segments, value predictions, and automated ad insights. These changes will be showing up in a variety of Adobe products, giving all of Adobe’s customers the ability to build customized data to better service their own clients.

The Personality of Brands

“In order to find the way forward, you have to understand what made you special in the first place.” Richard Dickson, COO of Mattel

 Several celebrity speakers, including actor George Clooney, singer Donny Osmond and soccer player Abby Wambach all spoke about their personal brands and how they have evolved over time. A brand that will bend and grow and evolve is the key to long term success. Their personalized brands have grown over the course of their careers; Wambach, for example, was the captain of the number one women’s soccer team in the world in 2015. Today, she is using that power, that brand of a powerful woman, to help fight gender pay gaps all over world.

 One speaker, Walter Levitt of Comedy Central, really spoke to the center of what a brand is in 2016. Millennials are the biggest purveyors of comedy; they watch more, spend more, and share more than any other generation, bringing about a change in the very way Comedy Central, and others, are marketing to those they want watching. The audience of their brand, Levitt says, requires them to step outside of the bounds of the television screen and expand into other facets of entertainment to pull in a younger audience. Comedy Central remains close to their core identity and the brand while still managing to touch their key audience from outside of the scheduled programming. This diversification of touch-points allows the brand to grow and change with the technologies and give users a more complete, more fulfilling experience with the company.

 Customer Experience and Change

“Experience is really the theme of this year’s summit.” Kevin Lindsay, Adobe Target, Director of Product Marketing

 Richard Dickson, the COO of Mattel, spoke at the Summit about some key elements to customer experience. Mattel has recently torn down the very essence of what one of their iconic toys, Barbie, is and rebuilt it from the ground up. Dickson is not afraid of monolithic change to the center of his brand, and nor, he says, should others. Growth in the face of customer’s needs, wants, desire for connection, and experience with a brand are some of the key points of still being relevant decades later. The new faces of Barbie aren’t just about changing the shape, hair texture, and skin color of Barbie, but about matching the experience of the customer, bringing new connections emotionally, and building value in the relationship between companies and customers. "We want to create valuable relationships with children and their families that transcend our brand,” Dickson said. Mattel, once a powerhouse, is finally regaining that status through a series of giant, creative changes with no fear. They look to the future by remodeling the famous Barbie figure for a more body positive world and by utilizing exciting new tech, like the 3D printer.

Reimaging the brand and realigning themselves with the values of their customers have recreated the valuable, emotional connections customers once had with the brand. Experience, connection and emotional value are all in the hands of the marketer; we just need to know how to grasp it. With more and more businesses connecting with customers without a single person-to-person, face-to-face interaction, that emotional connection and experience will become exponentially more important.

The Adobe Summit broke boundaries and records with its amazing turnout, exceptional collection of keynote speakers, and an array of amazing new technology on display for the world to see. When the Summit outgrew the much smaller venues of Utah from last decade, astounding things were bound to happen and we were not at all disappointed. The insight on display from the creative variety of speakers made 2016 a really amazing year. We look forward to even more next year!