Adobe Summit 2014 Recap

Summary & Key takeaways from Adobe Summit 2014
The Adobe Summit has exploded over the past 3 years as it moved away from the Grand/Little America, where it was still hyper focused on analytics & testing (~2,000 people attending 1-2 years post Omniture acquisition), to a large scale (6,000+ people) pan-digital marketing showcase hosted at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The growth and integration with other tools in their suite has allowed them to shift focus from solely an analytics/optimization product line to a ‘Marketing Cloud’ of tools marketed to the CMO and used across the digital/marketing organization.
Here are my top high level takeaways from this year’s Summit:

Key themes: Testing, Platform, & Personalization

Takeaway #1: Over the past 2 years Adobe has pushed hard on integration & product line simplification. They now have 6 core products that make up the Adobe Marketing Cloud platform: Analytics (tracking, reporting, deep-dive analysis, formerly SiteCatalyst & Discover), Campaign (marketing mix planning, contextual activation, coordination), Target (testing/optimization, formerly Test&Target), Social (social media listening, management, & analysis, formerly SocialAnalytics), Media Optimizer (audience management, ad optimization, enhanced advertising, formerly Search Center), & Experience Manager (WEM, formerly Day CQ5, profile/user management, tag management – DTM, formerly Satellite)

Takeaway #2: Adobe announced a single user ID to track users across device (as long as the user is signed in). Further, they are taking this concept and using it as part of a profile management offering for the overall core marketing cloud offering and a separate ‘social profile’. These customer profiles are aimed at making re-targeting easier, customer interaction more direct, and key contributor/influencer identification & nurturing easier.

Takeaway #3: Data driven decision making is becoming more ingrained in the marketing process & platform. Each piece of the new ‘core platform’ was bolstered by talks of ‘testing this’ or ‘measuring that’. This means that not just the action of testing & analyzing, but the thoughts of doing so are being pushed even higher up the reporting chain to the C-level accountable for the core platform.

Takeaway #4: There is still a lot of space in the market, depending on target audience. Adobe is moving towards a full spectrum marketing platform. There will always be a place for smaller, niche players, especially within SMBs & medium sized businesses who are not ready to commit to the full Adobe platform. The real question is – who are we targeting?

Takeaway #5: The SAP-Adobe partnership could prove to be a major addition to the space (and I think was under-emphasized and/or understood at Summit). It will help provide a faster, possibly real time big data integration for the Adobe Marketing Cloud and will probably prove very useful for their new profile manager for cross product profile integration.

I also attended some great sessions. Here are a few highlights from my favorites sessions:

Social Analytics via Carmen Sutter, Craig Stoe & Andrew Boylan 
Adobe has come up with some very cool stuff in the social space. Their tool, Adobe Social, is a very different, much more advanced version of the Omniture SocialAnalytics product I helped shape several years back. Oh the nostalgia for SocialAnalytics…

Some cool tips & new things here:
– Social Profile: pulls in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & other profiles to create a single social customer profile. Super powerful for targeting influencers.
– Filter filter filter: you can generally target/segment the social data you’re looking for if you get creative enough with filters & boolean logic.
– Measurement & moderation platform: Adobe Social now stands on it’s own two feet – it’s a full service monitoring, analyzing, moderating, & posting platform.

Driving Optimization with Analysis via Thoryn Stephens
1. Prioritize testing what matters most – ask the right questions: Where are my 800lb gorillas?
2. When you find gold, keep digging
3. Identify, test, then leverage those segments

“It’s not just how you collect the data, it’s how you use the data (aka stop saying big data)”
“Use data to drive insights, use insights to drive hypothesis, use hypothesis to drive iterative tests”

Analytics Idols – Top Tips
I really like both tips from the winner of ‘Analytics Idols’ Rachelle Maisner, and she also has a really cool twitter handle: @5ftdynamite

The first was around using linear regression for data loss or prediction. ‘Data loss. It happens.’ Rachelle’s tip helps fill in gaps for when you do lose data. Some considerations she mentions for doing this: works best with short term projections, large data values & large numbers, and steady, predictable data without huge outliers.

Her second tip was around quantifying impact of a redesign. This hit home for me in particular because I’m in the process of working on a major redesign and testing/optimizing it as it goes out the door. She laid out 3 easy steps to help do this:
1. Build a segment: define engaged visits (contains people who saw landing page and then did an engagement action, i.e. downloaded/watched)
2. Establish a baseline for comparison: use a % rate to control for traffic volume variations – engaged visits/visits = % engaged, watch out for anomalies. If baseline metrics are flat, use a simple average, if not, use a linear regression
3. Compare post-launch data to baseline

That’s a wrap
Finally, and most importantly, the networking was (as always), superb and the highlight of the trip. The entertainment and even the vendor/exhibit hall were also very good.

It was a great summit, see you all next year in SLC (hopefully… please don’t combine Summit w/Max and move it to Vegas)!

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