Key Takeaways: Adobe Summit 2019

By Adnan Khan


Having just spent a week over at the Adobe Summit 2019, I thought I would share some key takeaways from the summit, which is billed as the world’s largest customer experience conference.

According to Adobe, creativity and experience is at the core of delivering the best experience. In a small market like New Zealand, where competition for a finite customer base is ever paramount, the importance of experience is exaggerated more so than larger markets overseas.

“Business that have creativity at the core are more responsive and agile to business needs”

Creativity at the core is not just a nice to have, but is an essential requirement in this day and age to the bottom line. According to McKinsey, creative leaders outperform their peers on key financial metrics such as above average organic revenue growth, above average total return to shareholders, and above average net enterprise value.

“The line between epic and epic failure is experience.”

Experience has changed everything, and in an age of digital disintermediation, marketing has now become the experience.

According to Adobe, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

People now generally buy experiences, not products. However, there’s a big difference from an experience that transcends discussions around cost or value versus one that is a failure (a bad experience). To deliver a world class “epic” experience you need to utilise insight and data.

“Always maintain a test and learn mindset”

It’s crucial to build an always-on framework for testing and learning. To do this, brands would benefit from looking at Adobe’s own marketing activity. has 9.2bn web visits a year. Adobe started with 1 test per week, and now they do 50 per week. It has created a recipe for success for Adobe’s growth and has largely contributed to the meteoric growth of its website.

The convergence of ad-tech and mar-tech

The main theme from the summit was one of convergence. Specifically, the convergence of marketing technology and advertising technology in delivering a better experience for the customer, and the convergence of sales and marketing to further accentuate that experience.

To that end, Adobe announced the open data initiative – which includes a data sharing partnership between Microsoft, Adobe and SAP. This new partnership heralds some great growth opportunities for brands in leveraging data from within platforms such as Marketo (marketing automation), CRM (Microsoft dynamics) and ad-tech (Linkedin – which is owned by microsoft) and SAP (enterprise tech). By converging these worlds, we go a long way in trying to build a single customer view, and the fuller story we have around how our customers are experiencing our touchpoints as brands, the more we can hack, grow and optimise it.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of the most valuable company in the world (Microsoft) shared the following insights in a keynote…

  • If you want to succeed you need to be in a learning mindset
  • Move from being know-it-alls to learn-it-alls
  • Intellectual curiosity – infuse the company and culture with constant intellectual curiosity
  • Tech intensity – taking world-class breakthroughs and instantly executing on something or some kind of service (start with something – worry about the rest later)
  • Take friction out of the process – allow people to collaborate

This piece was originally published on LinkedIn

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