This morning, I was a part of a rather remarkable group – an Advertising Week panel hosted by Wired focused on insiders’ predictions and views of the future. To quote the panel’s synopsis, we focused on “What will be the hottest areas of opportunity – and the biggest challenges – looking at the year ahead”.

When preparing for the panel, I reflected on this past year – one in which I joined the Adobe Digital Marketing group from Efficient Frontier, which Adobe acquired. As Adobe’s influence in digital marketing grows, I am excited about our vision on where things are headed and how we can shape the evolution of the industry.

 

 

The future of digital marketing is really dependent on the agencies, publishers and marketers all working together and breaking down silos.  Out of necessity, these groups will need to collaborate – from the start and on every campaign.  There needs to be more focus on the overall success of a campaign or brand instead of any one channel publisher or product.

To that point, the session first touched on what is the next big thing in social advertising.  Some of my fellow panelists from Linked In and BuzzFeed highlighted content creation, which is inextricably linked to social. Also the power of leveraging the social graph is tremendous. For example, when it’s your friend promoting a particular Nike running shoe, as a fellow runner, I’m much more likely to pay attention. In every new medium, everyone wants to put it in a box of another medium, and social is no exception.  So, expecting the same results as search or broadcast sets the medium up to fail. It’s about leveraging the unique attributes that drives results.

The question that everyone is still trying to answer is how you measure the effectiveness of social.  My personal belief is data is the common currency across search, display and social. One must view this holistically to understand how they all work go together to maximize results. The path to conversion and how the channels all work together is key. It’s all about the media mix, and, as importantly, how one attributes the conversion to each medium.  With Adobe’s technology, this is now possible.  The real challenge is more organizational within companies, as many are still siloed between channels.  Leaders at the top of marketing organizations want to see the holistic picture and ultimately need to organize internally to align goals.

The next topic the panel covered was mobile. The explosion of consumer use of smart phones and tablets has quickly led to marketers needing to think of mobile in new ways.  It’s important that marketers don’t just repurpose Web solutions and mirror consumer behavior.  Marketers need to adapt their message for when and how people are consuming content.  The smartphone message and format needs to be different than the tablet experience, which is different from the web experience.  The marketers that understand this today and are executing on it have a leg up.

The final topic we discussed was the fragmentation in the market – with more and more content available from publishers as well as more and more options for marketers to reach potential customers.  This is the sweet spot for Adobe.  Our platform enables publishers to create the best digital experiences possible and marketers to build the most effective marketing experiences.

Brands that can create engagement experiences are incredibly powerful.  However, equal effort needs to be applied to minimizing brands getting the experience wrong.  An un-targeted, un-solicited message can ultimately really damage a brand. The use of data and real-time optimization can help mitigate this risk.

Overall, it was a great session with key people from various aspects of publishing, creative and technology parts of marketing.  I look forward to continuing the conversation as the industry evolves.

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