The annual Part­ner Brief­ing at Adobe Sum­mit EMEA was a great suc­cess in Lon­don this week. With more than 350 part­ners in atten­dance, I had the plea­sure of kick­ing off the event. It is an excit­ing time to be an agency, but only for those in dig­i­tal. Adobe’s Matt Thomp­son, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of world­wide field oper­a­tions, fol­lowed my remarks and added that he’s “incred­i­bly excited about 2014; both the role part­ners play in Adobe’s growth and the role Adobe will play in grow­ing our part­ners’ busi­nesses.”  The bot­tom line is, part­ners are a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of Adobe’s go-to-market model and Adobe’s growth is tied to the work we do with our great partners.

John Mel­lor, vice pres­i­dent of strat­egy and busi­ness devel­op­ment at Adobe, set the stage for what key mes­sages part­ners could expect to hear at Summit—namely, the par­a­digm of rein­vent­ing mar­ket­ing and how cus­tomer adap­ta­tion is dri­ving a huge amount of change.  “It is like a rev­o­lu­tion. It’s a time for oppor­tu­nity and high inno­va­tion,” Mel­lor said. Matt Langie, senior direc­tor of prod­uct mar­ket­ing for Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud, demoed the new Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Matu­rity Assess­ment, a remark­able tool that allows mar­ket­ing direc­tors and deci­sion mak­ers to iden­tify their orga­ni­za­tions’ strengths and areas for improve­ment. Our guest speaker, Tim Waters, PhD and prin­ci­pal ana­lyst at Dig­i­tal Clar­ity Group, spoke about the impor­tance of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence man­age­ment and “the CEM imper­a­tive,” stat­ing, “CEM isn’t the next big thing, it’s the next only thing.”

Indus­try hot top­ics pre­sented by Adobe exec­u­tives included Big Data, per­son­al­iza­tion, mobile, and social. The remain­der of the brief­ing focused on part­ner pro­grams and the resources avail­able for part­ners to help grow their businesses. Mark Zablan, pres­i­dent of Adobe EMEA sales, along­side Peter Ford, direc­tor of Adobe EMEA part­ner sales, con­tin­ued to show­case Adobe’s com­mit­ment to part­ners with the pre­sen­ta­tion of Adobe’s annual Part­ner Awards. This year, Adobe named Accen­ture Inter­ac­tive as EMEA Part­ner of the Year, and rec­og­nized three addi­tional part­ners for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion: CGI, Cog­nifide, and ecx​.io.

Shan­tanu Narayen, Adobe’s pres­i­dent and CEO, con­cluded the event by rein­forc­ing Adobe’s grat­i­tude and com­mit­ment to its part­ners, and he empha­sized the under­stand­ing that suc­cess in this com­pet­i­tive indus­try can­not be achieved with­out great partners.

We wrapped up this fun and infor­ma­tive day with a net­work­ing recep­tion with the EMEA direct sales organization. Our part­ners left with the tools they need to go out, be suc­cess­ful with their cus­tomers, and main­tain a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage in the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing landscape. Next stop for the Adobe Part­ner Briefing—Australia and Singapore.