When you work in marketing—in par­tic­u­lar digital—it’s easy to get lost in all the trans­for­ma­tion hap­pen­ing within our busi­nesses. We’re at the cen­ter of it—the dis­rup­tions around mobile, the crit­i­cal mass of social, bil­lions of dol­lars in adver­tis­ing shift­ing to dig­i­tal. And, so our real­ity is one of fac­ing a new set of seri­ous chal­lenges every­day. The ques­tion is, “How?”

The answer to this ques­tion was at the cen­ter of Tuesday’s Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Sym­po­sium in New York. This half-day event held at the part art gallery, part hotel, Con­rad NYC, was attended by over 300 dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing senior lead­ers pri­mar­ily rep­re­sent­ing the media and enter­tain­ment and finan­cial ser­vices indus­tries. The theme was the “Trans­for­ma­tion of Mar­ket­ing” and fea­tured lead­ers from SAP, Mas­ter­Card, Condé Nast and oth­ers shar­ing how they are lead­ing the change that is hap­pen­ing in their businesses.

Matt Langie, Adobe’s Sr. Direc­tor of Mar­ket­ing for Mar­ket­ing Cloud kicked off the event and broke down five strate­gic imper­a­tives for mar­keters as they attempt to meet the chal­lenge of transformation:

  1.  Be a data guru. With all the infor­ma­tion you have avail­able at your fin­ger­tips it’s not so much about hav­ing all the data, but tak­ing action­able knowl­edge from the right data.
  2. Always be test­ing. While you think you may know what’s best for your web­site, test your hypoth­e­sis. Are those really the right col­ors and images? Does that but­ton have the right call to action? Immo­bi­lize HiP­POs (the High­est Paid Person’s Opin­ions) and let data decide.
  3. Go dig­i­tal. Your cus­tomers are immers­ing them­selves ever more in dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences. Con­sider the rel­e­vant ways to reach your con­sumer via dig­i­tal that you haven’t yet, and explore them. The exer­cise may sur­prise you. Many brands (not just pub­lish­ers) are look­ing to dig­i­tal mag­a­zines, more dynamic mobile expe­ri­ences and apps.
  4. Social is really about rela­tion­ships. We’ve embraced social plat­forms for the way they con­nect us, whether it’s via our inter­ests, pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tions or oth­er­wise. Make your rela­tion­ships with your cus­tomers about these connections—and not just about you. Then, pair your efforts with good old fash­ioned data and mea­sure­ment, because that’s what will give you insight to make those rela­tion­ships thrive.
  5. Think super chan­nel. What’s the big­ger pic­ture? Think in terms of audi­ences instead of bud­gets and chan­nels. As mar­keters, we can get tun­nel vision and stop see­ing the full view. By think­ing in terms of audi­ences we’re bet­ter able to see and meet the full spec­trum of our customer’s needs, and pro­vide expe­ri­ences that bet­ter meet them.

Join­ing Langie were Crispin Sheri­dan from SAP, Adam Broit­man from Mas­ter­Card and Chris Reynolds from Condé Nast. Sheri­dan shared the for­mula for how SAP has insti­tu­tion­al­ized test­ing to improve they way they do busi­ness.  One exam­ple: SAP saw a 46% improve­ment in con­ver­sion rate by mak­ing a seem­ingly inno­cent switch from pic­tograms to pho­tographs. Guess it’s finally time to rethink that homepage.

Broit­man dis­cussed MasterCard’s effort to ensure the cus­tomer is at the cen­ter of every­thing they do. With inspi­ra­tion com­ing from MasterCard’s global Price­less cam­paign, he out­lined how his team oper­a­tional­ized a uni­fied global brand voice in social media using Adobe Social.

Reynolds broke down Condé Nast’s strat­egy for devel­op­ing and using audi­ence seg­ments to deliver a best-in-class expe­ri­ence to their cus­tomers. Reynolds sug­gested that it’s Condé Nast’s under­stand­ing of their cus­tomers through data that sets them apart from their com­pe­ti­tion. Reynolds said that the more he and his team lever­age the all the tools they have in tan­dem (dis­clo­sure: Condé Nast are a cus­tomer of Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud), the bet­ter, and more use­ful the data and insights become.

Dur­ing the break­outs, atten­dees dove into dis­cus­sions with lead­ers within their respec­tive indus­tries through guided dis­cus­sions and panels.

To close the event, the audi­ence was deliv­ered some “shots of awe” from futur­ist and film­maker, Jason Silva. Silva com­ple­mented the prac­ti­cal knowl­edge of the day with his unique form of inspi­ra­tion aimed at help­ing atten­dees think big, cre­ate ideas and deliver awe to their cus­tomers. One of the short films he shared, cap­tured this sen­ti­ment in a style only Jason can deliver:

Through­out the day, atten­dees fol­low­ing #AdobeSym­po­sium on Twit­ter chron­i­cled all of the best sound­bites and quota­bles, some of which is high­lighted below: