The Adobe Summit recently took place from March 24-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I was happy to serve on the panel for a track called “Winning in Retail: How Can You Do It All?” In this presentation, key Adobe leaders and retail execs discussed how understanding your retail customers and their goals, along with understanding your own company’s goals, can help your retail brand stay ahead in the constantly evolving retail market.

In this presentation, my colleagues and I disclosed some of our personal secrets regarding bidding on specific search terms among hundreds of thousands of SKUs, among other helpful hints. Because the retail market is full of so many products (some of which are very similar in nature), it can be difficult to stand out amongst the crowd, so it’s important to follow a few basic rules.

When determining correct ROI, for example, it’s key to keep a strict time management plan. I suggest that about 20 percent of your time should be spent on keyword updates optimization, with 20 percent allocated to ad copy updates and optimization, 10 percent toward new opportunities and account innovation, 25 percent to reporting/analysis, 15 percent to account maintenance, and the final 10 percent to portfolio/ campaign budget optimization.

Here are a few other key comments/suggestions from the presentation:

  • Let bidding technology do its job.
  • Understand which products drive your revenue.
  • Know that PLAs performance for every brand/site is different.
  • Understand your goals and customers.
  • Don’t let specific keyword searches land on a generic landing page.
  • Make PLAs and landing pages a seamless experience.
  • Combine user and product data to make recommendations.
  • Think audiences, not just keywords.
  • Optimize to customer value, not just conversions.
  • Personalize journeys for different kinds of customers.
  • Use audience data to enhance search and display through retargeting.

I hope that you found this track helpful and informative if you were in attendance. And if you weren’t, I encourage you to take a deeper dive into the suggestions listed above. Although retail can be a tricky segment in which to execute search and marketing campaigns, it is possible to rise above the large amount of e-commerce “noise” and make your brand known.

My thanks to Jonathan Beeston, Adobe’s Director, New Product Innovation, EMEA; Gil Cayabyab, VP of Marketing at; David Chen, Grainger’s Senior Manager, Search Engine Marketing; and Obie Poasa, US SEM Manager at Columbia Sportswear for their participation and contributions during the “Winning in Retail” panel discussion.

Our time together at Adobe Summit was limited, and I’m sure there were many questions that were never asked. I and any of my colleagues would love to hear from you. Email me,  If you have a question for one of my fellow panelists, and I can put you in touch with them as well.