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.