What’s On

Adobe Summit diary: Day one of busy-ness

By its own admission, Adobe Summit 2019 is the largest Summit till date. Adobe Summit, the company’s annual event in Las Vegas kicked off on March 26. Planned as a three-day event this year as well, the Summit this year has upwards of 17000 delegates. But that is not the only thing that makes it the ‘biggest yet’. The scale of Summit and Adobe’s own offers too are at an all-time high – all of which was reflected in the various components of the event – the mainstage, the community pavilion which is the exhibition floor in layman terms and the breakout sessions.

The event was on full swing by 7 AM, and the morning was dedicated to all that was new at Adobe, and all that Adobe thought was important for businesses to compete in the fast-changing digital landscape and a consumer who had lesser and lesser tolerance for bad experiences.

Adobe was ready with over six different announcements – each of which aiming to make more difference to businesses in achieving their outcomes. This was no surprise though especially given Adobe’s busy 2018 with a slew of partnerships with likes of Microsoft and SAP towards data initiatives, the infusion of ‘content’ defined somewhat differently though in Adobe’s context and then the acquisitions that allowed it to enter the commerce space.

Data, content and commerce, were three pillars that most of the changes revolved around.

Adobe is pushing its focus on experience further, which makes it an interesting watch in more ways than one. Two years ago, it sounded like the logical step when it had introduced ‘experience’ in its narrative. CEO Shantanu Narayen’s words were as clear in 2017 that people buy experiences, not products, as it was in 2019 when he reiterated this behavior. Last year, Adobe had focused on Experience Makers, which was more about everyone in the company — marketing, technology, data and so on — who had a role to play in contributing to creating customer experiences. This year it is all about the experience management.

Adobe suite of services and products have looked to integrate right from data collection enabling real time hydration of profiles to single view of the consumer, applying intelligence (say Sensei) and then giving actionable insights and solutions.

While Adobe does appear high on the Magento acquisition, making its Commerce Cloud the youngest in its offer, it does not take away from the fact that it would be field where it would face extreme competition. Unlike some of the other solutions, where Adobe is absolute market leader and commands a price to go with it, the Commerce Cloud journey will not be easy by any means despite Magento’s impressive customer portfolio and USD 155B GMV through its platform.

Marketo’s inclusion in the Marketing Cloud has made for an interesting new buzzword from Adobe – Business to Everything (B2E). B2E essentially means larger than B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) and rightly identifies some blurring lines in B2C and B2B marketers, but that again is a proposition which would need significant work to be more than a buzzword.

If the mainstage was serious and kept the grey cells working, the Community Pavillion brought in some fun and a softer aspect to the event. The FQ Lounge, a champion for gender equality in the workplace, has made its way to Summit this year. The Female Quotient CEO, Shelley Zalis, hosted a slew of discussions on women in the workplace, portrayal in media, the right attitude for leadership and so on. ‘Flip the script’, Zalis said, adding that money and power are just as important word for women professionals as they are for their male counterparts. Replace ‘bossy’ with assertive or leader, replace ‘introvert’ with thoughtful or selective, make ‘feminism’ stand for more, all in adding diversity to problem solving.

The Pavillion are also playing home to the likes of WPP, Dentsu Aegis Network and Publicis Sapient this year.
Read more on what ad companies are doing at tech forums in the next edition of Summit Diary. Till then, it is attend, listen, write, eat, sleep, repeat for the next two days — looking forward to all of it.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.