Luckily, when you work in tech, in a year’s time there are about fifty million new advances and developments, so we have our learning cut out for us at this year’s Summit.
Over at the Cosmopolitan, we had ourselves a little pre-Summit welcome reception so we could connect with our colleagues from across the globe, meet new friends, and catch up on all the exciting things happening with our Adobe alliance. But we didn’t have toooo much fun, because on Day One, you have to bring your A-game, and only amateurs go out hard on the first night. And this is our EIGHTH YEAR as a Diamond Sponsor of Adobe Summit, so we like to think we know what we’re doing. Also, we are shining examples for others, and need to behave as such.
And by rumble, we mean literally rumble, because (not shockingly at all) Adobe has some serious skillz in the graphics game, so the Day One General Session opener, is, as always, a literal audio-visual ASSAULT on the senses. It’s kind of like if you shrunk down into a mini marble-sized human and got dropped in a pinball machine being played by someone with a never-ending supply of quarters.
Post-sensory overload, we were greeted by Adobe’s rockstar CEO, Shantanu Narayen, who always looks like he casually addresses 17,000 people on the reg and it’s just another Tuesday for him. And yes – SEVENTEEN THOUSAND. That’s 5,000 more than last year. We’re attributing the jump in attendance to the major FOMO people experience from reading this blog, but it COULD also be because Adobe is a major player in the experience business and now works with pretty much everyone in the universe.
Shantanu, ever the consummate host, opened with a reminder that Adobe’s mission is to change the world through digital experiences. And that these powerful experiences will change the way we think, interact, and relate to the world around us. They believe, fundamentally, that people buy experiences, not products. And we are one hundred percent on board with this, which is why we love our Adobe alliance because we kind of share the same brain. We agree with Shantanu that you have to be laser focused on the customer experience – but because people buy experiences and not products, at Deloitte Digital, we put our focus on the HUMAN experience—because people are more than just customers. Customers want products, but humans want experiences. We are really vibing with Shantanu right now and hoping we can hang out later to talk more about everything we have in common.
Shantanu then brought on stage Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, who talked about how Best Buy revamped and reinvented their business model by putting the customer experience first, and at every touchpoint. By taking price off the table and refreshing the customer journey, from web to media to employees in-store, they built their competitive advantage so that they can continue to enrich lives through technology. We’re loving this story, and can confirm 100% that our lives have been enriched immeasurably by the 65” LED TV we got from Best Buy that brings “Game of Thrones” into our living room season after unbearably long season.
Did you know? Adobe made two MAJOR acquisitions since our last Summit and the first, Magento, paved the way for the first big launch news of the morning. We love a good product launch and Adobe’s new Commerce Cloud is part of Experience Cloud. What is it? It’s essentially a fully managed cloud-based version of the Magento digital commerce platform that is fully integrated with the rest of Adobe’s tools, including its Analytics Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Advertising Cloud. Why is this a big deal? Because owning the digital customer journey isn’t easy. But when you can apply real-time insights along the way, you can manage, personalize and optimize the commerce experience across every touchpoint, creating a seamless customer journey that enhances business outcomes. According to Jason Woosley, VP of Commerce Product & Platform for Adobe’s Experience Business, their goal is to make “every purchase memorable, and every experience shoppable.” 10/10 would use Commerce Cloud.
Do you like content? And data? And driving business results? Probably not as much as Steve Lucas, SVP of Digital Experience and head of Marketo at Adobe. There has never, maybe in all of history, been anyone that excited on a Tuesday morning to talk about anything at all. He was, in his words, “super-pumped” to be there and welcomed us all to “…Adobe Summit… the Woodstock of marketing, without the drugs”. By his own admission, Steve was running on a steady stream of caffeine and Red Bull, and we were in awe of his enthusiasm. Steve talked about how, with Magento and Marketo, the power of the Experience Cloud extends way beyond B2C. It’s the convergence of B2B and B2C bringing us to B2E—the Business to Everyone revolution. Viva la Experience!
We needed to take it down a notch after the energy of Steve, so next up, the decidedly more chill CIOs of Intuit and Adobe, Atticus Tysen and Cynthia Stoddard, respectively, sat down for a fireside chat (sans actual fire, because danger) to discuss how the right data infrastructure is critical to understanding the customer journey. Understanding the customer journey isn’t just for CMOs anymore – CIOs have to work in tandem with CMOs to manage data and insights. True digital transformation requires executive buy-in and cross-functional collaboration, and CIOs and CMOs need to work together to enact change. We predict this CIO-CMO collab is going to be a bigger game changer than Adidas and Yeezy.
It’s not easy, but actually we are talking about an entirely different kind of platform – the new Experience Platform from Adobe. Anjul Bhabrhi, VP of Platform Engineering, introduced this new platform that will deliver rich, relevant experiences with an integrated real-time customer experience profile. How does it work, you ask? It stitches together data from across the enterprise, enabling real-time customer profiles and leveraging Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence and machine learning. Then it activates content based on customer profiles to deliver personalized experiences in real time. This is a serious game-changer for the customer experience, and as we heard Shantanu tell us earlier – companies need to be maniacally-focused on the customer experience. As usual, Adobe is walking the walk and talking the talk.
We love our Adobe alliance, and we also love our ServiceNow alliance, and so this is like a successful Tinder match for the ages, because we got to watch today as president and CEO of ServiceNow, John Donahoe, announced their partnership with Adobe to empower brands with an industry-first solution for stitching together Adobe customer experience data and customer data, to provide seamless digital workflows and personalized customer experiences across all touchpoints. SO ROMANTIC, RIGHT?? We hope these two lovebirds are in it for the long haul, and not just friends with benefits.
Adobe CTO and Summit vet Abhay Parasnis was joined onstage by SunTrust CMO Susan Johnson to discuss how digital is disrupting financial institutions intelligence to reach people creatively. Similarly to what we’ve heard previously, Johnson said that the synergy between CMOs and CIOs cannot be overstated. There’s an immense amount of data, and IT teams can help marketers determine what’s actionable. This is another matchup we’re going to watch closely.
This is big: Adobe announced a partnership with Roku to offer Adobe customers the ability to precisely target the large consumer audience moving to over-the-top service (OTT). Marketers using Adobe Advertising Cloud, Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Analytics can now target their first-party audience segments on the Roku platform. With a seamless activation for programmatic ad buying and access to Roku ad inventory, marketers can better scale their campaigns, manage frequency and more effectively measure success on OTT. Given that the majority of our downtime is dedicated to streaming shows, we may or may not be a prime target for this.
New this year! We’ve teamed with Adobe and The Female Quotient, an organization dedicated to advancing equality in the workplace, to bring The FQ Lounge to Adobe Summit. We’ve got a huge space on the floor of the Community Pavilion, and are hosting a variety of panels on topics ranging from inclusive leadership to how women are portrayed in advertising. We also have headshots, a Wellness Garden, and oh yes, snacks. For our first panel of Summit, we heard from Courtney Harwood, CMO of Xerox, Christie Raymond, SVP Marketing and Personalization, Kohl’s; and Angel Hollis Vaccaro, principal and leader of the HUX practice at Deloitte Digital. They discussed the top traits needed to be a better leader at work, and shared tips to embody a new definition of leadership. We would work for any and all of these amazing leaders.
Over in the session rooms, we had our very own Brice Chan and Stephen Kim, Senior Director at CIBC, presenting to a packed house. CIBC, a leading Canadian bank, has optimized its personalization approach through the full Adobe Experience Cloud paired with machine learning to predict and optimize value for its clients, and we were lucky enough to work with them to do so. Orchestration through design, delivery, and measurement of personalized experiences at scale demands a holistic approach that goes beyond just having the right technology. You also need the right team, and we’ve got that with CIBC.
We hurried back over to The FQ Lounge to catch Deloitte’s Michelle Griesman and Adobe’s VP of Digital Imaging, Maria Yap, chatting with The FQ’S CEO, Shelley Zalis, about how women are represented in visuals in society. They play an important role in how women see themselves, and are a clear reflection of how society thinks of women in general. We loved what Maria had to say on the topic: “We are a social culture - what we see informs how society feels about us. When we stop calling attention to movies like Black Panther or Crazy Rich Asians and saying, “oh look, they did it!” and these films register as normal, then we will have made real progress.” We could not agree more.
We had time to squeeze in one more panel in The FQ Lounge before the opening reception, so we caught Heidi Arkinstall, CMO of Global Brands at Logitech, our Chief Creative Officer, Alan Schulman, and Katie Juran, Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion at Adobe talking about how recent movements have caused a seismic shift in society and influenced how men and women work together. This panel focused on how men and women need to rewrite the rules together and transform workplace culture. We think it’s about time.
Adobe Summit Day 1 Recap Video
Not to brag, but we will anyway. Every year we are more and more impressed with ourselves. Our booth is, once again, the showstopper on the floor. More incredible eye-catching design (looking at you, Nicole Stormer), tons of demos and fun people. There were so many attendees in there having meetings, getting demos, and just hanging out with us in general that if our booth was a house party, the cops would be shutting it down. During the opening reception, Shantanu himself descended from the rafters into our booth to take pictures with our team and congratulate us on a job well done. Okay, he actually just walked over, but it was still pretty exciting.
We can do a lot of things at Deloitte Digital, from strategy to implementation to creative, but one of our other talents is throwing great parties. Over at Tao, the DD team and our clients danced the night away, and were treated to a performance by iLuminate, a dance company based on the fusion of technology and dance. Named “the best new act in America” on America’s Got Talent, dancers in electrified glow-in-the-dark suits perform dynamic routines to music. It was definitely a sight to see and we stayed up way past our bedtimes, so we’re calling it a night so we can be back for more tomorrow.