We already know of Adobe as the creative mastermind that gave us numerous design tools that make designing on computer so easy. Now they have created a product which can take care of all your marketing woes.
The thought process must have started sometime back, but the first step that Adobe took in the direction of becoming a marketing solutions company was in 2009. On October 23, 2009, Adobe acquired Omniture Inc for $1.8 billion, thus getting under its wing web analytics, measurement and optimization technologies. Next it acquired Day Software in 2010 to strengthen its web content management, digital asset management and social collaboration offerings. It acquired Neolane in 2013 to help build its campaign management capabilities. Taking one step at a time, Adobe thus built its next gen tool that will help the organization grow in the coming years.
The Adobe Marketing Cloud (AMC) officially entered the market in 2012 and since then has worked with Experian, ‘The Economist’, Symantec, Sony and Lenovo among others. One of the first movers in the digital marketing cloud space, Adobe is aggressively talking to CMOs across brands to explain the utility of the product and get them to try it.
They recently conducted an event in Mumbai where about 50 CMOs got an in depth understanding of AMC and the difference it can make to the business. At the event we caught up with Suresh Vittal Kotha, who joined Adobe as VP, Marketing Strategy, through the company’s acquisition of Neolane, where he was the chief product officer.
Suresh spoke exclusively to YourStory about the plans for AMC in India.
Will AMC put ad agencies out of business?
Advertising agencies which have for long been partnering brands to help plan their media strategy may now have to compete with Adobe besides the other ad agencies which pitch for the client’s business. However, the probability of such a thing happening immediately is rare because clients and brands adopting technology with a minimum price point of $20,000 per annum looks difficult. And secondly, the training needed to work with the AMC platform will take some time.
Even Suresh vehemently denies the thought. “Advertising agencies are one key aspect across the ecosystem, they have access to CMOs, technology office, and they do a lot of media planning for brands. Therefore, they become key instruments in helping deploy and make brands successful to use the cloud. This is not just a technology channel; it’s a people, process, and organization design tool, which encourages creativity inside the organization. And to do this the entire marketing ecosystem has to be involved. It would be a fallacy to think it’s just a technology initiative,” explains Suresh.
AMC is already working with the who’s who in advertising, including Ogilvy, Publicis, WPP, and IPG etc. In some cases Adobe deals directly with the client, and in cases where the client says they have an agency if record , Adobe works with them for implementing AMC, says Suresh.
Market approach strategy
Adobe is talking to the C-suite at companies to sell AMC. AMC will not just be a tool for measuring digital outlay, but it will also help understand, measure and better plan advertising to be done through traditional channels. The wide spectrum of touch points that AMC will cover would include digital, TV, print, retail channels and even the company call centre, says Suresh.
While the ‘Adobe’ name does open doors that is not necessarily the final aim. With every organization under pressure to prove the worth of each dollar being invested in marketing, an investment in a solution like AMC is not an easy decision. Everyone from CMO, CFO, CIO and sometimes even the CEO is involved in decision making. “Marketers have to prove the worth of their investments, else they don’t get funding. And they in turn are willing to give us an opportunity to help them earn their business,” says Suresh about partnership strategies.
Decision makers differ from organization to organization, as well as from geography to geography. CMOs are big decision makers in the US, while in India they play the role of lead co-ordinator /influencer. CMOs are making the business case and influencing the organization to drive discussions forward. In telcos, Suresh says their first point of contact to discuss AMC is mostly the Chief Digital officer, who works for the CEO because he is mostly responsible for customer experience. “Marketing today is not just about the 4Ps. The CMO is the representative of the customer inside the boardroom and is speaking on behalf of the customer. It is part of their job to make sure that anything new in the organization is focused towards the customer as they are a big part of it,” says Suresh.
Adobe is not just focused on digital businesses, but Suresh admits digital businesses would find more utility for AMC than traditional businesses like FMCG. AMC comprises of six different solutions and customers can choose to opt for either one or more than one solution as per the need of their business. Adobe Campaigns is for planning campaigns across channels, and not just digital. Adobe analytics helps understand web analytics and cross level analytics. The Media Mix planning solution can assist CMOs decide where to deploy the marketing budget they have, which channels to use and how much to allocate.
AMC has the top 5 automotive companies in the world as its clients and are meeting brands across different sectors to onboard them. From India, MakeMyTrip is one of their first customers. Suresh says online brands and e-commerce brands will perhaps be the first ones to adopt the platform, because of the synergies between the two, but for brands from the traditional space the journey has just started.
At present, the US market is leading growth for AMC. However, APAC, AMEA, Middle East and North America hold equally promising potential, thinks Suresh. If North America is all about analytics, in APAC mobile rules the roost.
While AMC has plans to carve its own niche, how does it compare to Facebook and Google which already have an advantage of leading digital campaigns, analytics and measurement for brands. Suresh says AMC helps brands measure impact beyond Facebook and Google. “We are FB preferred partner and work with Google in many places. It is how the ecosystem is evolving. As a brand you have to consume data from many places as well as push out data to many places. We don’t go into a system thinking that everything in the system will be replaced with AMC. We recognize our clients and we have to fit into that. If you are only doing marketing on FB, then you don’t need AMC. But in my experience for a brand, FB is only one part of their strategy,” says Suresh.