There is always a reason to not go to a conference. We are all so busy working to hit our goals, drive ARR, and move our businesses forward that it somehow always feels a bit optional. The demands that you feel are no different than those that I feel in always having another portfolio project to drive or figuring out how to bring another initiative over the finish line at Insight.
That being said, I am always pleasantly surprised by the value of getting out of the office and engaging at a conference. Taking the time to learn something new or gain perspective of changes in the marketing landscape is always a good use of time. I also believe that it is part of our job in the Marketing COE to be as up-to-date as possible on the issues impacting (or likely to in the future impact) our portfolio companies’ marketing leaders.
It was the first time that I had journeyed to Las Vegas to attend the Adobe Summit. It was also a special year for Adobe since the acquisition of Marketo was folded into the mix. Bottom line: there are a few key takeaways that every Insight Marketing leader should understand.
Marketo and Adobe Marketing Cloud are being integrated
The reason for the Marketo acquisition by Adobe was simple. Adobe wanted an entry point into B2B mid-market that Marketo owned. Yet, it is also clear that Marketo will become more integrated into the Adobe Marketing Cloud and that there will be more cross-pollination of functionality between the two products. For example, look for Marketo to include some basic Photoshop functionality to become native to the product. After the Vista ownership, Adobe is clearly putting some real money into development. There is work to be done on the integration, but I believe that in the next year, we will see some new robust functionality included in both products as a result of the combination.
Adobe and Microsoft are taking on Salesforce
Look no further than the keynote session featuring both Shantanu Narayen (Adobe President and CEO) and Satya Nadella (CEO Microsoft). Adobe is all about customer experience management (CXM) and they believe that by teaming up with Microsoft, they can work with the largest organizations to “transform business through the power of customer experience.” The two demoed how integrating the infrastructure from Microsoft Dynamics (if you think Dynamics is just a CRM, then you haven’t been paying attention. This is Microsoft’s ERP platform.) with the customer insights from Adobe that you can delight customers with an outstanding experience. These two companies are clearly positioning themselves to provide a competitive solution to Salesforce’s offerings. It will be interesting to see how the battle between theses tech behemoths plays out.
Intent and ABM will be a key component of your demand gen
Intent marketing was all the rage at the Adobe Summit. The tradeshow floor had a variety of intent providers including Mintigo, Lattice, and Radius. I attended an interesting session entitled, “Time, Love, and Intent Data – a killer recipe for demand gen” that was delivered by Mike Madeen, Head of Commercial Demand Generation at Marketo, which opened the kimono on how Marketo is using intent data to drive its business. Now, you need to recognize the seminal shift in Marketo from focusing on the lead (volume and velocity play) to account based demands a new strategy. He showed how they are leveraging Bombora data to create a “surge” score on a topic and direct the MAP capabilities. It works like this: each Sunday evening, they get a weekly update from Bombora of intent data on their key topics. If an account show that an intent threshold is met, email activity is driven through Marketo to leads at an account that fit the buyer profile based on a “topic cluster.” It has been super effective for them. Stay tuned, this is going to be a key capability that all marketers will need to begin leveraging.
In summary, the next time that you have an opportunity to attend a marketing conference, make some time. It is never easy, but it can be an investment with strong ROI. Remember, if you aren’t moving your business forward, you might find yourself left behind.