Adobe Summit 2014 - Day 1 & 2

Adobe Summit 2014 - Day 1 & 2


The eight edition of the Adobe Summit EMEA concluded on Thursday 15th May, making it the largest digital marketing event of the year, with almost 4,000 in attendance from 47 countries and almost 100 breakout sessions over the two days. Needless to say, it was a huge success! This year’s theme was the reinvention (and evolution) of marketing, a theme that ran throughout the main keynote sessions.

The two Summit days were packed with lots of information and valuable insights, but I’ll do my best to summarise it all, starting with Day 1.

Day 1

The Reinvention of Marketing

Day 1 started with the opening keynote, aptly entitled “The Reinvention of Marketing”, hosted by Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Summit host Brad Rencher. They discussed the importance of creativity in marketing, the need for a “marketing reboot”, and the steps needed to do so.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Customer behaviour has changed, and so should marketing to match it. While more people are moving to digital transactions, it’s worth noting, as Brad Rencher pointed out, that every analogue interaction has a digital footprint. Unfortunately, not all businesses have been able to keep up with it all - customer behaviour, real-time marketing, being able to link various digital points to better target your existing (and potential) customers.
  • Adobe had to go through a similar process too, reimagining their entire business, moving from selling Photoshop in boxes to delivering a whole cloud-based solution through online subscriptions.
  • This calls for a change - a “reinvention of marketing”. The good news is that it is possible to keep up with this change and be part of this reinvention, but to do so you need to be a real-time enterprise, and to be a real-time enterprise you need to have interconnected systems that give you a unified view of all your customers. Luckily, Adobe is at the forefront of this “marketing revolution” with its Marketing Cloud. To better assist brands and marketers, Adobe have announced a new release of Adobe Media Optimiser with new predictive modelling capabilities. Some of the highlights in this update are:
    • Next-generation predictive modelling algorithms, helping marketers make the best use of search marketing metrics and other attributes;
    • Unified campaign analysis, to have a complete view of your campaigns, thanks to the integration of search engine metrics and website engagement data being passed between Adobe Analytics and Media Optimiser;
    • Extended audience reach, allowing marketers to efficiently manage and optimise remarketing lists for Google search ads. With the new unified view, you’ll now be able to quickly identify high-value customers and deliver targeted messages;
    • Real-time campaign management, thanks to the fully revamped user interface that makes it a lot easier to set up, adjust, monitor, and optimise campaigns across multiple channels in real time. You’ll also be able to forecast your performance based on your budget and goals.
  • We also had a demo of real-time (and lightening fast) personalisation across multiple devices and I’m proud to say - it just works!
  • Special guests joined Brad Rencher, to give their personal experience of how they’ve adapted (and reinvented) their own marketing and digital strategy in order to keep up:
    • Mathieu Staat of L’Occitane, who spoke about personalised omni-channel customer experiences, and how they get a complete view of their customers through analytics and profiling;
    • Michael Aïdan of Danone Group, who spoke about digital transformation across 80 countries and 100,000 employees on board;
    • young entrepreneur Amber Atherton of My Flash Trash, who shared her amazing experience of how she got into business at age 9, and how she started My Flash Trash at just 16.

The reinvention of brands and marketers

While the morning was dedicated to the reinvention of marketing as a whole, the closing keynote of Day 1 was directly aimed at brands and marketers and how they too can “reinvent”. Mark Zablan, President of Adobe EMEA, talked on stage about this and gave his own definition of how marketers should see this “reinvention” process:

Mark was later joined on stage by special guests to explore how brands need to reinvent themselves to excel in the digital age:

  • Gaston Legorburu of SapientNitro, who spoke about how brands need to become mentors, as story-enablers, and talking about “storyscaping”, an approach taken by SapientNitro as a whole;
  • Jez Frampton of Interbrand, who spoke about the need to learn completely new skills as marketers to meet the changing market needs;
  • former professional BMXer turned actor Kurt Yaeger, who shared his inspirational and eye-opening life experience about how he was bold to reinvent himself.

Last but certainly not least, Ann Lewnes (Adobe CIO) and Gerri Martin-Flickinger (Adobe CMO) hosted a panel of industry experts to discuss the relationship between IT and Marketing today, with the help of:

  • Patrick Hoffstetter, Chief Digital Officer at Renault
  • Lucio Adrian Ruiz, Head Office Vatican Internet Office
  • David M. Cooperstein, VP, Research Director from Forrester

Summit Bash

Adobe Summits are also known for their great bashes, and they certainly didn’t disapppoint this time: this year’s theme was “Festival”, and we were joined by caravans, plenty of delicacies, and (surprisingly) bumpy cars. The night ended in style with Rudimental performing their hits from their latest album. Needless to say, Day 1 ended with a bang - but that was only the beginning…

Day 2

Adobe VP John Mellor kicked Day 2 off with a great comparison between the Adobe Summit and the “rise of the coffee houses” that led to the Age of Enlightenment in England around the 18th century. The Summit is not only a place for us to hear about the latest innovations in marketing, but it’s also a great space for marketers to talk amongst each other and share their experiences and come up with new ideas for the next “Age of Enlightenment” in digital marketing - starting now.

John also shared the results from the Adobe Maturity Self-Assessment Tool, a large study conducted by Adobe over the past few months around the maturity level of brands in the digital space. The results were presented with an explanation of the Digital Maturity Matrix, which assesses the performance of brands and companies in three areas: Products, People and Processes. Deficiencies were highlighted in different areas, such as mobility, sales assignment and knowledge, and that was a wake-up call for all marketers in attendance - what’s currently stopping you from evolving? (You can read more about the roadblocks that most marketers face here.)

We were then treated to some very interesting experiences from the keynote’s special guests:

  • Michael Acton Smith, founder of Moshi Monsters , a virtual world for children that makes use of “stealth education”. Michael had to reinvent himself and his business, taking advantage of mobile devices and other touch points.
  • Dr. David Cox, Chief Medical Officer of Headspace, an online platform dedicated to “meditation for modern living” using mobile devices to be present in the lives of its followers.
  • Justin Coghlan, co-founder of Movember, an 8-year old movement that reinvents itself every year through social media.

We also heard from Paolo Yuvenico of DigitalsLBi and Aldo Agostinelli of Sky Italia on how data and technology “changed the game” for them.


The day ended with a sneak peek at the latest developments from Adobe Labs. Hosted by Adobe's Steve Hammond and the hilarious David Schneider (yes, THE David Schneider), we were treated with bad jokes…

…some insights on David’s life/work balance (which some of us can certainly relate to)…

…and a few sneak peeks into what Adobe might introduce in its Marketing Cloud in the (near?) future.

I have to say, I’m quite impressed by what Adobe has been working on - from new features to tweaks, big and small, to improve the Marketing Cloud.

One feature I’m extremely happy about is a seemingly small one but very relevant to me - an update to the sentiment analysis in Adobe Social and the introuction of Robert Plutchik’s “wheel of emotion” within the platform, to show the underlining emotions behind the three main sentiments (positive, neutral, and negative).

I’m very particular about sentiment analysis, as I’ve already spoken (and written) at lengths about it, so I’m really happy to see Adobe take it up another notch to make this already excellent platform even better.

Now, Adobe Summit may be over for this year, but this is definitely not the end. So, until next year’s Adobe Summit, keep evolving!

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