Thoughts on the 2012 Adobe Digital Marketing Summit

For the third year running, I attended the EMEA Adobe Summit and I wanted to share my thoughts on what I felt was worth highlighting, please do let me know your thoughts too by commenting! I have broken this article down in 4 main parts. The first part describes the themes that stood out this year, the second part briefly highlights one of the new Discover 3 product features, the third part is about a web analytics heroes session and the last part is on one of the keynote sessions which was not about digital but which I thought was excellent…

How this year’s Summit themes reflected new consumer trends, the propensity to become more scientific and more precise:
I was comparing this year’s Summit agenda with the past two years’ (I do tend to keep things…) and it became obvious that there were 3 new topics that were taking a lot of space in this year’s Summit: Mobile, Predictive Analytics and Personalization.
-Mobile: don’t’ worry, obviously this was not around the fact that this year was going to be the year of mobile (I think we have all heard this every week for the past 5 years)…Mobile was one of the topics a lot of sessions were dedicated to, in fact it was one of the five main agenda themes. I personally did not attend the mobile sessions but I could not help but think about one of the key reasons why mobile was so big this year and I think it must have something to do with the launch of the digital wallet which is likely to shake things around very soon.
-The other theme that was very present throughout the whole day was predictive analytics. Again, this is certainly not a new sphere but it seems as if the industry is really trying to get a little bit more scientific when it comes to forecasting marketing spend and returns. The Efficient Frontier acquisition by Adobe is a very good sign of this shift.
-Personalization (not segmentation): this is also a theme that was largely talked about during the Summit. One of my favorite sessions was a debate on whether there was a conflict between personalization and privacy. I think what made this session very content “rich” was the diversity of the panel. It was lead by Martha Lane Cox who is one of the Last Minute co-founders and who is now, amongst other things, leading Go On UK. Martha started the debate on a very personal note by telling us about her very serious car accident and how the Internet helped her throughout her journey to recovery to stay connected with friends, family and life. The other people present on that debate were Andre Germinet from Credit Agricole (a French bank), his perspective was very interesting and unexpected, being a banker. To him, there could be a true social benefit in banks having access to more banking related consumer data and in banks being able to offer more personalized services. For example, if banks were more aware of individuals financial circumstances they could be in a better position to help and prevent some of these individuals’ financial situations from getting worse. David Dean from the Boston Consulting Group shared some really interesting statistics. The first number was the fact that when asked how much the Internet was worth to them, private individuals estimated this number to be around £5,000 a year; this number would be obviously a lot more for businesses. The other stat he shared with us was on the healthcare industry and on how it could save up to 30% by having greater access to healthcare related consumer data. Martha and Meme Jacobs who is the Adobe Chief privacy officer both felt that the future of the Internet was all about personalization. Everyone in the panel was in favor of personalization when Dave Evans from the ICO had a more cautious view and felt that more partnerships were needed between industries and consumers with the purpose of providing either more transparency or more value or both. So really interesting debate and to answer the initial question on the existence or not of a conflict between personalization and privacy, well, it’s all about context…

Discover 3 new product features
The other session I enjoyed was on Discover 3. To me, the feature which stood out was sequential reporting: you can now build funnels with multiple types of variables. For example, you can start your funnel with an evar followed by another evar followed by a product view event and then followed by an open cart even; as opposed to having to build your funnel on one type of variable only such as page names for example.

Web analytics kung-fu or web analytics as its best
I also really enjoyed this session as all the points tackled during this discussion were challenges that I have come across multiple times as a practitioner and it is always great to hear that some of the best in the industry do go through the same things!
Eric Crossfield from John Lewis insisted on the fact that ongoing communication on what the purpose of web analytics is is key as well as building trust with the people who will ultimately act on your findings. Adam Greco did a really good Site Catalyst exercise. He asked the crowd how many considered themselves not knowledgeable, good, very good and experts at Site Catalyst. He then asked the people who considered themselves to be experts to answer a very precise Site Catalyst question. No one was able to come up with the answer; I thought Adam’s demonstration was really powerful: knowing your web analytics tool is extremely important and you can never get too comfortable. I have personally always felt very strongly about the necessity of training people properly on web analytics platforms. Unfortunately this aspect is too often neglected in my opinion. As Adam pointed out, too often people will end up blaming the tool if they can’t find the answer to a specific question when in actual fact, the reason why they are not coming up with the answer is because they don’t know the tool sufficiently…
Brent Dykes, talked about the “from set up land to action land journey”. In my opinion this is a very long journey indeed. The technical implementation, the testing of the implementation and training a team can take months if resources are limited; consequently, action land seems like a long way away but luckily analytics as a function is slowly but surely making it to the top so I am confident that this set up land to action land process is going to become smoother as investments in analytics increase.

Last but not least Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post gave a speech on what shall I say?… Life? Unfortunately, this is one of these brilliant sessions where you had to be there to appreciate it truly as my words won’t do her speech any justice. Arianna did not talk about digital or analytics or anything else we digital people do every day and My God that was refreshing! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job as a digital analytics consultant, I am passionate about marketing etc etc…But sometimes as individuals, it is hard to find the time to read or listen to something completely different because time is always limited. Arianna’s speech was genuine, intelligent, out of the ordinary and yet simple. Thank you Adobe for inviting speakers like this because this is truly inspirational.

Please, as usual let me know your thoughts, if you were there, let me know what you thought too and if not let me know what your views are on the topics described above.
Thanks for reading!

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