Adobe CEO: CMOs can better predict future of business than finance counterparts

Adobe executives explain how the software giant is trying to connect consumers with brands through digital marketing down to "the last millisecond."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SALT LAKE CITY -- In the midst of the digital age, Adobe's strategy for optimized digital experiences and marketing boils down trying to connect brands with consumers until "the last millisecond."

Speaking during the opening keynote of the 2013 Adobe Summit on Tuesday morning, Adobe senior vice president Brad Rencher explained that digital marketers have the responsibility to "deliver the right experience this time, the next time, and the next time."

See also: Adobe taps consumer social media trends for Marketing Cloud revamp

Continuing on, Rencher asserted that each experience is preceded by an action, whether it's visiting a website or a simple swipe on a touchscreen.

"The conversation has now elevated to a CEO or even boardroom-level conversation," Rencher remarked.

Using ESPN as an example, Rencher traced the sports channel's multi-channel approach from simple push notifications on mobile devices for score updates to streaming games on the Xbox.

Rencher emphasized that these are "actions we have to be aware of" because customers want things their way, suggesting that the only way to deliver that is to understand those actions and execute based on them.

With the emergence of big data, Rencher posited that marketers being asked to do "more with more." That means more data, audiences, experts, frameworks, devices, and pressure.

Rencher acknowledged that the hard thing for digital marketers is that it's getting harder to keep up with consumers' current demands of having everything their way, anywhere and anytime.

"The more we focus on how fast everything is going, the more we're going to miss what's really important," Rencher continued, answering what is important is the individual and the individual's needs.

Rencher cited that the 2013 expo is another "record-breaking year" for the conference with over 5,000 people in the keynote audience. He was especially keen that there are over 18,000 titles represented, including a "digital taxonomist" and a "content czar."

Nevertheless, Rencher stressed that -- much like other tech trends causing shifts in the enterprise world -- the content coming out of the Adobe Summit is relevant to leaders beyond chief marketing officers too.

"The conversation has now elevated to a CEO or even boardroom-level conversation," Rencher remarked.
Nevertheless, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayan argued that CMOs are in a better position than financial experts to predict the future of their businesses.
Narayen outlined that there are "three clear marketing mandates" that are going to be "paramount in the years to come."

"You have to go to your customers, or they won't come to you," Narayen warned.

Those are engaging customers everywhere in every possible use case (from smartphones to cars), embracing "rocket science" (or trusting that data analytics can change business decisions in real-time), and connecting the dots to enable organizational changes that need to happen within "every company" to keep up with technological changes and shifts.
For the Creative Cloud business, for example, Narayan described that the dots here were figuring out how many people visited the site, then signed up for accounts, and were then converted into customers.
Narayen warned, "You have to go to your customers, or they won't come to you."

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