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Adobe Summit 2016

From 10 to 12 May 2016 I had the opportunity to attend the sixth Summit Adobe, which is held annually in London

During the last few year the Summit revolved around the fact that traffic from mobile devices continues to grow and will soon overtake desktop. And this year it simply happened again. The debate eventually became pointless, and there were no longer need to emphasize, that mobile devices in fact overtake desktop. For me, surprisingly, there was also a substantial decline in number of topics about Social Media. Either the topic has become a matter of course and dissolved among other marketing activities, or the subject were simply marginalized, because it does not have  a sufficient priority among clients of Adobe.


In 2015 Adobe consolidated their forces and mainly the conceptual settlement of products into three basic cloud was in the spotlight (Creative, Marketing and Document Cloud). Furthermore, the exclusion of partial shared components (content elements, audience, tag management, access and sharing) into a unified platform. That pleased rather technically oriented participants like myself, because these actions are meant to improve the overall integration of Adobe products.

Previous editions of the Summit has always had a strong line, which connected the main program in the stop

This year Adobe returned again to this concept and topic of the Adobe Summit 2016 became the term “Experience Business”. The main keynote of the day was featured again by Brad Rencher (Executive vice president and general manager, Digital Marketing Business, Adobe), who introduced unifying themes by a brief excursion into history. According to him, two major upheavals has changed the technology in businesses so far. The first of these took place most visibly in the sixties and it was “Back Office Wave” – a wave of introducing ERP systems that enabled companies to increase the efficiency of internal operation. In the nineties there was a rise of the “Front Office Wave” – the advent of technology in the field of CRM, which brought companies the effective management of the business cycle and the relationship with customers.

Both of these waves have brought companies the key competitive advantage, which gradually faded, as these technologies became easily accessible to the whole market. Another wave is therefore, according to Adobe, “Experience Business Wave” – wave, which allows companies to micromanage every interaction of customers with their own (but not only) digital channels. The ultimate goal of such software is to get to know the customer, to respect his needs and preferences, to communicate with him consistently across all channels, leave the technology invisible somewhere in the background and try to excite the customer at every moment.

Secondary plotline

What also emerged from the keynotes of first day is the fact, that within Adobe there is apparently runs a very intensive debate about their own brand and market position. Until this year you could feel an internal battle with the perception of the brand Adobe, especially as a supplier of two key products – PDF and Photoshop (+ Creative Suite). This year, however, they were able to turn that historical burden into a very strong statement, whose wording had a considerable influence of branding bible of Marty Neumeier “The Brand Gap”.

“Adobe is the only company offering the tools to produce professional content as well as tools that enable businesses to deliver personalized experience through its contents.”

The mantra was later used in various forms throughout the whole summit, and it is necessary to admit that it is to a great extent true. At least, I myself really do not know another company, whose offer would be even comparable.

Adobes’ market position is well illustrated by the following summary of placement in Gartner and Forrester research in various areas of digital marketing.

Adobe Leadership in Digital Marketing

The most noticeable INNOVATION

In addition to the ongoing quest for deeper integration of Adobe solutions, the most noticeable progress was in the field of Data Science. Apart from commonly functioning functions such as automatic content tagging with labels describing its contents, detection of anomalies with analysis of major contributors we have seen within demo-demonstrations were, for example, automated recommendations of most clickable words in headlines by e-mailings.

Data Science in Adobe Marketing Cloud


As a consultant I am always pleased, when somebody helps to raise awareness of the procedures and organizational issues and can emphasize assumptions, without which the projects in this area are failing. That’s why I am a big fan of the initiative of the Digital Marketing Maturity Self-Assessment Tool and how Adobe promotes it. At the same time it always complements Summit with insights into the aggregated data of clients and comparisons on how are “Best of the Best” doing (though they never published algorithms by which these leaders were chosen) compared to the rest of the market. These tools also enhanced by Adobe and then used in marketing, so the market incentives to use these procedures (regardless of used instruments) to improve customer service continues to grow satisfactorily.


Although the program was traditionally full of demos, that are entirely fictional and are designed rather to suggest concepts or ways of thinking, you could feel, that the emphasis on real examples of using Adobe’s technologies continues to grow. This is seen mainly on how many clients presented their achievements together during keynotes (introductory inspirational lectures) and during further targeted breakout sessions (more technically narrow entries, that run in parallel lines on various topics from analysts, through testing and personalization, to the mobile marketing and advertising).

The very first day we were amazed by the study of The Royal Bank of Scotland, where Giles Richardson (Head of Analytics at RBS) presented profound organizational change, which the bank has had and which were realized thanks to the Adobe technology. I can say that quite a few representatives of the IT departments of banks at least on the Czech market would fall into a swoon, because Giles code-named “Superstar DJs” presented the way that the bank allowed the ordinary employees of the Product Department and customer support to utilize the tools of Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Target to change production web content themselves and to evaluate their changes through alternative tests. Results of changes are shown in the following figure.

RBS Testing

Other demonstrations during keynotes stressed the interconnection of the digital and physical world. When as a part of another demo the Tesla slid onto the stage from the ceiling, there was a strong feeling, that this was made for a bit of wow-effect, but the subsequent example of the functioning of the drive-thru of the Dunkin ‘Donuts connected through the smart cars panel simply makes sense.

Adobe Summit Tesla

Just as an example of adaptive physical storefront, which connects with the mobile device of the visitor and which equips him with a powerful tool for tracing product details, comparisons of technical parameters and very simple ways to pay without waiting in line at the checkout.


After this dose of inspiration, accompanied by lots of other findings from Breakout Sessions and informal conversations during the conference, I once again fell like doing projects built on Adobe technology. Because according to the adaptation of Moore’s Law to digital marketing: “Customer expectations will double every eighteen months.”

To read more pieces from the summit, I recommend #AdobeSummit hashtag on Twitter or you can watch all the videos from the Summit online.

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