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5 Content Marketing Disruptors From the 2013 Adobe Digital Marketing Summit

digital content marketing summitLast week, while my cohorts were at Content Marketing World Sydney, I had the pleasure of attending Adobe Summit 2013 where I had the opportunity to see featured speakers like Neil Bedwell of Coca-Cola, Salman Khan of the Khan Academy, and Adam Bain of Twitter. It was a compelling event hosted by a company that has made great strides in marketing technology.

Speakers and Adobe representatives had a whole lot to say about the state of digital marketing. Here are five of the most important takeaways. 

Big data is on fire. Predictive marketing is on the horizon.

Throughout the conference, the talk of the town was data — and for good reason.

Big data’s plethora of applications includes marketing, and tech vendors are taking the plunge. Data is what makes the gold standard of marketing execution possible: delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. It reveals the identity of unknown web visitors in real-time. And it tells us what’s working and, more often, what isn’t.

We can drill deeper into data, analyze larger quantities of it, and do all of this faster than ever before. Put it all together and you get a sturdy basis for predictive marketing.

Predictive marketing happens when you analyze large amounts of data to identify the audience segments you’re most likely to convert. eWeek explains the problem it solves:

…Traditionally marketers have relied on a cumbersome, time-consuming process that requires crunching large quantities of data over weeks or months to help them identify high-value audiences. The complexity and expense of this approach has led some marketers to bypass the use of data analysis altogether and end up defining audiences based on opinions or assumptions.

In essence, predictive marketing takes the guesswork out of finding the right audience for your content.

Why should content marketers care?

Brands that use predictive marketing will be light-years ahead of the crowd. It’s tough to win the attention of your audience when your competitor can predict who wants what and when they’re most receptive.

With predictive marketing, marketers can literally put a number on the value of each different piece of content. You can tailor your content to answer questions that you can actually prove your audience is asking. It makes experimentation so much more valuable, giving you the tools to create an explosive content marketing strategy.

Predictive marketing wasn’t the only data-driven disruptor at the event.

Twitter’s Bluefin Labs acquisition is mostly about data. Okay, maybe a little about multichannel engagement.

Just one month ago, Twitter announced it would acquire Bluefin Labs, an organization that mines data on what viewers say about television shows and companies. The acquisition was made with two areas in mind: data and multichannel engagement.

Adam Bain, Twitter’s president of global revenue, joined Federated Media’s John Battelle onstage for one of the keynote presentations, where he revealed that 400 million tweets flow through Twitter daily.

But he didn’t stop there. According to Bain:

  • On average, people follow six or more brands on Twitter.
  • Seeded by retailers, beta “sponsored tweet” ads sometimes saw as much as double-digit engagement percentages.
  • The same program registered an average 22 percent lift in brand recall among exposed users versus non-exposed users.

A strong analytical start, Twitter snagged Bluefin to help bolster its own data collection, a task that has fallen primarily to third-party developers.

But there were other reasons for the acquisition. Bain detailed the UK launch of the movie Prometheus, where tweets created after the first commercial break were featured in the next one as social proof in near real-time.

Why should content marketers care?

From a data perspective, Twitter will create a richer reporting experience for analyzing and optimizing native ads (a term Bain tried to distance himself from while discussing sponsored tweets). More content marketers can put Twitter to work for paid content promotion.

Looking at the acquisition through the Prometheus lens, Twitter is creating a stronger basis for multichannel engagement, embracing its natural link with television. Content marketers may have an easier time of connecting content campaigns to social media.

Speaking of channels, here comes a new device shake-up.

Tablets now top smartphones in global website traffic.

Tablet adoption is miniscule compared to how many of us own smartphones. But tablet owners are doing a lot more web browsing on their devices than the rest of us.

According to Adobe Digital Index, tablet browsing has a 1 percent advantage on smartphones in terms of global website traffic — tablets with an 8 percent share and mobile devices with 7 percent. The information came from analyzing a staggering 100 billion visits to 1,000+ websites worldwide.

Perhaps even more impressive is the tablet’s average spend per order. Tablets beat out average mobile order size by 54 percent. What’s even more impressive is that tablets surpassed the average order size for desktop/laptop users by 19 percent!

Why should content marketers care?

The rise of the tablet, coupled with disruptive technology like Google Glass, means we’re developing content for a host of presentation styles. This reinforces the dire need for marketers to keep content free and flexible.

A strong system for managing content is important here. It makes a great case for responsive design or a software platform that doesn’t require much effort to design for different devices on the fly.

Let’s take a step back for a second. Did your jaw drop at Adobe’s ability to analyze 100 billion website visits? This is partly thanks to its market share. Now, the company also has the technology.

Adobe’s products offer more than just PDF creation and doctored photographs of Michael Jordan and me high-fiving.

As it turns out, Adobe has one of the most comprehensive marketing software suites available on the market. In fact, over the past 18 months, Adobe spent $2.5 billion acquiring marketing technology.

The Adobe Marketing Cloud is composed of five main products: Analytics, Target, Social, Experience Manager and Media Optimizer. The solutions work together to ease how marketing teams complement each other across the enterprise. (It isn’t limited to the enterprise, though it looks like that’s where it plays nicest.)

Experience Manager is the tool that’s most relevant to content marketers, including a simple publisher that lets anyone in the organization upload content without fussing over formatting, layout, and other pesky details. It works together with other tools in the suite to measure campaigns across all of your distribution channels.

And it’s very, very intuitive.

Why should content marketers care?

The landscape of digital marketing is undergoing vast change. At the Summit, enterprise marketers testified about working in silos — how social, content, brand, and product marketing and PR teams work independently, discouraging a sharing culture.

Adobe Marketing Cloud attempts to address the communication problem between communications teams. Specialized vendors — your organization may work with dozens — are afraid to talk about these problems. In the age of big data, you must adapt or fall behind. And that’s why…

Marketers must start looking at the bigger picture, but as the sum of its parts.

Marketing functions in silos because that’s the way it has grown up. And it’s only become more complex since communications went digital.

These silos created one of marketing’s greatest contemporary challenges: How do we connect every piece of marketing across the enterprise? How do we share resources and information in a way that allows us to be consistent to our brand?

We must be able to see the bigger picture, whether we’re creating content or defining the direction of the brand.

Why should content marketers care?

When we create content, we must consider how it will impact other marketers with other responsibilities within the organization. At the same time, we can’t be afraid to ask what our colleagues can do for us. This requires communication and collaboration. But it also requires the tools that make them easy.

Content marketing is important, but it’s only part of the equation. We must find ways to share insights and encourage collaboration across marketing teams.

Were you there?

Did you make it to the Adobe Summit? Share with us what you learned in the comments.