July 31, 2015 ↘︎

Why you need to invest in your people if you’re investing in Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Adobe Symposium in Sydney this year was big business. Big tech, big job titles, big personalities and some very clever people. Adobe invests a lot into this event, and as a fellow Tweeter so affably put it, as we sat amongst the stage lighting and motivational music, we’re clearly ‘drinking the Adobe Kool-Aid’.

But putting all the shiny stuff aside, Adobe really does have a lot to brag about.

Boasting a suite of 8 products, Adobe Marketing Cloud enables brands to gain a 360° view of the customer. With tools so they know what to say, where to say it and how to tweak their message to get maximum bang for buck on their marketing dollar, brands can deliver on seamless, personalised, omni-channel experiences.

‘Digital transformation’– like shifting a mountain with a teaspoon for big brands.

While there are brands making some headway using Adobe Marketing Cloud in this space, notably Australia Post, Fairfax New Zealand and Starwood Hotels, the most overwhelming juxtaposition here is the sheer amount of cultural, leadership, and process change these shiny new tech tools will demand of organisations.

3 things brands should know.

For anyone thinking about investing in AMC (Adobe Marketing Cloud) I’ve put together my three key takeouts from the Symposium:

1. Get your house in order.

As Australia Post can attest, the journey to digital transformation and personalisation is long and slow.

Arduous but completely necessary work like getting DTM in place, cleaning up analytic libraries and building trust for data internally are the agonisingly slow foundational pieces that must be tackled.

And when a personalised experience is finally delivered it can be far from the dazzling one promised in the product demo.

2. Invest in new digital skill sets.

AMC promises to take the IT team out of the equation, but what it actually does is open up a hefty amount of new skill sets required to run it.

Practitioners must be trained – AMC is complex software and it demands a fairly high aptitude to get the most out of it. Digital marketers that are able to juggle analytic thinking along with the creative nous to pull together assets within a platform will be your best candidates to upskill.

3. Be prepared to completely rethink your digital marketing processes.

For some organisations where processes are already under strain – Adobe Marketing Cloud (and personalisation in general) will force organisations to entirely rethink the way they approach ‘campaigns’.

It’s no longer about manageable campaigns with a start and end date and a handful of audience segments. It’s now about always-on, triggered campaigns based on customer lifecycle and touchpoints with the brand. Resulting in a dizzying number of execution possibilities.

Figuring out the internal processes that are able to deliver on this kind of capability can be mind-blowing – particularly for large organisations where there is the potential for hundreds of staff to be involved.

Keeping the vision in check.

When these kinds of products are sold to c-level board members, there is a danger of unmatched expectations of what can be done in theory and what is realistic given legacy systems, processes and lagging skill-sets.

While I have no doubt that the Adobe Marketing Cloud is the answer to many organisations’ data and technology woes (even if Australian retailers are lagging behind), my advice to anyone considering any of the truly amazing tools that Adobe has to offer is to be realistic about what’s possible in the first one, two, three years after purchase – and set clear expectations to the board.

An investment in Adobe Marketing Cloud demands a matched investment in your people.

It’s easy to be bedazzled by Adobe Marketing Cloud’s clear competence to deliver on rising consumer expectations in digital, but without serious investment in bringing your people and the processes that are required to run them up to speed – the technology will fall flat.

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