As I mentioned in my last blog post, the time I spent in the desert with Adobe at the sales conference was incredibly valuable. As the best of breed digital platform, three key themes resonated with me and want to take the opportunity to delve a little deeper into the benefits of the adobe partnership and how it impacts the work we do for clients.
One of the first things I learned is that Adobe has grown tremendously over the past few years and has really cemented its place as the leader in digital content creation and marketing. What was made equally clear is that Adobe’s stable of world-class partners has been instrumental to Adobe’s success. In fact, joint engagements between Adobe and its partners were brought up numerous times as examples of customer successes. This was true across verticals (e.g., Retail, Media, and Financial) and Adobe solutions (Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud). Based on what I saw at the Worldwide Sales Conference, I expect Adobe will continue to engage with its digital agency and systems integration partners throughout 2014 and well into the future.
The second theme centered on the tremendous growth of digital marketing and the importance of creating a compelling and personalized customer experience. Marketers know that every interaction between a business and a customer is a marketing opportunity and a chance to drive revenue. The challenge is that customers control how, when and where they will interact with companies. In fact, customers use a multitude of channels (web, mobile, social, video) and devices (tablet, phone, computer) to engage with businesses. This creates a significant challenge for marketers to determine how and when to engage clients within each of these channels and provide a compelling reason for the customer to take the next step forward in the sales cycle. Adobe’s response to this was clear: Brands interested in driving significant revenue through digital channels must deliver the right message, to the right channel, at the right time. Creating this type of customer engagement requires a well-defined strategy and an enterprise-grade platform with deep solutions capabilities.
The final theme– which ran throughout the duration of the conference – was that Adobe’s strategy, vision, and product platforms – Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud – have made it possible for businesses to deliver the digital experiences that clients expect. First, I want to segue to a little history lesson that provides context to Adobe’s approach to digital marketing.
Adobe has a deep heritage in digital content creation solutions (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc). Legions of digital marketers have been using Adobe’s creative products to generate extremely rich and engaging digital content for many years. The challenge for those marketers was twofold: how to manage all of that content and how to get that content to their customers. Thus, the strategy and vision of Marketing Cloud was born.
The vision for Marketing Cloud was to provide marketers with one location to manage, publish, and analyze the content they were creating. The first strategic step towards the creation of Marketing Cloud was focused on organic product development and/or acquisition of market-leading content management, analytics, mobile, social, customer segmentation, media optimization, and marketing campaign orchestration solutions. The second step of the process involved seamless interoperability between the Marketing Cloud systems and the creation of a Touch Interface to manage everything. This provided marketers with a singular and actionable view of the customer and a singular interface for the management of all marketing processes and activities. The final step for Adobe was to integrate the full suite of solutions from Creative Cloud to Marketing Cloud. This created a unified content creation, management, and publishing system that covered the full marketing lifecycle. Adobe’s strategy and subsequent cloud-based platforms provide end-to-end solutions for creative and digital marketers. By having the right tools in place, marketers can deliver on their vision: to provide the right message, to the right person at the right time.
This conference offered an outstanding opportunity to learn more about Adobe’s business, their solutions offerings, and also engage with key members of teams. I came away from the conference with a fuller understanding of Adobe’s sales and product strategies along with their key value propositions and differentiators from others in their space. I’m excited to see how Adobe’s latest acquisition of Neolane – now Adobe Campaign – will help to orchestrate successful online and offline marketing campaigns designed to drive increased revenue for our clients. Based on the Adobe Campaign sessions I attended and the conversations I’ve had with clients since then, I anticipate tremendous success for this solution.
Facebook has been hailed and maligned at the same time for its advertisement features. On one hand, Facebook ads promise to reach large, targeted audiences with your message. On the other hand, Facebook ad reach is a black box that only Facebook controls. In a previous post, Why Facebook is Failing Marketers, my colleague Michael Porter wrote about Facebook ads reaching only 16% of a company’s fans.
I don’t know if the New Facebook Campaign Structure that Facebook is rolling out will address the complaints, but it will make it easier to manage Facebook campaigns and ads. Existing ads in Facebook are organized into Campaigns. This two level structure has made it difficult manage campaigns and measure performance.
In the new structure, Campaigns organize Ad Sets which organize Ads. This three level hierarchy makes it easier to target ads to different users and then measure specific results in a campaign. For example, you can create a separate campaign for each of your marketing goals or objectives. If you want to increase brand awareness, that can be a distinct campaign from the campaign to increase revenues. Each campaign can have its own tactics, budgets, and measurements.
Within each Campaign, you can segment your audience by using Ad Sets. So you can create a ad set for 18-25 year olds, another for 25-35 and so on. Each Ad Set can have its own schedule and budget on Facebook. This makes it easier to focus resources on those segments that may be most beneficial to your campaign.
Within each Ad Set you have various Ads. Ads work the same way they do today. However, now you can see how you can create a specific Ad for 18-25 year olds versus the other segments, all within the same campaign.
You can measure results at any of the three levels – Campaign, Ad Set or Ad. If you want to see how a particular ad is doing in the 18-25 year old Ad Set, you can now get that data and make adjustments as needed.
Hopefully these changes will allow marketers to have more control over their Facebook campaigns. These changes are being rolled out over the next few weeks and will be available worldwide.
IBM has a fantastic explainer video this succiently explains what a connected knowledge worker (to borrow from the late Peter Drucker) is. Check it out.
In mid-December, I attended the Adobe Worldwide Sales Conference in Las Vegas. It’s a time when Adobe invites its entire sales organization – along with Adobe’s key partners – to discuss the past year’s performance, celebrate the major sales successes, and layout the company’s sales and product strategies for the next year.
As Forrester & Gartner’s leader in Web Content Management, Adobe certainly has much to discuss and no lack of thought leadership within the Digital Marketing arena. However, what I found truly compelling about the conference was the level of transparency Adobe provides to its partners. Partners have full access to all sales and product sessions and are very deeply engaged with the Adobe team. This level of accessibility allows for tremendous learning opportunities for partners like Perficient. Here’s a peek into the top three themes that I learned from my 4 days in the desert with Adobe.
Adobe has created the market-leading, best-of-breed digital marketing platform while simultaneously helping their clients deliver a deep set of capabilities and engage their customers with “the right message, to the right channel, at the right time”. In the coming weeks, I’ll be continuing to blog about my Adobe experience and provide more details and context around these themes.
Tom Wentworth at CMSWiRE has a short but very interesting article on collaboration between the Chief Marketing Office and the Chief Information Officer. He engages you at the beginning with the reasons why the two roles are blurring. I personally know of one CIO who also wears the CMO hat.
…today’s marketers have a required skillset that often overlaps with that of the CIO, who has traditionally managed and maintained a company’s IT infrastructure. For that reason, CMOs are becoming integral decision makers when it comes to buying and operating a company’s technology assets.
He then goes on to describe the three ways the two can collaborate. I’ll list the three ways but notice how they describe what a progressive CIO should have been doing in years past.
I’ve ranted a couple times about the gaping hole that is database in the cloud. I say that not because I don’t like Azure’s cloud service in SQL Server or Amazon’s db service. I say it because on premise solutions that run on a database don’t have an easy way to migrate to the cloud without putting up a machine image to be the database. That’s a waste of resource and a waste of money. It also makes it harder and more expensive to achieve high availability in the cloud.
Anything that helps any software vendor get closer to using their portal or web content tools in the cloud is a good. So while my take is very niche oriented, I like that IBM bought Cloudant.
Anyway, CRN has an article on the acquisition.
The deal, revealed Monday for an undisclosed sum, will allow IBM and developers to more easily create mobile and web apps, the company said. With the acquisition, IBM expands its commitment to develop the NoSQL framework and CouchDB. Previously, IBM had focused on MongoDB as a standard for next-generation web and mobile applications.
Cloudant’s DBaaS runs on IBM’s recently acquired SoftLayer cloud platform, but also runs on competitors’ platforms, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace and Microsoft’s Windows Azure. Cloudant had made a name for itself developing a new generation of NoSQL databases that don’t require fixed table schemas, which challenged the dominance of traditional relational databases (including the popular MySQL). They include Cassandra, MongoDB and the Apache Software Foundation’s CouchDB.
Note that it already runs on Softlayer. The easy to manage infrastructure in Softlayer combined with a soon to be db standard in Cloudant make it easier for products like IBM WebSphere Portal and IBM WCM to hit the cloud in a cost efficient manner.
Thanks for John Spyers for pointing this out to me. I’ve heard a lot lately about the “contextual” experience. By that I mean, an up to the minute completely personalized experience based on more than just what a company knows about you. Now you can take into account all of the usual items like how good a customer they are, do they have a shipment on the way, and did they just call customer service. You can add to that things like, where are they and do they have a reservation. Where are they depends on mobile technology usually. iOS engineer Andrew Frederick answers the question on the difference between beacons and geofencing.
Here’s the really short version:
Geofencing – use of GPS to determine where you are. It’s useful and can pinpoint you pretty well but can be really tough on battery life
Beacons – use of low power bluetooth and a small “beacon” at a particular location. When you come within 50 feet of that beacon signal, your phone can react to it.
So I’m not the cloud guy within Perficient but let’s face it, everything I see within my portal, web content, social, and marketing automation world has some cloud component. Let me give you some examples:
This front end world is relatively quickly becoming a cloud based world. It’s not all SaaS. IaaS and PaaS have plays here. That brings me to my question posed in the title, what does Softlayer mean for IBM. I think that in the short term, it mean some pain for IBM and it’s partner channel of which Perficient is a part. That said, of course there’s confusion, cloud is changing rapidly and IBM recently acquired a company that now must be reconciled with a previous cloud offering in SmartCloud.
In doing some basic research, I found the following which I think shed some light on the subject.
Everywhere I go I find a variety of quotes on this. I spoke recently to one of our partners who told me they intend to move at least part of their cloud services to Softlayer. He said that yes it’s expensive but the tools to manage everything within that IaaS world are really easy to use.
One article at CRN says this:
SoftLayer’s automation platform, on the other hand, enables businesses to marry speed and simplicity and attracts the kind of young companies IBM wants — game makers, Database-as-a-Service companies and born-in-the cloud app makers.
“IBM needs to be high-speed, low-drag. That’s what the market wants. SmartCloud just didn’t deliver on that front. But before I get too excited about SoftLayer, partners need to know where IBM is headed with the platform. We want to add value but don’t want to get burned down the road when SoftLayer rolls out similar services,” said Champion Solutions’ Pyle.
I also found a number of reviews which highlight ease of use, nimbleness, and reliability. So it seems that while Softlayer has focused on the infrastructure as a service side and doesn’t offer as much additional services as other competitors, it’s still a fantastic start.
Softlayer is easy to use and I have no doubt IBM will pile commerce, web content, portal, and a host of other tools on it. It will become the baseline for all on-premise tools IBM needs to migrate to the cloud. It will take years but the agility provided makes it a lot easier compared to the old SmartCloud offering
You hate to say it because the entire technology industry views itself as a dispassionate base that makes rational decisions on what’s best for the business…………but I’ve been around too long and seen too many decisions to move or buy systems based on what you would ultimately call the coolness factor. Back when IBM acquired Softlayer, Gigaom came out with an interesting article that highlights it.
- SoftLayer caters to younger, smaller, cooler companies — game makers, database-as-a-service companies including Slideshare, Kixeye, SendGrid and Cloudant. IBM SmartCloud customers tend to be, well existing IBM customers — enterprises. Will culture shock result?
- IBM has been a loud proponent of OpenStack since joining the OpenStack Foundation last year. SoftLayer offers an OpenStack Swift-based storage option but has strong allegiances with Citrix, which backs the CloudStack open source effort. So what happens there?
- Will the new division start building or acquiring additional new services to compete with AWS and to attempt to lock customers in, as AWS does with its higher-level services?
I think that the long term implications of this will allow IBM to better compete in the marketplace and no one has any illusions on how competitive this space will be with IBM, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft deeply in the mix…..with a whole host of other players.
As anyone who has followed the Digital Marketing world knows, Oracle bought Eloqua, Responsys, and Compendium. They all form the Oracle Marketing cloud although they haven’t gone through a lot of integration. Oracle announced some information on the alignment of product release cycles and other updates. PC World has an article about it.
Oracle is trying to differentiate itself from the pack on a number of fronts, according to Stetic. One is the “openness of our platform,” he said.
Oracle will make it purposely easy for companies to build integrations between the Marketing Cloud and other data sources or enterprise applications, Stetic added.
In addition, Oracle’s tools can give companies “the most complete view of the customer,” with advanced collection of attributes and their online behavior, he said.
In addition, Market Watch has a little more info straight from a press release about the enhanced Oracle Eloqua enhancements and there are quite a few including deeper Oracle Social integration.
– Extending its commitment to helping CMOs and their global marketing
teams optimize the customer experience and execute marketing campaigns
that have a measurable impact on revenue, Oracle today introduced new
functionality and enhancements to Oracle Eloqua.
– With the latest release of Oracle Eloqua, marketers can deliver more
meaningful engagement and experiences than ever before by integrating
data sources to build a complete and actionable view of customers.
– The enhancements support key marketing initiatives, including content
marketing and social relationship management, by empowering marketers
to deliver targeted and dynamic content in emails, blogs, social media
sites and landing pages.
– To help further optimize the performance of marketing campaigns, the
latest release of Oracle Eloqua also includes Revenue Dashboards that
provide clear and actionable visibility into marketing’s impact on
revenue and customer responses.
– Oracle Eloqua is the only solution that enables marketers to manage
campaigns with owned, earned and paid media objectives in a single
Integrated Marketing Automation, Content Marketing and Social Relationship Management
– The latest release extends Oracle Eloqua’s support for modern
marketing by introducing the following new features and enhancements:
– New content marketing applications
– Enhance collaboration, delivery and measurement of content
– Allow marketers to quickly create, score and publish highly
relevant and targeted content, optimizing organic search for
improved lead and customer acquisition.
– An integrated calendar app enables Oracle Eloqua campaigns to
be viewed on a master calendar alongside content marketing
campaigns and scheduled content delivery.
– Help marketers design persona-specific content that can be
reused across marketing channels though dynamic insert of the
right content for the right person
– Simplified email wizard and reporting
– Streamlines the development, execution and reporting of one
off email campaigns like announcements, special newsletters
and limited-time offers.
– Guided email configuration with infographic-style email
reporting and easy scheduling with options to extend
deployment and select time windows.
– Automatically includes referenced landing pages/forms into
campaigns for reporting and tracking engagement and
– Visual dashboards that demonstrate marketing ROI
– Revenue dashboards demonstrate marketing’s impact on revenue
by providing detailed insights into opportunity velocity,
pipeline value, marketing reach and campaign ROI metrics.
– Visualization capabilities for CMOs and C-suite peers provide
actionable insights into marketing’s performance and customer
– Dashboards empower executives to report by product, campaign
and region and also provide the ability to drill into
performance metrics to diagnose revenue cycle inefficiencies.
– Enhanced Oracle Eloqua AppCloud development capabilities
– Help Oracle Eloqua AppCloud partners streamline app
development, testing, deployment, management and usage
– Provides new APIs that allow raw activity data to be extracted
in bulk at scale.
– Make it easier and faster for marketers to select and manage
apps from a new central app catalog.
– Streamline the development, testing and tracking of
– Increased language support
– Interfaces now come in French, German, Brazilian Portuguese
and Spanish so marketers in global marketing teams can work in
their native languages.
– Improves team collaboration and performance with more familiar
interfaces, while also empowering modern marketers across
cultural and global team roles.
– Improves productivity by setting localization by browser
– Expanded integrations with Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Social
– Enables marketers to manage and improve customer experiences
across the customer lifecycle.
– Oracle Sales Cloud integration improves field mapping and
– Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) integration
enables marketers to publish landing pages to social media and
enhance the Universal Customer Profile with engagement data
from social channels.