BARCELONA, Spain—Brands are expected to spend up to $43 billion on mar tech this year and as competition between vendors in the space heats up, Adobe has unveiled its latest wares after its $1.7 billion purchase of Magento.
The latest announcement comes soon after the revelation of its $4.75 billion purchase of Marketo, with updates to the Adobe Experience Cloud geared towards making “every moment shoppable” now that it has integrated the Magento Commerce Cloud.
Among the highlights of the new-look offering are payment partnerships with ecommerce giants Amazon, Google Merchant Center and PayPal, audience engagement features available through Magento’s Progressive Web Applications Studio and an easier to use content editor called PageBuilder.
Fundamentally this means the software giant can offer large enterprises and small-to-medium sized businesses a full suite of marketing services, including advertising, content personalization, measurement and now ecommerce capabilities, via the Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe revealed the marketing cloud updates at the annual Magento Live, Europe conference—its first as an Adobe company—where ironically the rain clouds gathered overhead and delayed proceedings as water seeped into the conference venue.
Former Magento CEO Mark Lavelle, and now Adobe, svp of commerce (pictured above, top-right) said the integration is “about doing things as part of Adobe that we could not have imagined doing ourselves” adding that the pairing “is about opening our platform to innovation.”
He said, “It’s about winning the customer journey, which is now an inherently digitally-driven event these days. Digital transformation is an imperative of our age that every brand and every business has to be serious about … execution is critical every step of the way, especially at that moment where the customer wants to buy.”
‘Preserving the status quo is not a business strategy’
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen later joined Lavelle on stage where he outlined the strategic thinking of the addition of ecommerce to Adobe Experience Cloud, adding that acquiring new capabilities is necessary to keep pace with technological change.
Narayen further outlined the positional thinking–one that is underpinned by the philosophy that “preserving the status quo is not a business strategy”–when it comes to Adobe’s marketing services offering.
“Around 2007, what we found was that while our mission [to change the world through digital experiences] remained just as relevant as ever before, and everything was changing–we saw the cloud start to emerge, we saw mobile start to emerge and the amount of content that people were creating was just absolutely exploding–but our business was not exploding with it.”
Since then, Narayen has embarked on a journey that helped transform Adobe from a company that sold creative tools, such as InDesign, into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) giant it is today, with a suite of marketing tools underpinned by data analytics that has “unshackled” its growth.
Subscriptions to its services are now “mission critical” to multiple tiers of the media industry–Adobe Experience Cloud revenue grew by 24 percent in 2017 to surpass $2 billion–whereas a decade ago this was not the case said Narayen.
“That was the genesis of it … the first thing we said was that data was going to be more important … so we said let’s make data our friend,” he said citing the renowned John Wanamaker quote about advertising wastage.
The addition of monetization tools to Adobe’s marketing cloud suite is the ultimate measurement tool, as it gives marketers, media agencies and publishers a more direct and tangible means of assessing the ROI of their input, according to Narayen.
All clients great and small
Integrating, or indeed acquiring, such capabilities has been on Adobe’s list of priorities for some years but the particular appeal of Magento, which boasts a client base as diverse as SMBs to a roster of household brands such as Jaguar to Pernod Richard, was its ability to deal with large and small alike.
Narayen added, “They [acquisition targets or partners] need to have the spectrum of dealing with your normal SMB, mid-market territory or large enterprises,” he added.
Although not specifically referencing his company’s pending purchase of business-to-business mar-tech specialist Marketo—the largest in its history—he went on to outline the importance in such competencies play in Adobe’s decision making when it comes to choosing partners. Prior to taking interest in acquiring Magento, and later Marketo, Adobe underestimated the intricacies required to support the wider marketing and ecommerce fulfillment process, according to Narayen.
Those with a ready-made ecosystem to help fulfill order and content management for both physical and digital goods are crucial to remaining ahead of the curve, he added. “You need to find somebody who can do it for reserving hotel rooms as much as for shipping all of the great brands [that are] shipping goods.”
Adobe Experience Cloud now manages more than 233 trillion data transactions and $141 billion in online sales transactions annually, Narayen said during his talk.
He went on to tell attendees that brands, and technology providers, that those who provide dynamic, measurable marketing interventions to both large and small customers will succeed. “Moore’s Law [about the exponential growth in software] used to be about how computing power is changing. But I think the new game in town is how the experience curve is changing,” said Narayen.
“And if you don’t step-up to help people with that experience curve and how they can engage with their customers [you’re behind].”