Magazine article CRM Magazine

Adobe Reaches for the Peak: The Company Is Emerging as a Key Marketing Player, but Still Has a Way to Go before Competing with Top Brands

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Adobe Reaches for the Peak: The Company Is Emerging as a Key Marketing Player, but Still Has a Way to Go before Competing with Top Brands

Article excerpt

Known for setting the standard in creative design software and introducing the world to postscript, PhotoShop, and the PDF, Adobe Systems has a reputation for creating top-notch tools. But when the company set its sights on delivering state-of-the-art marketing technology, the industry's high expectations were, until recently, largely unmet.

When Rob Tarkoff, former senior vice president and general manager of digital enterprise solutions, left to join Lithium Technologies in 2011, analysts predicted the end of Adobe's enterprise ventures. In June 2013, however, Adobe acquired marketing technology company Neolane and began to integrate it into its new Marketing Cloud. This move, says Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group, meant "a whole new ballgame.

"The Neolane acquisition was a really smart move for Adobe," Greenberg says. "It was clear at that point that they were undergoing a transformation, and Neolane was a step in the right direction."

That transformation, according to Greenberg, reached a pivotal point at the company's Digital Marketing Summit in Salt Lake City in March.

The summit's opening keynote had no shortage of major announcements, headlined by news of Adobe's strategic partnership with SAP. "The strategic partnership between Adobe and SAP will bring together the office of the CMO and the office of the CIO," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said.

"Big data is dead if there is no thread connecting it. That's why together, the Adobe Marketing Cloud, hybris, and SAP HANA can be hugely impactful," Vishal Sikka, a member of the executive board at SAP, added.

Though ripe with potential, the partnership is, for the time being, limiting for both companies, according to Greenberg. While SAP's CRM suite is good, he says, the marketing component is weak, and adding Adobe's redesigned marketing cloud would "make a big difference." Adobe would benefit as well, reaping the rewards of SAP's extensive enterprise reach.

For now, however, the reseller agreement between the companies allows only SAP HANA and hybris to resell the Adobe Marketing Cloud, not SAP CRM. "My hope is that this is just the start for them," Greenberg says.

Throughout the conference, company executives touted updates to components of the Marketing Cloud and demonstrated deep integrations between Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Target, Adobe Social, Adobe Media Optimizer, and Adobe Experience Manager--the six solutions within the Marketing Cloud--as well as an integration between the Marketing Cloud and Adobe's Creative Suite. …

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