Adobe: Automating Marketing Campaigns
Adobe is using analytics and artificial intelligence to recommend all elements of marketing campaigns: what content to use, what channels to use and how to time the campaign. Critically though, the AI is dependent on historical data to inform future marketing. While the analytics are incredibly helpful to manage existing products, it is still important that marketers play a key role in marketing new products and constantly testing new marketing channels that may not be in historical data.
Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
Just a few days ago, during Adobe’s Partner Summit, they gave a preview of “Master Plan” a new application of their Artificial Intelligence solution, Sensei, designed to help marketers plan a successful marketing campaign.
Master Plan uses historical performance data that brands and marketers have already put into the Adobe Experience Cloud through their ad buying solution, campaign orchestration technology, and analytics solution. The solution analyzes that historic metadata across different teams and marketing channels and aligns it to KPIs and success metrics to identify what marketing tactics have been effective in the past. Sensei then recommends what creative assets to use, how to best use those creative assets, what marketing channels to leverage and how to time different elements of the marketing campaign. As seen below, Master Plan suggested the timing, coordination and different marketing channels for a campaign (1).
Adobe has been rolling out Sensei, their artificial intelligence solution, within their marketing software already. For example, analytics and machine learning are used to find the best subject lines for marketing emails and can recommend the best photo to include in the email based on the customer that you are trying to reach. (2) Sensei has also helped companies personalize the products shown on its website to increase traffic. For example, HBSC used the technology to boost product that was performing well on it’s website, resulting in a 109% increase in customers reaching that product. (3)
This technology creates value for Adobe’s customers by having data driven recommendations for marketers to more easily launch and manage campaigns. Adobe in turn captures this value by retaining these customers in their subscription cloud service. This product also inherently integrates Adobe’s Experience Cloud and Creative Cloud by linking creative assets which upsells customers into having both subscription models.
Tension of Art and Science in Marketing
Although Master Plan may be automating some of the role of marketers today, I don’t believe that Adobe’s AI capability today will replace marketers. Because Master Plan is so dependent on the input historical data, I imagine it will be most helpful in managing campaigns for existing products – where they already have a significant amount of data. But marketers will be important in designing thoughtful campaigns for new products, particularly if a company is targeting a new demographic that they have not traditionally reached.
Marketers will also need to constantly test out new marketing techniques for both new and existing products to ensure that they have a full and complete data set upon which AI can make recommendations. With the constant evolution and addition of new digital marketing tools and techniques, this will be important for marketers to be testing new channels to learn what works.
Challenges for Future
As Adobe looks to launch Master Plan and generally incorporate more AI into their software, it is increasingly important that Adobe has access to as much marketing data as possible from their customers to improve the machine learning and build a superior tool. Marketing software is a highly competitive space with many large technology companies such as Salesforce, IBM, and Marketo also launching artificial intelligence products to help enterprises solve similar pain points. Right now, Adobe’s integration between the creative content and the marketing analytics is a compelling competitive advantage as they have a better understanding of the images and content that is connected to marketing campaigns. (4) But, it is critical that Adobe continues to roll out these AI features, integrate with large data sets, test and build their machine learning algorithms to build an even stronger competitive advantage in a crowded space.
(1) Rogers, Stewart. “Adobe Reveals a Sneak Preview of Master Plan, an AI-Assisted Planner.”VentureBeat, VentureBeat, 30 Mar. 2018, venturebeat.com/2018/03/28/adobe-reveals-a-sneak-preview-of-master-plan-an-ai-assisted-planner/.
(2) Lardinois, Frederic. “Adobe Wants to Bring Its AI Smarts to Email Marketing Campaigns.”TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 29 Aug. 2017, techcrunch.com/2017/08/29/adobe-wants-to-bring-its-ai-smarts-to-email-marketing-campaigns/.
(3) Browne, Ryan. “Adobe Is Bringing Its A.I. Platform Sensei into the Banking Industry.” CNBC, CNBC, 23 Oct. 2017, www.cnbc.com/2017/10/23/adobe-is-bringing-its-ai-platform-sensei-into-the-banking-industry.html.
(4) Grant, Nico. “Adobe Steps Up AI-Powered Marketing to Take on Rivals.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 28 Mar. 2018, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-28/adobe-steps-up-ai-powered-marketing-to-take-on-ibm-salesforce.