Brad Rencher is the senior vice president and general manager of digital marketing at Adobe and yesterday Rencher delivered the keynote speech at Adobe Summit EMEA 2015.

Many new improvements to Adobe’s platforms were unveiled during the course of the morning, including customer experience and analytics advancements to its Marketing Cloud platform, as well as the announcement of a new partnership with Microsoft.

In this article we'll be taking a look at the key highlights from Rencher’s address which touched on the current and future state of digital marketing.

Experience is the brand

Rencher began with an interesting question. “If I unlock the car door with an app on my mobile phone, is that marketing?”

Similarly if you were to turn the heating on in your home via a laptop 10 miles away from your house, is that marketing or is it product or is it something else entirely?

Much of what we do and how and where we do it is rapidly changing. As technology catches up to customer behaviour and expectation, so too should marketing.

Whether your a retailer, a bank, a media company or a software company, your customer experience is now the brand of your organisation and the best gauge of its success.

For brands to truly deliver this comprehensive experience, the organisation behind the brand needs to pivot. Marketing is no longer just one department among many, it is the epicentre of transformation.

Consumers have the opportunity to interact with brands in more ways and places than ever before. As a result consumer expectations have never been higher.

We expect instant access, at all times, on any device. And that experience must be consistent and continuous.

Consistent and continuous experience

When consumers interact with your brand, they don’t want to be treated like it’s their first time, every time. Consumers want to be known and understood by the companies and services they regularly use.

When it comes to a continuous experience, this can be more difficult because of how non-linear the customer journey has become. Jumping from app, to desktop, to in-store visit, back to the desktop… there are millions of possible journeys we can all take to conversion.

Mobile has become the great disruptor, in that it has given everyone freedom from the desktop by providing easy-to-use, convenient experiences in the palm of our hands.

This is incredible for marketers, as it provides even more opportunities to impress consumers and satisfy their expectations. 

However it also presents problems as technology gets smaller and more intimate. Should marketers use the Apple Watch to continuously push adverts on to your wrist just because they can?

This is where the idea of ‘experience as a brand’ becomes even more important. Offering consistent and continuous experiences across all devices that only benefit the consumer is the key way that your brand will succeed. 

It goes far beyond marketing

Marketing beyond marketing

In the age of ‘digital everywhere’ brands have a responsibility to meet expectations and create great customer experiences at every touchpoint. 

Consumers will only commit to brands as long as those brands commit back to consumers, it’s a two-way relationship. Marketers can no longer stick to out-dated definitions that clearly delineate where marketing stops and starts.

Brands must offer an ‘always-on’ experience or they’ll find the relationship will suffer and consumers will start looking elsewhere.

Marketing doesn’t end when the target audience has been set or the campaign has been launched or a display ad has been bought. Nor does it end when the customer purchases an item from your website.

Marketing need to move beyond this limited frame, to build a foundation of customer experience across the entire enterprise, whether offline or online. As Rencher states “at every touchpoint, we either win or lose”, therefore brands need to understand everything about their customers.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 30 April, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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