Q] In today’s data-driven era, with the increasing explosion of digitization across functions, how are marketing dynamics changing?
From a marketing perspective, I think this is the best time to be here. And the reason I say this is because things have evolved so rapidly in the last couple of years. Digital is something that is now interwoven with everything that we do. From a technology perspective, the question is more around the extent of creating a unified data platform, automated content supply chain, deriving intelligent matrix, and defining how to personalize that matrix and intelligence to create moments that matter.
Shifting the lens to the consumer perspective, consumer expectations are constantly evolving, and the good thing is, it’s across generations- only the degree of adoption changes. They want you to provide experiential data, at the time they want, and in the medium and channels that are convenient to them. Thus, at the end of the day, the marriage between these two, i.e. evolving technology and changing consumer expectations is what the whole digital phenomena is about. In a recent study that we had done, we’ve learnt that India as a market adapts to technology, and the consumer is highly evolved. Therefore, for us as marketers, meeting those expectations is an opportunity for us to get ahead with.
Q] How bullish are Indian marketers on using innovative technology and marketing for their brands. Are they adapting fast enough?
A lot of brands and marketers have realized that if they don’t adapt, they will either be left behind or the value realization from a consumer perspective is going to be something that they may miss out on.
Are we adapting fast enough? Yes, and it goes back to three data points. One is, what the maturity of that brand is in the industry that it operates in. The second is, what is its rate of adoption? And the third is, what’s their audience and how is that audience adapting? Looking at these three parameters, I think brands are clearly fast pacing their adoption. And this is something that the last couple of years have accelerated.
Are they bullish about it? Absolutely. If you see the innovation and the kind of asks that we’re getting from brands about integrated data platforms, intelligence in real time, on recommendations that come in, and about utilizing and extending these in metaverse- it reflects the maturity of the audience, the capability of the tools and technologies that are available today, and the ability for brands to be able to curate experiences using these. What I also like is the experimentation that a lot of brands are doing.
Q] As a marketer yourself, what would be your advice to brands that are treading the fine line between innovations, technology, and creativity?
Adobe has a very simple philosophy. We connect the art of data with the science of marketing. We give you data points that you put in a narrative that is contextual, and that becomes content. Technology is a great resource, and an enabler. It empowers the experience that we are looking at providing.
But you have to keep in mind that brands must be purposeful when they’re talking about this. The usage of technology must be driven clearly focusing on outcomes. And without that, I think if you only focus on the next big thing in technology, then somewhere we tend to lose the human aspect, the experiential layer and the ability to monetize and make it resourceful enough for the consumer.
A great marketer will have the ability to brass tack the technology, create that human touch, be purposeful, and deliver something that is experiential based on the intelligence. So it is a matter of marrying these tools with a balanced approach.
Q] How would you define India as a market for Adobe? Can you tell us some of the work that you’ve been doing?
This is our 25th year here in India, and we’ve grown leaps and bounds as an organization. We started with the creative layer of Photoshop, Illustrator, and then slowly built the document layer, making it paperless with digital signatures. Then the experience layer came, which is our Adobe experience Cloud. The evolution of Adobe in the marketing ecosystem, in the way we design, curate and experience- all three layers have evolved tremendously.
Today we work across industries, be it manufacturing, BFSI, education, healthcare, tourism. If you look at BFSI itself, some 30+ organizations within India work with us, insurance companies like Nippon Mutual Fund, HDFC Life, etc. If you look at the retail segment, we have Tata Cliq, where again we provide the ability for them to recommend the right product, based on past purchases. So the consumer feels valued as an individual, rather than the brand taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Q] Where does Adobe stand when it comes to user data privacy, considering it is a major concern nowadays? How do you ensure that you do not cross the line?
Privacy is a huge issue. I think sometimes brands tend to forget that all of this comes with a very big responsibility of data and trust. If I can generate data, curate the content, but don’t do it in a secure and transparent manner, I don’t think I’ll be able to win customer loyalty. We have our own protocols. All of our products that are developed, follow these protocols and all of our data is consent-led. We do not share data across channels, and we do not purchase data from third parties. Whatever data is there, it’s a complete first party data strategy, and that is where the entire consent-based protocol, meeting all the guidelines from security, privacy, and regulatory perspectives- all come into place. And hence, we are one of the biggest propagators of saying you own the data, you own the consumer, you own the experience.
Q] What are some of the emerging tech trends globally in marketing that would help businesses stay ahead of the curve?
One, very clearly is the content supply chain area. Everybody’s generating user based content across multiple channels and mediums today. But do you have the supply chain at the back end to be able to do it at mass, to be able to curate it and divide it and personalize it, to keep engaging your audience? The second is data and transparency, which thanks to all this content, becomes a very critical component. The third part of it is, from a marketer’s perspective, the systems that we work within are becoming far more complex. So to streamline this - simplify the work flow.
Lastly, you have the experiential technologies - metaverse, 5G, immersive stuff. At this point in time, a lot of people are dabbling and experimenting in it, and that’s what marketers should do.