How Adobe Manages Its Digital Marketing

The brand's Sr. Director of Marketing Technology, Parthiv Sheth, discusses the industry


Parthiv Sheth, Sr. Director of Marketing Technology & Operations, drives the planning and implementation of best in class marketing data, technology and analytics delivery at Adobe Systems Inc. Prior to this appointment, he was a Director, Business Intelligence at Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Chicago where he led efforts to build and improve analytics, business intelligence, and customer relationship management capabilities. 

In his prior roles at Hyatt, Parthiv oversaw a portfolio of corporate systems catering to finance, HR, procurement, and other functions. He started his career at KPMG Consulting where he focused on delivering business technology solutions to Fortune 500 clients like General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Symantec. 

Ahead of his presentation at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit this March 20-21 in San Francisco, we sat down with Parthiv to discuss Adobe's approach to digital marketing, from the metrics they use to define their success to the new technology they are expecting to impact the industry going forward. 

So, how did you get started in your career?

I am a technologist who accidentally landed in the Marketing world and morphed into a digital marketer. Some of my fellow techies allege that I have crossed over to the dark side. Fortunately, the accident has worked out quite well.

Some look to the size of their audiences, others look at engagement metrics - how do you judge the success of your social channels?

We don’t look at social channels in isolation. Rather, we look the holistic customer journey – of which social channel is a component, but not the end all be all. Given our creative heritage, our customers are clearly expressive and present on social channels. We have to be everywhere they are and help them through their journey wherever they happen to be and whatever stage of the journey they happen to be in. As such, our metrics are very cross-channel and customer-oriented. That’s the only way to truly measure the overall effectiveness of your marketing.

Today, it seems everyone wants to be making video content. Do you think there’s a chance of marketing becoming oversaturated with video?

I don’t think so. In fact, I’d argue that we’re just getting started with the content and data explosion. To battle the cacophony and the clutter though, marketers need to be in lock-step with the customers throughout their journey and help them do what they’re looking to do more easily – whether its learning about the product/service, transacting or actively using the product/service and getting the value out of it. With the right tools, we can traverse deep into the long tail of content

What emerging technology can you see having a major impact on digital marketing going forward?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – By and far AI will have the deepest and most lasting impact on digital marketing. AI has come of age from a couple of decades ago when it was something nerds like me toyed with in an academic laboratory (true story). The promise of AI is a huge game-changer and a welcome relief in dealing with content and data explosion while delivering ultra-personalized experiences to every customer, in every channel - instantaneously.

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How can brands best merge data with creativity in their marketing efforts?

This is our ethos and core philosophy at Adobe. Given our creative and design heritage, we strongly believe that marketing is both an art (creative, compelling content) and a science (data, technology, math/science). The most successful marketers today can blend this together to deliver compelling experiences that their customers want and deserve. With capabilities today, we can bridge the two and even measure the impact of creativity to some extent.

I believe compelling content will always reign supreme and that’s not only because we humans have the whole right lobe of our brain dedicated to it. Quite often though, marketers are susceptible to the attribution bias and they fail to fully account for all things that lead to a desired outcome. Rather than resigning to the complexity, marketers need to get more disciplined in capturing, measuring and tuning every touch point, every interaction and every transaction for every customer. Only then can one see the full picture and can attempt to fully understand it.

What can attendees expect from your presentation or panel participation at the summit?

In my presentation, I will cover the story of Adobe’s transformation and use it to drive home the point that marketers and marketing need to transform significantly to deliver exceptional experiences that customers desire and deserve. Participants will hear what such a transformation takes (hint: it’s not just technology), how to balance the art & the science of marketing and lessons learnt in our journey.

Do you think all brands should be considering influencer marketing going forward?

Absolutely, but this isn’t new or revolutionary idea. However, with the advent of mass-market broadcast capabilities - blogging, podcasting, YouTube channels, etc.- anyone in the world can become an influencer in any possible niche imaginable. There are even tools that let you measure the clout of these influencers based on their followers. Marketers do need to be careful to ensure that the influencers there are targeting are carefully curated and conformant to the brand identity. We can possibly find influencers for every industry, every persona, every demographic, but marketers need to think through how they’ll measure the influencer’s influence along with other marketing activities. They may need a multi-touch attribution model to capture influencer’s touch, along with all other touches and understand the impact of each touch throughout the customer journey.

How are you and your team preparing for the impact of GDPR?

Our teams have been working on understanding the implications, planning the project and providing tools for compliance for the past several months. We also have to solve this for our customers, so we’ve had this on our radar for quite some time.

You can hear more from Parthiv, along with many other industry-leading digital marketing executives, at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit this March 20-21 in San Francisco. To see the full schedule, click here.

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