Adobe CMO Ann Lewnes: Brands Need To Study, Respect Relationships With Consumers

By Justin Lafferty Comment


Just as quickly as the next hot app — say, Meerkat — can rise (and fall), social marketing trends can also shift.

Adobe Chief Marketing Officer Ann Lewnes — fresh off an interview with ‘Birdman’ actor Michael Keaton — spoke with SocialTimes at the recent Adobe Summit about how to stay ahead in social marketing, the Apple Watch and the importance of data analysis.

SocialTimes: Could you tell me what you see for the marketing capabilities of wearables, such as the Apple Watch?

Ann Lewnes: We’ve talked about that a lot at this conference — every touchpoint that you have with one of your customers affords you an opportunity to make a better experience.

In terms of the watch … you don’t want to invade people’s privacy and annoy them. I think that’s the critical thing. For me, knowing as much as you can about that customer should be informing how you market to them. Increasingly, the product should be the marketing and the marketing should be the product.

For instance, you have a phone, should I be barraging you with banner ads and text? No. Is there a way to engage you by having you download an application? Once the person has downloaded the application, in my mind, that’s the relationship now. You have achieved your marketing goal and now within that communication, you have the opportunity to keep that person engaged. Effectively, the app is the ad. You don’t need to have a whole new ad once you have someone that you’ve already engaged in a relationship.

ST: It seems like now, a lot of companies were focused on building the app first and getting the experience right before they worry about marketing. 

AL: Exactly! “Let’s market the app before we have a great app,” that’s backwards.

ST: What do you see as the biggest challenge for social marketers today?

AL: One of the things I see challenging is where to put the most emphasis. There are so many different social platforms right now — do you need to have a presence on all of them? Where should you put your focus? We have identified those that are probably more consistent with our various audiences, but I know people are worried with, “Oh, but we don’t have anything on Pinterest! Maybe we should start something on Pinterest, as well!”

I think there will probably be some consolidation, but for the time being, I think it’s important for marketers to not ignore their own properties. Whether it’s your website, or your app, you can create satellite experiences on other properties, but I feel the best experience should be on your own properties. That’s what we try to do at Adobe — we try to build the best applications for our website and we try to have good experience on the other properties, but really, we would like people to come to our own properties first.

ST: Companies are trying to not so much rely on Facebook or Twitter, but create that experience that’s within the company walls.

AL: Nobody can manage your brand like you can. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have presences on those very important places and we’ve got lots of fans and lots of followers. That’s super important, but we feel that nobody can manage our brand like we can.

ST: Do you feel that a lot companies nowadays are overwhelmed by data? How can they work through that to make the best decisions?

AL: You have to know what you’re looking for, and that is the most important advice I could give to anyone when they’re starting out. What are your objectives? If you don’t know your objectives at the outset, you will just be poring through data and you will find interesting nuggets and insights, but they won’t add up. If you know that I am interested in selling product A, the whole process should lead to what is leading to the sale of product A. If you are interested in creating buzz about a movie, everything should be about creating positive social sentiment and you have a goal.

If you don’t know what your desired outcome is at the beginning, you will have a really hard time with a lot of data.

Readers: How do you handle all of the data and analytics available to you?

Photo courtesy of Eric Schramm/Adobe.