Loni Stark of Adobe: Digital Marketing Solutions in the Cloud

Bob Dylan once sang, The Times They Are A-Changin’ and these words still ring true today, some 49 years later. Marketers need to understand how their message can now be honed in with data and Loni Stark, Director of Product & Industry Marketing at Adobe, has a solution. She joins Brent Leary to discuss the five key areas of digital marketing available in the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

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digital marketingSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Loni Stark: I have been at Adobe for over 12 years. I am responsible for product marketing for our Adobe Experience Managers Solution, which is part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud. It is really perfect in the sense that I have come from a technology background.

I am at the heart of digital marketing now so that combination of technology and creativity is really important as folks are looking at how to do digital marketing well.

Small Business Trends: How important is it today that creative folks understand social and mobile in order to create the right kind of customer experiences?

Loni Stark: I think it is really important to understand what is possible, and how people want to interact through these technology channels.

I liken this era of moving to digital marketing similar to when television was first invented. It really changed how marketers got to reach their audience and mass communications, broadcasting what was out there. Now, marketers need to understand how their message can then be honed in with data.

Small Business Trends: I had a conversation with Anil Dash and one of the things he talked about was the show, ‘I Love Lucy.’ It was the marriage of somebody who understood the power of television and knew how to create something that really showed it off. There were other television shows, but none of them really captivated and took advantage of what television had to offer. 

Are we at the point where we are understanding the power of social and digital marketing?

Loni Stark: Attention is scarce and when attention is scarce, similar to what happened with television, there is flight to quality. So marketers are starting to figure out. ‘How do I create more compelling content and how do I make sure it is more relevant, more useful?’

I am amazed at the creativity in the ads that are now in digital magazines as well. Before it was static images, and they are now interactive. I think we are at a point of the ‘I love Lucy’ moment.

Small Business Trends: Can you talk a little bit about the five key areas of your Adobe Marketing Cloud?

Loni Stark: We have brought them down into what we consider the foundation for visual marketing; to be able to do things well in these five core areas. One of them we have already touched upon which is the analytics. That is about measurement. What most folks talk about, or know about from Adobe, is the online metrics that we have. But little is known about the fact that we also have the capability to measure offline. And that is really important.

We talk about eCommerce, it is hot. People talk about how much money people are spending. We tend to forget that even though it is growing fast, and it will continue to grow onwards and upwards, it is still about six percent of total spend in the retail sector in the United States. So a lot of things happen offline as well and that is an important piece.

The second piece is Adobe Experience Manager. That is all about the owned digital properties that companies have. In the online world Experience Manager is really about helping companies build out their own digital properties. An example of this is Hyatt, a hotel chain, and they use Experience Manager to be able to create a destination spot that people can come to and shop, and purchase hotels rooms. So that is two of the five.

The third is Adobe Social. With any digital marketing strategy you’ve got to have a social component to that. Adobe Social is all about running social marketing campaigns through Twitter, Facebook and having fan pages managed through those channels.

The fourth is Adobe Media Optimizer, so part of the marketing mix is spending it on ads. Being able to do that effectively, being able to optimize your spend to say, ‘Hey, this ad placement through this channel is working better than this other one, so maybe I want to move more of my investment over to this other channel.’ Being able to do that in real time and being able to figure out what is the best price to pay for a particular ad based on the return. It is critical for any digital marketer.

The final piece is Target. We talked about data, we talked about content and Target is the solution that brings it all together to do tests. I have a hypothesis I think you love music and I think you love this type of music, so I am going to target this particular image of this band that I think you are going to really like called The Black Keys. I could be right, but I could be wrong. So I might say there are a couple of other bands that I think you might like, I’ll will try out those images.

Adobe Target lets me quickly test out different images against you and people like you to figure out what image, what piece of content you are going to best resonate with.

Small Business Trends: Adobe’s CMO, Ann Lewnes, mentioned that Adobe is spending about 74% of their digital marketing budget compared to the average of large companies in the 20% range. What is it going to take for companies to be more like you and focus their marketing in this space?

Loni Stark: With digital marketing, the more efforts that can be measured and be more data driven, the more they can see where they are driving the highest value across  to pour more money in to it. The big piece is becoming more data driven and then being able to speed up the content creation piece of it.

Small Business Trends: Where can people learn more?

Loni Stark: Our website Adobe. You can check out the Adobe Marketing Cloud, which will go into all of the five solutions. And then also I think another great resource is CMO.com.


This interview on digital marketing is part of the One on One interview series with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above.

This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

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Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.

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