Kevin Cochrane of Adobe: Everyone Is a Marketer

These days, it’s true. No matter how large or how small your business, everyone is a marketer. Heck, you don’t even have to own a business. Let’s face it, everyone is marketing themselves or selling something, on some level, somewhere online, nowadays. Tune in as Kevin Cochrane, Vice President of Product Strategy Marketing at Adobe, joins Brent Leary for an in-depth discussion on the ever changing landscape of today’s digital marketers.

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Kevin Cochrane of AdobeSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal background?

Kevin Cochrane: I have been at Adobe for 2 years and, very excitingly, I have responsibility for Web experience management solutions, and how we enable our customers to get social, to get mobile, and to deliver personalized engaging experiences across channels to build brand and drive demand. I’ve been in the content management industry going back to 1996.

Small Business Trends: How has digital marketing and content management changed over the years?

Kevin Cochrane: Well in the early days, it was very much about building brands.  It was very important for companies to be able to broadcast and communicate information via the public website to all of their external and even internal audiences.

One of the big key changes that we have seen is the Web is the primary way people are looking to go to market.  In this day and age marketers, in particular, are now responsible for corporate strategy. They are responsible for top of the funnel activity and for driving Net-to-lead and driving top line revenue growth.

That means for marketers today it is not just about leveraging the Web to build brand, it is about driving demand.  Literally leveraging the website to funnel leads into your backend salesforce automation systems, to directly conduct transactions and to once again increase corporate growth.

I think one of the challenges with that is, how do you drive demand in an age where consumers have very fragmented attention?  Where consumers don’t necessarily know to go to your own Web property because they are spending all of their time on external social networks like Facebook.

Small Business Trends: What are the biggest challenges?

Kevin Cochrane: Well a non-obvious challenge is that there are so many easy to use tools out there. We face an explosion of different marketing technologies and each one of these tools is designed to attack one facet of the problem of driving customer engagement and revenue in a mobile & social world. What is happening is that marketers are having to become technologists to put in place a unified platform for executing their marketing campaign.

The more obvious challenge that marketers are facing is they need to speed execution, they need to be agile. They want to compress the time from ideation to execution in revenue.

And in order to compress that time frame to launch the campaign more quickly, they need to be able to run a coordinated campaign across different channels and across different devices. So having a lot of the disparate point tools that are not unified does not help them to accomplish their overall goal.

Small Business Trends: When is it the time for them to get serious about an integrated approach?  How much effort does it take for them to transition from that point system to that integrated approach?

Kevin Cochrane: When digital marketers get sophisticated and get serious about understanding their customer, their customer personas, and how their customer is choosing to interact with them on a big browser experience on desktop, as well as on different mobile devices.

When they get serious about delivering a very personalized, targeted experience that drives a two way engagement between the customer and their employee.

When they look to leverage their social interactions to get deeper insights into their customer behavior so they can fine tune and optimize the way they are communicating with them, that is the right time.

Small Business Trends: How has mobile and html-5 heightened the job of the digital marketer?

Kevin Cochrane: Well everyone is a marketer nowadays. Every one of your customers, every one of your prospects, every one of the prospects that you engage that did not purchase your product.  Everyone is a marketer.

Today’s marketers, their job is substantially different.  They are actually community leaders. They are the people that are building community and engaging customers in a dialog and actually monitoring their sentiment, influencing their sentiment, and helping to collect their story.  So that they can better understand what they should be messaging to the broader market.

I believe, from my memory, that marketers – yeah their job is very, very different.  It is not just about sitting in a room and coming up with the great message and then broadcasting out across every different channel ‘the big brand campaign.‘

Small Business Trends: Do you think most marketers have taken the job of community leader on?

Kevin Cochrane: I don’t think the majority of marketers have yet made that leap to becoming true social leaders, true community leaders. I think people are starting down that path.  It is a very, very big culture change to do that.

The culture change is a very simple one.  It is becoming a customer-central organization. When you take that outside-in approach and become a truly customer-centric organization, then your digital marketers really do become a social marketer and they do wind up becoming community leaders. They become people that become the paragon of the customer base.

I don’t think the vast audience of the market has made that leap, but I think people are starting down this path.

Small Business Trends: Where can people learn more about what Adobe is doing in this area?

Kevin Cochrane: You can learn about us on our website,  You can follow us on Twitter on @AdobeWEM.

Small Business Trends: How big a role does video play in the digital marketer’s role in the next six months to a year?

Kevin Cochrane: It is the second most important content that you need to incorporate all of your marketing activities into to drive customer engagement. It is the second most, simply because the most important piece of content is the content that your customers themselves provide.

This interview is part of our One on One series of conversations 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 the right arrow on the gray player below. You can also see more interviews in our interview series.

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.

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.