Due to the global situation, caused by Covid-19, Adobe Summit could not take place as planned. The biggest event by Adobe, which would have gathered around 16.000 attendees in Las Vegas, would have also incorporated the biggest Magento event of the year, Imagine. In order to avoid a cancellation of the whole event, the events team has turned the gathering into an online event – with less than a month between announcement and execution.
Ready to dive right into the sessions?
The keynotes and breakout sessions of Adobe Summit 2020 are available online for everyone forever for free. Once you have signed up, you can watch everything. Our team did just that. Well almost, we didn’t watch everything. After following the live stream by TJ Gamble for a while to get into the Imagine mood, it seemed like cherrypicking the sessions about our favourite topics was the right approach. Let’s start with the obvious: the Commerce Track.
The Commerce track was opened by Jason Woosley, Vice President at Adobe and Magento Engineering Lead. After emphasizing the key role which Magento plays for many businesses of all sizes, he pointed out how Magento helps those businesses which aim to become fully digital in a very short timeframe due to the current crisis.
The most important part of the keynote was the announcement of Magento 2.4 which will come out in Q3 2020. This release will focus on:
- PWA and headless capabilities which will play nicely with the other parts of the Adobe Experience Cloud
- The PWA Studio B2C reference theme “Venia” becoming fully featured
- A totally new PWA Studio B2B reference theme
- Expanded B2B features
- Device-native payments (Apple and Android) via the Payment Request API which can allow to skip the checkout
- An Adobe Stock integration, built with help of the Community Engineering Program
Later in the keynote, the new Executive Vice President who is now responsible for the Adobe Experience Cloud including Magento, Anil Chakravarthy, introduced himself. Both Jason and Anil confirmed the important role that commercial, non-enterprise merchants play for Adobe’s strategy for Magento.
One of the most interesting upcoming developments for Magento Commerce is the integration of Adobe Sensei, the Machine Learning Tool of Adobe. The first feature using it are the Product Recommendations which have been released recently for Magento Commerce – it will be usable without extra cost for Magento Commerce Customers.
Misha Kotov, Product Manager at Adobe, gave an in-depth insight about the current state of the Adobe-Sensei-powered Product Recommendations. They can be used as a replacement for the default recommendations, but will recommend products by a self-learning algorithm, constantly improving itself based on real buyer data. The merchant can configure the type of recommendations in detail:
The module can be downloaded from the Magento Marketplace. For the integration, you will need an API key which is available for Magento Commerce customers. All installation and configuration details as well as how to customize the integration are described in the Magento DevDocs.
The presentation was rounded up by a list of DOs and DONTs with Product Recommendations and with an outlook about what other Magento features might be using Adobe Sensei in the future. This includes interesting things like catalog search, image selection and A/B testing.
B2B Keynote – Focus on Marketing
The B2B Track of Adobe Summit was opened with a keynote by Sarah Kennedy, Vice President of Global Marketing at Adobe Experience Cloud. Many Twitter users would agree with her statement that constraint actually drives creativity and that the current situation may lead to a new era of B2B experiences where we have no other option but to be digital.
According to Sarah Kennedy, marketeers should work with the mindset of a general manager that is not just focussed on marketing, but is in touch with stakeholders from all departments, like sales and finance. Looking at B2B marketing, her take is that it’s an even more personal experience than B2C marketing: with big budgets come great responsibility and a decision in B2B can have a big impact on a corporate career. As a result, B2B marketing should be aware that it’s all about human connections and the role that B2B marketeers play as a possible career catalyst for their customers.
The second speaker of the session, Nnamdi Nwoke, Head of Growth Marketing USA at SAP Concur, added a reminder that marketing should abandon its “geek speak” and instead adopt the language that communicates business needs. Marissa Dacay, Senior Director of Global Enterprise Marketing at Adobe, remarked that gathering data is no longer the challenge. It’s activating data as in using it for fulfill your goals. To illustrate how this can be achieved, Brian Glover, Director of Product Marketing for Marketo, demonstrated different products of Adobe Experience Cloud can be used to achieve your marketing goals.
Tim Arthur, previous CEO of Time Out, explains his thesis that one way to be successful in your personal working environment or for the company you work for is to be lovable. Based on his personal experience, he shows the listener how important it is to be agile in today’s world, to prepare yourself and your company for the future – and he shows that in many places the future is closer than we might think.
In the second part of the session he talks about six rules that can lay the foundation for success: To recognize and use your passions, to give people what they need and want, to show a positive attitude, to become creative, to work together and to remain human in everything. He explains this by means of practical examples and he demonstrates in many places possible actions which lead to the goal that one’s own actions are perceived as positive and good, powerful and remarkable; one becomes lovable.
His presentation concludes with an example from everyday life in which a little boy wants to send a letter to his dad in heaven. The reaction of the postal company implements the previously explained principles in an exemplary manner. And the listener gets the feeling: Yes, I want to be lovable too.
Leadership and Opportunity – Marketing during Digital Transformation
Valerie Beaulieu, U. S. CMO of Microsoft, let us in the digital transformation that marketing at Microsoft is currently under. Showing the bigger picture, she went from the challenges they face in B2B marketing, such as customer expactations shaped by consumer experiences, to the pillars that guide the Marketing transformation process. What I found interesting here is how Microsoft distinguished between global marketing activities and other activities that follow a more localised approach. For example, global advertising means that Microsoft has one brand voice around the world. However, customer experience needs more a local style, e. g. the tone of events. I guess every European who has attended an Adobe event in the US knows how much the tone of events differs from country to country.
With the connection of data and AI, Microsoft works on what they call “engagement pattern matching” in Marketing, aiming to be able to suggest actions that will drive the desired outcome. Not just predicting what their audience will do, but being in a position to influence behaviour in the intended direction.
Creating a Mobile App Gourmet Dish with Adobe Campaign Standard
Anne Booth from Telus and Timo Kohlberg from Adobe let you in on how you can increase the usage of your apps with clever campaigns in different channels (in app, push notifications or on your website). With a bunch of A/B tests, this session brings new ideas what to test in your communication with your customers.
These are valuable insights for online businesses that have an app or a PWA with push notifications, looking to grow engagement with their customers.
The online experience
Even though I wouldn’t have attended this year’s Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, there are many things that I miss about it:
- #RoadToImagine map and tweets (which doesn’t look the same this year)
- Photos of beautiful National Parks in the US, taken by folks on their road to Imagine
- Twitter folks commenting about the absurdity of Las Vegas
- Visual evidence of people having a good time in Vegas
- Magento Masters presentation, including our Andreas von Studnitz
- Communal post Imagine fatigue / blues
There’s also an upside
You know what I like best about Adobe Summit online? The authenticity in their social media marketing (yes, I have a soft spot for dogs.) It’s human, imperfect and a charming change to the “bigger, brighter, better” approach of previous Magento (Adobe) events. Also the closer camera shots of speakers. Without a stage, speakers look just like you and I. Who knows, maybe we’ll see even more people stepping up to propose a topic for next year’s Adobe Summit?
Not all heroes wear capes
Magento Imagine is a place where you can experience the kindness of many of our community folks. This year, Talesh Seeparsan provided the world with a neat list of all Summit Breakout sessions. If you haven’t yet, follow him on Twitter for Magento security info, beautiful nature photos and a certain longing to hike a mountain.