The B2B Marketing Adobe Summit Roundup

James T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


What a week at Adobe Summit 2024! I heard someone say 10,000 people had rocked up to The Venetian Resort Las Vegas for the annual event. As I sit at the airport, still surrounded by gambling machines, I’m pondering what does all of those huge announcements really mean in the world of B2B marketing, and what next… how do we make the most of all of these innovations, lessons from others and importantly connections!

Adobe Journey Optimizer B2B Edition

I’ve seen much chatter from the hardcore Adobe Marketo Engage crowd stating the Account Based Marketing (ABM) is nothing new, and that AJO B2B Edition isn’t really bringing anything to the table.

My view: ABM has always struggled to ‘get off the ground’, mainly because the few tech players that ‘do work’ are expensive and require a very skilled professional. My view on AJO B2B Edition is that actually it can bring ABM to the masses… but with one difference.

Buying-group marketing will enable businesses to activate Account Based Marketing with ease!

It’s not ABM, it’s buying-group marketing

ABM is typically driven by a list of accounts that sales want to go after, because they’re considered priority. Depending on the business this is plucked from thin air, or it’s a carefully crafted list with intelligence, win/loss analysis, profitability fit, etc. This is great – but we still have a disconnect between Persons in the Marketo Engage database, and the Target Account List.

In the world of AJO B2B Edition, we begin to talk about buying-group marketing (BGM as a new acronym? You read it here first! Haha). It’s not as high level as ABM, nor is it as granular as your acquisition marketing (Lead-based Marketing) which is Marketo Engage’s power.

BGMs therefore help the ABM strategy work. Each sales play, known as Solution Interest, will therefore line up with the key tactics:

  • Account growth i.e. one buying-group for Americas, vs those in EMEA.
  • Cross sells i.e. selling a data management solution to the IT / CRM team instead of the marketing team.

Sales insights that drive personalized conversations

Example screen of buying-group insights for SFDC CRM

The final thing about AJO is the improved sales insights for each buying group. Marketo Sales Insight (MSI) is great for individual engagement, it can even do a rough cut on the account, which 99% of times is too noisy! So I am excited for sales they will finally get a bit of Adobe love, with AI summaries that help them sell.

Marketo Engage enhancements

Those who saw through the noise of artificial intelligence (AI) being pumped in every corner or Adobe’s suite saw a lack of updates for Marketo Engage. Many left the keynote on day 1 questioning “are they sun setting Marketo?”.

Speculation from the diehard Marketo fans & consultants points to the tomb for Marketo Engage, but it won’t be any time soon. But lets face it, the architecture is now almost 20 years old and the power of the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) could revolutionise B2B marketing.

But… Adobe are keeping their cards close to their chest for now. And whilst that plays out here is what is coming in 2024:

Interactive Webinar AI Capabilities

The AJO Email Builder in Marketo Engage

In the moment Dynamic Chat & AI responses

Dynamic Chat isn’t spared from the AI madness either, with in-the-moment responses, and machine learning models that can use trusted sources to generated common responses.

Whilst it’s cool, I did read a fair bit of chatter on the #AdobeSummit questioning the efficiency of chat and if the credit really should be going to Dynamic Chat or the original source.

Integrated meeting booking on landing pages

Whilst this capability wasn’t showcases anywhere, it does mark an important use of how the conversational models that power Dynamic Chat in Marketo Engage will be used to help mid-market Marketo Engage clients consolidate technology.

That said, I still see the need in the Enterprise space for the likes of Chili Piper that can not only do the meeting booking element with more elegance, but you’ve also got the power of hand offs and distribution in real-time.

Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Adobe’s Real-time CDP was banded around continually during Adobe Summit 2024, for good reason, they’ve built it from scratch it’s a brilliant piece of technology, and adoption is low.

What was clear is that the future of B2B marketing will rely on CDP within the Adobe ecosystem. Therefore Marketer’s failed plans to get the project approved, that previously failed because of budget, complexity and lack of urgency, will soon be top of the radar.

I do think however CDP will enable marketers to move much faster in the future including activating a broader Adobe product portfolio with little lift and we saw in Emily Hesley and Hallie Knapp’s presentation how Vanguard have implemented Marketo Engage CDP-first.

AI this, artificial intelligence that

Adobe’s Gen AI strategy for B2B marketing

It’s AI bingo I overheard in one of the B2B marketing sessions. It was certainly the most overused phrasing of the entire week.

I’d summarise the week by saying that Adobe isn’t just doubling down on the corporate, reliable, compliant AI capabilities. They’ve done it. The issue is, the models still need training… so the road is long before we see the output.

Lack of training on using AI

Marketers fall into two camps when it comes to AI, cautious or excited. The one piece that was the elephant in the room during Adobe Summit was the sheer lack of training available to marketers to maximise AI.

Sure Firelfly is awesome at creative, GenStudio is the next level corporate governance and brand management tool, and the odd text generator such as that in the new email editor for Marketo Engage are cool – but… the prompts.

Of all the sessions I sat in the real world examples came from Tyron Pretorius and Lucas Gonçalves Machado on the very last day of summit. Real life examples, step by steps on helping marketing ‘do AI’.

The tsunami of creative

One comment that I loved and echoed around my brain for the entire week was that of the awesome Kate Federhar who said:

My creative team LOVE the new GenAI content tools, but I have a tsunami of creative coming to my team that we have to operationalise.

Kate in her session with Mitch Folks also highlighted her nervousness about AI, and how the innovations moves the issue into the hands of operations in the short term until we join the dots between GenAI content production and GenAI execution.

Finally the state of B2B marketing

So how do we wrap all of this up… new tech is great, but we’ve got to get this AI power into the wild before we can really judge if it will make our lives easier or not. But I heard two main themes over the last week:

  • Need to show more value. Technology isn’t the issue anymore, it’s the impact it’s having. Budgets have been cut everywhere, and every $ is under more scrutiny if it can’t show its value.
  • Metrics have evolved to RevOps. Businesses have gone beyond the email metrics, they’re already talking Lead to Revenue velocity and attachment rates. But the blocker is the intelligence given to sales to help them convert.

I’d love to know what you think of Adobe Summit, my round up, or anything you think I missed! There was too much to do, too many sessions join and too many people to meet… until 2025!

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