Digital Pioneer Calls for ‘The Marketer’s Bill of Rights’ at Adobe Symposium

John Battelle speaking at Adobe Symposium 2019 in New York City.

At Adobe Symposium John Battelle, entrepreneur and co-founding editor of Wired magazine, who is credited with the launch of the first-ever online display banner ad, presented “The Marketer’s Bill of Rights” in response to the forces that have made the profession “feel like an impossible job.”

In his keynote to over 600 business leaders, John covered the state of marketing and advertising and explained that relentlessly focusing on the customer experience is the antidote to not yet having reached the marketing nirvana of “perfect information, perfect insight, and perfect permissioning.”

Crossing the digital chasm has been a challenge for several reasons, including data privacy, walled gardens, and an art that we’ve nearly lost in the digital age, which is understanding the context of an audience, John said.

Marketers also don’t have much control over all the touchpoints their customers have with their companies, the experience their customers have when they use their products, or how people talk about their product on social media. Driving the point home, he said, “Marketers have all come to realize that if they are going to succeed, they have to create a superior customer experience across all touchpoints. Not just marketing touchpoints. All of them. Now answer this question: As a marketer, do you feel like you control all those touchpoints? I didn’t think so.”

Nonetheless, there is power in data to more than help us overcome these challenges. John later touched on a vision for what he calls an “enlightened data ecosystem” defined by an open market for information.

The media innovator went deep into television, saying that it is in the most exciting transition since the shift from broadcast to cable with an entire cast of new players. “Ten plus years into the next big shift of TV, the same kinds of massive changes wrought by the transition from broadcast to cable are becoming evident in the shift from cable to nonlinear television. As you navigate them, you can lead or you can follow.”

A future defined by video experiences will need to be driven by data across all screens. And just like we’ve waited for the “year of mobile,” which was slow and then all at once, the same is coming to TV in the form of connected TV. What has become standard for digital will be the standard for television and “outcome-based marketing is the ‘holy grail of connected television.’”

John then shifted gears to cover storytelling, explaining that with data and automation, marketers can seize the opportunity to:

  1. Understand the story your customer is in right now.
  2. Deliver your story in the right context to that customer. “Context will make a roaring return in the next couple of years.”
  3. Demand that your marketing partners do more than sell your audience, but align their narratives with yours, and, conversely, align your narratives with creators who match your company’s core values and narratives.

John explained how the evolution of the internet to massive platforms designed to capture attention at all costs has come at a price. But the pendulum is swinging back as independent content creation will once again thrive, tied together by a new, open ecosystem of data sharing and consumer control. And he noted that second-party data will change marketing significantly in the future.

That ecosystem, however, is only possible if marketers demand it. “You, the marketers who speak to customers, and who hear back from them, are the heartbeat of your business, with the rights and responsibilities of that truth.”

He concluded with the following Marketer’s Bill of Rights as a starting point and call to action:

Marketers and advertisers must demand more to truly address today’s challenges and create better customer experiences.

Adobe Symposium, a one-day executive event, was held in New York City on June 19, 2019. The packed agenda kicked off with a powerful keynote by Omar Johnson, former CMO at Beats by Dre and a former marketing VP at Apple, followed by three multipart sessions covering the foundations of customer experience CX: information technology, marketing and advertising, and e-commerce.

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