This past month, I had the pleasure of spending time at Adobe Summit, a conference that brought together 17,000 industry leaders in marketing and technology to discuss the digital experience.

Over the course of the week, there were a few emerging themes that came through from the keynotes and sessions I attended, and the conversations I had with other conference attendees.  I’ve summarized some of my key takeaways below.

Personal growth & development

Thought is one of the things that will affect your career the most. Talk about limitless possibilities within your organization and your teams. If you talk positively, you will effect positive changes.

At the same time, pessimism is a disease of thought. Nnamdi Nwoke, the Sr. Demand Generation Marketing Manager at GreenSky, emphasized that we shouldn’t be afraid to celebrate mistakes during his session. Don’t be afraid to “fail fast and learn quickly” – it’s how you’ll grow your career.

In a keynote session, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said: “You need to keep experimenting. We need to give credit to people who come up with hypotheses and prove them wrong.” As we continue to take risks, we build new competencies for ourselves, our teams, and our organizations.

Enthusiasm is a secret weapon that high performers use to get farther in their careers. A quote was shared over the week from Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last: “When I find myself getting nervous, I say to myself, ‘This is so exciting’”.

This quote really resonated with me as something to take through my professional and personal life. The enthusiasm you find in your work and the passion you exude rubs off on others, inviting them to believe in your ideas too.

Technology & the consumer: where to next?

Technology is raising the consumer’s expectations. Through devices like Alexa (with over 100 million devices sold), consumers have higher standards for how they can buy things, where they can buy them, and how quickly they can get them. AR/VR/AI is here, and consumers are going to come to expect it from all brands.

To stand out and win in the market, brands need to combat a technological overload by delivering personal, relevant experiences for every customer and prospect.

Data is the secret weapon

Data is our secret weapon, and data-driven creativity will be a strategic differentiator in the customer experience.

During a session, McKinsey shared some figures on the value of data literacy for brands:

  • 50% of customers are willing to purchase more if they are delivered a customized experience
  • 83% of consumers want personal experiences with the companies they are doing business with, but only 23% feel they get it

Nadella also delivered a keynote on transformative leadership, noting the importance of “unlocking the power of your data”. As our data collection and knowledge grows, our need to understand and leverage the information accurately grows with it. A large amount of data can create next generation experiences when used correctly.

Data combined with emerging technologies (again, think Amazon, which is employing thousands of people to listen to your conversations), will take customer experiences to new heights. 

The greatest asset you have is your data, except sometimes it’s locked in silos. You need access to all the data you have to make your customer interactions better. Instead of each department in your organization looking at their own data set and reporting on it, it’s time to compile a single source of truth.

Once you have all your data in one place, it’ll be easy to break it down and leverage information your advantage. The quicker you get your data in order, the quicker you can drive growth for your business.