Marketing to CMOs: The Unique Challenges of Adobe’s Executive Engagement and ABM Programs

  • 09 Dec 2020

Momentum ITSMA

A recent conversation with Adobe sheds light on how their Executive Engagement and Account-Based Marketing programs complement each other.

In episode 11 of the C-Suite Marketing podcast, I have the pleasure of learning about how the Executive Engagement and Account-Based Marketing programs at Adobe complement each other. I sat down with Adobe’s Erica Fensom, Director, Executive Marketing and Customer Communications, and Heidi Eisenstein, formerly the Head of Enterprise ABM Field Marketing for the Americas.*

What’s interesting to me about Adobe is that its primary audience is marketing, so the executives that Erica and her team are trying to reach are the CMOs, CIOs, and CDOs (Chief Digital Officer) – the same audiences ITSMA engages with.

Both Erica and Heidi are orchestrating a number of touchpoints, so even though they are on different teams they make a concerted effort to work together and keep the needs of the customer top of mind. I asked what senior marketing executives want from Adobe right now and the answer is similar to what I’ve heard about all C-level executives: they want a rich, seamless customer experience every time they come into contact with you.

Heading into the end of 2020, CMOs are concerned about how their businesses will keep transforming and shifting into the new year – and what marketing’s role will be. For example, the holiday season presents both challenges and opportunities for retail marketers given that the increase in online spending we’ve seen in the past will be accelerated this year. CMOs need to capitalize on this.

Many of Adobe’s C-suite clients are planning for even more shifts in the future. They’re concerned about keeping up with the pace of change, making decisions more quickly, implementing new client programs, and bringing their teams along. These are some of the questions Erica hears in the executive briefings her team runs.

Some CMOs see the current environment as a way to take risks and do things differently; Heidi and Erica are working with their teams to support these CMOs in trying out new online engagement platforms, new digital programs, and changes in investment structure to drive ROI.

What Erica and Heidi see is CMOs who need to lead teams differently, engage with them in new ways, and encourage them to stretch their skillsets. CMOs are really questioning how to best structure marketing teams given this new environment. Events won’t be fully in person for a while; how do you build your team for virtual events? Who do you hire? How do you retrain people?

To ensure Adobe marketing serves their clients’ core objectives, Heidi’s team recently created a Center of Excellence Model within ABM that strategically aligns marketing with sales. They also focus on genuine, authentic conversations with clients, understanding that in uncertain times, the right messaging and tone is almost more important than the client experience. The goal is to maintain connections with clients to see them through these difficult times.

Which we all ultimately want.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How the team quickly pivoted Adobe Summit, their biggest marketing event of the year, in March 2020
  • How they achieved 77% attendance at C-level briefings
  • Tips for designing the executive experience
  • When it makes sense to incorporate executive engagement with ABM
  • Ways that working with sales has changed
  • And more

*Heidi Eisenstein left Adobe in October after this episode was recorded. Erica Fensom remains with Adobe.

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