How Adobe’s social team tied ‘Hack The Bracket’ to sales wins with Stoke Pulse

Adobe Stoke Pulse
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Adobe says it has been able to tie the results of enterprise social media activity like its recent ‘Hack The Bracket’ campaign directly to revenue for the first time thanks to a system designed by content marketing agency, Stoke.

Speaking at Content Marketing World in Cleveland last week, Adobe’s head of social media for its Experience Cloud suite, Mark Boothe said the company has worked with the Stoke product, dubbed Stoke Pulse, to track metrics such as “influence to close” a purchase as well as “influence to create” a conversation with a buyer.

This is a far cry from he described as the antiquated measurement that has been prevalent in content marketing circles for years.

“We tell ourselves engagement is a like, a tweet, whatever. Does that actually drive the business? Uhhhh, debatable,” he said. “We put engagements on a slide like it’s a trophy, and yet it does nothing to get us further ahead.”

Stoke Pulse works by taking data from web site cookies and stitching together a Adobe visitor ID with an identifier within Adobe’s customer relationship management system (CRM). The system is designed to work with major CRM platforms including Salesforce’s Sales Cloud as well as Microsoft Dynamics, according to the agency’s chief data officer Sam Fonoimoana.

This means marketers can track everything from touches to closed deals based on how a buyer might read an article shared through a social channel like LinkedIn or Twitter, something they’ve not been exposed to before, he said. 

“As much as marketers talk about the customer journey, they hardly look at it,” he said.

Adobe tested out Stoke Pulse in ‘Hack The Bracket,’ which let prospects and customers get a better sense of how Adobe Enterprise Suite would offer advanced analytics by picking their favorite NCAA teams and looking at their probability of winning games. Boothe said Adobe worked with a data provider called SportRadar to license college basketball data to fuel its Adobe Analytics software. The campaign was promoted through a wide range of social media content, he said.

Stoke Pulse let Boothe and his team see the social content drove more than $5 million in “influence to close” since Hack The Bracket launched in March.

“I can see individual accounts — a large telecom company, pro sports companies. I can see at the account level, kind of content, what is it that they did (with the content).”

Adobe took things a step further with a more recent campaign called Defend With Data, which took a similar approach using information related to the NBA Finals that helped draw attention to its Experience Cloud launch. Boothe said social content developed for the campaign has driven more than $2 million in “influence to create” metrics so far, with a deal count of 19.

“This is not attribution modelling,” he said. “If you are in a B2B space, there are likely hundreds of touches in a deal cycle. What are the chances of your one blog post getting the credit for that deal?”

Stoke managing director Laurie Lohner said the agency had started out by offering writing and other traditional content marketing services but recognized a gap in proving the return on investment (ROI) among many clients.

“Most B2B sales occur offline. It’s extremely challenging to tie information together from CRM and analytics to know what to create in terms of future content to positively affect sales,” he said. “This is a dashboard that anyone can access.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.