Lewnes also serves as Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development for the company.
We’d like to congratulate Ann Lewnes and the Adobe team for an outstanding Q1 2022 performance.
Adobe hauled in a record revenue of $4.26 billion. That’s a 9% year-over-year growth and a 17% adjusted growth.
Net income came in at $1.27 billion and cash flow from operations reached $1.77 billion.
“Adobe achieved record Q1 revenue as Creative Cloud, Document Cloud and Experience Cloud continue to be pivotal in driving the digital economy,” said CEO and Chairman Shantanu Narayen. “Adobe is committed to empowering individuals, transforming businesses and connecting communities.”
That’s the kind of success that great marketing brings a company.
At Adobe, that great marketing comes from Ann Lewnes.
Lewnes’ Marketing Legacy
Lewnes has served as Adobe CMO for over 15 years. During her tenure there, the company’s stock price rose more than 800%.
Also during that time, Adobe, as a brand, became a household name known for producing one of the most popular photo-editing applications on the planet: Photoshop.
But the company does so much more than that. Its portfolio of creative solutions includes video editing, audio mixing, and even web design tools.
In fact, Adobe also produces digital marketing solutions. And it was Lewnes and her team who moved the company in that direction.
“It matters hugely,” says Lewnes. “The brand was built off the backs of our products, Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash, brands that people love. But people don’t have a depth of knowledge of what our business is like or where we are going.”
Before joining Adobe, Lewnes worked for 20 years for Intel. As VP of Marketing for that company, she built the well-known “Intel Inside” brand.
Since you’ve already heard of that, you know that messaging was effective.
According to the Adobe website: “Ann has been named one of the world’s most influential CMOs by Forbes and one of the most innovative CMOs by Business Insider.
The American Advertising Foundation elected her into its Hall of Achievement. In 2019, Ann was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame. In 2020, she received the New York Women in Communication’s Matrix Award.”
Ann Lewnes Launches her Career
Lewnes didn’t start off in marketing. She went to school as a journalism and engineering major.
According to her, she was a very creative person. She wanted to be a journalist.
Then Lewnes graduated. And things changed.
She drove to Silicon Valley in her little Honda Civic, hoping to land a job.
“Literally nothing was there,” she told Bustle when speaking about her early years.
She snagged a couple of offers despite the recession, though. One was with a lifestyle magazine and another with a company called Intel.
Lewnes started with the communications team at Intel. It was her job to create a campaign about PC microprocessors.
Boring subject. But she delivered amazing results.
Intel Inside was born.
“When I joined Intel we were completely unknown. Nobody knew that Intel was in the microprocessor business. Nobody knew or cared what a microprocessor was,” she tells Marketing Week.
In fact, she’s credited with inventing interactive advertising. She created the first internet Super bowl ad for Intel in 1998. The TV ad asked customers to log onto their website and select their preferred ending from 2 choices.
To their surprise, 400,000 people headed to the website to vote. 5% of all Super Bowl viewers of that year engaged with their ad.
When she joined Intel, the company was worth about a billion dollars. It makes sense that when she left, twenty years later to join Adobe, Intel was valued at $40 billion.
Lewnes’ Busy Day
On a typical day, Lewnes says she juggles about 10 different responsibilities.
Lewnes says that the ability to quickly change her frame of mind as she goes from one responsibility to the next is important for a senior leader.
“I came from 20 years at Intel and was looking for a job where I could do everything. It all fits together in my mind, it’s inextricably linked, although I know many organizations don’t see it the same way Adobe does.
It’s a privilege as a marketer to have control of all these things. The more marketing progresses, the more all of these disciplines and responsibilities blend together. Social media is widely seen as the latest and most evolved incarnation of PR. But then I would also qualify anything I do on Facebook as advertising, not just social media.”
Still, she says it’s exhausting.
The Best Career Advice Lewnes has Recieved
Lewnes says that the best advice she received is to avoid “going to the mat” for everything.
“I get super passionate about things, it’s my nature,” she says. “I would say save yourself for the things that really, really, really matter.”
She gives her team members the same advice.
Along those lines, Lewnes says she still struggles with spreading herself too thin. She knows that she’ll never be successful if she doesn’t prioritize. But it’s hard for her because there’s so much she wants to do.
Finally, Lewnes says the worst advice she could ever give is to encourage people to not be themselves.
“When I first went to Adobe, it was so culturally antithetical to Intel,” she says.
“Intel was just a very rough and tumble kind of place, very direct. When I went to Adobe, it was completely different, extremely kind and courteous. For a year, I didn’t feel comfortable being myself.
I said to my husband, I don’t think I can work here unless I start to really be me. And so I went to work, and I started to be me. It was the turning point for me, quite frankly, because it’s very hard to constrain yourself.”
Wrapping It Up
Ann Lewnes deserves a statue in the museum of American marketing heroes for her role in the “Intel Inside” campaign.
But she’s continued her great marketing efforts at Adobe. The company’s success proves that.
I look forward to seeing where she takes the company from here.