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The Intersection of Art and Experience

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Q&A with Jennifer Heaton of Adobe

Being named to both the Event Marketer B-to-B Dream Team and the BizBash Innovators list in the same year is no small feat. But those are the exact accolades bestowed upon Jennifer Heaton, senior group manager, event marketing at Adobe — and for good reason. She’s spent her career combining art and events to create brand experiences that get people buzzing. Here, we talk with Jennifer about her career, why events are important to Adobe, and the simple, but effective, way she measures success. 

Q: Tell us about your career — how did you get to where you are today?

JH: I started off in the arts community in San Francisco before moving into the tech industry and this still plays a big role in my career today. Building on this experience, I use my creative eye for finding new opportunities to create memorable experiences for Adobe’s events and continue expanding our programs. I always try to add a creative signature in all my event marketing work, which drives me to think about unique ways we can create memorable event experiences for Adobe’s customers.

The wave of inspiration that comes from a live event is undeniable.

Jennifer Heaton, Adobe

Q: So, how do you come up with the “big ideas” or creative approaches that activate your programs? 

JH: It’s a group effort for sure. We will bring our entire team to a brainstorm meeting (regardless of role or function) and everyone throws out ideas. All ideas are great ones. I love this process because every person has had a different set of experiences and interests — it’s amazing what comes out of those meetings as a result. The tough challenge is whittling down the list!

Q: Why is it important to get customers interacting with your brand in a live setting?

JH: The power of a live setting is incomparable. The ability to explore and discover — to experience the enthusiasm of others and feel the wave of inspiration that comes from a live event is undeniable. We have a lot of returning customers to our flagship events such as Adobe MAX and Adobe Summit, and those people are our best marketing tool. Our customers have also played a big role in the evolution of Adobe’s conferences. For example, in its beginning years, MAX was primarily seen as a developer conference. But as it’s evolved to attract a greater numbers of creatives, the event is now widely known as a creativity conference.

Q: How do you measure the success of your programs? 

JH: I measure success for the events I produce quite simply: if the phones are out and people are capturing the moment, it means that it was something worth sharing or remembering. I thrive on their reactions — the wonder, the delight, the discovery. I always try to incorporate three main elements into events: creativity, surprise and delight, and interactivity — offering attendees the opportunity to be hands-on and leave their mark.

Q: What’s your favorite book and why?

JH: I have so many favorites, but a recent read that has stayed with me is Romantic Outlaws. It’s about the lives of mother and daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Their lives are intertwined between alternating chapters — mother and daughter shadow and reveal each other showcasing how Shelley’s life was shaped by her mother, who died 10 days after giving birth to Shelley, and her legacy. Both were incredibly powerful, vocal, and driven women who had to work out how to stand alone (a true feat during their time) to become their best and bravest.

Want more from the Event Marketer B-to-B Dream Team? Read our Q&A with Helen Stoddard of Twitter

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