In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Oracle has rolled out several enhancements to its Marketing Cloud designed to help companies develop a more holistic view of their customers and unify their data strategy.
Among the new features unveiled at Oracle's Modern Marketing Experience event this week in Las Vegas are Oracle ID Graph, Rapid Retargeter and AppCloud Connect.
Oracle ID Graph is designed to help marketers connect the many identities a consumer may have across channels and devices and understand that they all belong to the same person.
"Customers interact with companies in dozens of highly fragmented touchpoints," said Kevin Akeroyd, general manager for the Oracle Marketing Cloud. "Most companies can't put together the 'you' they know in each of those -- you end up being 17 different customers in 17 different databases within one company."
By surfacing the person behind all those identities, the new capabilities are designed to help marketers orchestrate a consistent and personalized experience, Oracle said.
Rapid Retargeter, meanwhile, works toward a similar goal by enabling marketers to tailor customer interactions as they happen and deliver the most relevant and timely message. When a shopper abandons an online shopping cart, for instance, the marketer can immediately send an email reminder of the cart's contents.
AppCloud Connect, on the other hand, is a set of APIs and open frameworks designed to enable organisations and technology vendors to leverage apps and media within the context of Oracle Marketing Cloud.
Focusing on the data-management portion of the Oracle Marketing Cloud, meanwhile, are two new features designed to help marketers connect audience data from across disparate marketing tools for better targeting.
New Lookalike Modeling capabilities aim to make it easy for users to transfer audience data into the data-management platform, where a self-learning algorithm and automated workflow can help identify a target audience. OnDemand On-Board capabilities allow marketers to import data from their Web analytics platforms and use it as audience data within the data-management platform.
Oracle Marketing Cloud vice-president customer success and consulting, Paul Cross, pointed out the company is just 12-24 months into consolidating its core marketing products into one suite of solutions. The new features and functionality released this week would not have been possible without these integration efforts and are proof points of its growing capabilities for omni-channel, data-driven marketers, he said.
Oracle’s Marketing Cloud has evolved thanks to a host of acquisitions in recent years including Responsys and Eloqua (cross-channel campaign management), Compendium (content marketing), data management (BlueKai), and social marketing solutions (Vitrue, Collective Intellect and Involver).
“We’ve continually been asked about what that integration looks like – this is the what,” Cross told CMO. “You’re now seeing features that couldn’t have been delivered without all the data, orchestration and content in one place.”
The more integrated play is a boost to Oracle’s efforts to convince customers of the value of its whole suite of solutions. And Cross claimed that much like the vendor’s own efforts to offer a complete suite of capabilities for marketers, loyal customers of point solutions like Responsys and Eloqua, are growing in sophistication and becoming more aware of the need for additional capabilities, such as unified data management.
But despite its desire to have customers adopt the full Marketing Cloud, Cross said Oracle is equally committed to integrating with third-party platforms and noted about 200 partners now participate in its app centre that connect with the Marketing Cloud.
Unlike other operational functions such as HR or finance, marketing teams across different organisations and industries had vastly different and often unique needs when it comes to the technology capabilities they require. As a result, it’s important for Oracle to also support customers that choose to use just one of its platforms, and integrate with other third-party systems, he said.
“If we are going to be a dominant player and serve customers, we have to serve them what they want to be served,” he said. “All customers have a different collection of platform that they feel is the best to do what they want to achieve. Sometimes that is all Oracle, or it may not be.
“We are just as committed to openness and giving customers the opportunity to choose and integrate solutions from other partners, but we’ll also do everything we can for them if they choose multiple Oracle solutions.”
Oracle also announced new integrations between Oracle Marketing Cloud and the company's Commerce and WebCenter Sites products. The goal, once again, is to unify the platforms, people and processes underlying the customer experience for more consistent messaging and branding.
"It's no longer acceptable to treat the customer as 17 different people," Akeroyd said. "CIOs and CMOs need to be locked at the hip."
“It was a no brainer from day one to make it easier for customers using our commerce and WebCentre platforms to bring that together with sharing and management of content they have in the marketing cloud as well as the other way around,” Cross added.