“Marketing clouds” is one of the most overhyped marketing terms used in the first half of this decade. When marketers are building what they think is a marketing cloud, they are creating “Frankenclouds” – a disjointed suite of technologies that have been assembled through acquisition and simply don’t play well together.
By 2015 standards, “marketing clouds” is a term meant to obfuscate the complexities of using a broad suite of separate tools. Moreover, this means that marketers will undoubtedly need expensive help from managed service providers (MSPs) to successfully operate them.
These marketing technology vendors lack what leading analysts call a “…broad marketing application portfolio on a one-code base.” Why is this important? Because that one-code base gives marketers what they need to work in nearly any format at any time from a single source of data. Having a single code base supporting a broad marketing application portfolio means that the marketer will have easy access to a broad selection of functionalities across traditional and real-time digital marketing.
This means if a customer purchased something last week and tweeted their unhappiness with a product minutes before or while they’re on hold with customer service, that the customer service representative will have instant access to all of that information. Moreover, with real-time decisioning via machine learning, can be presented with an offer or resolution based on that customer’s recent actions that might be most appealing to that customer.
Marketers are faced with seemingly never-ending volumes of data, and not only are they to master their data, they need to gain real-time insights from it. Working with a disjointed marketing technology architecture leaves the marketer at a severe disadvantage from their competitors.
Marketing architectures developed before Facebook launched are legacy technologies not built for the social media age and are experiencing a slow fade. As the IoT movement marches on and wearables gain more traction, marketers will be even more deluged with data, further complicating the integration problem. Rest assured, Frankenclouds are going to prove once and for all that no amount of marketing hype can change an undeniable outcome – the push for single source code with a dedicated, well managed, service-based connectivity layer.
2016 is going to be the year that marketing clouds mature. Marketers will no longer see cloud-only marketing solutions or disjointed Frankenclouds, neither of which work well with their disparate customer data troves. Technologies and processes are moving ahead so that marketers can operate with a single source code on premise, in the cloud or hybrid, with a fully integrated platform they can run themselves. We have already started this initiative with Microsoft Azure, and as part of the natural evolution, will expand our offering in 2016.
True marketing clouds give marketers the preparedness they need to connect with customers, no matter what channel they’re using. Marketers will gain accurate insight and execute immediate actions based on all of their managed customer data. The second half of this decade is going to be remembered as the maturation of marketing into the cloud. The Frankencloud will, like other patched-together legacy technologies, find its place in history as a stepping stone to something greater.