Brandon Hartness — the marketing cloud evangelist for Adobe Systems — spoke to Target Marketing about cloud platforms and how Adobe Marketing Cloud is designed to make things easy for marketers and IT.
What are marketers looking for in a cloud platform?
There’s really a number of things they’re looking for.
To a large degree, they’re looking to remove the burden from IT. IT doesn’t want to or need to maintain the infrastructure of delivery-based marketing platforms. … It’s just about having a platform that they can easily engage with. … [That] the marketer can easily make changes to.
They also want to make sure that the technology they choose is really an integrated platform. It’s integrated across all of the channels where they’re marketing their communication, but it’s also integrated into their existing systems. … The real-time aspect is what they’re looking to remove from the IT team and place in marketers’ hands — because they need to be real-time, and they need to act fast delivering marketing messaging.
When it comes to actually using the platform, what capabilities are most important to marketing success?
We need to make sure that the marketing technology is easy to deploy, first off, to get it into the marketing channels where they’re marketing. Whether that’s their typical desktop websites, or maybe it’s a mobile application or multiple mobile applications. ...
As we’re seeing this content and this data being distributed across all of these different channels, we also need to make sure it’s easy to use, because we’re not just talking about a single persona that’s managing a single channel anymore. We have a marketing organization working together, and we need to make sure that technology they’re using is somewhat seamless, to where the marketer can bounce between perhaps analytics and content and targeting and optimization and so on, and it’s a familiar environment and easy-to-use environment.
Then, lastly, integration into the existing systems. They’re always going to have their enterprise data that’s behind their firewalls. They’re always going to have multiple vendors, and really we just need to make sure that the technology and the platform that they’re using is compatible with both enterprise and third-party vendors. … They’re going to onboard a tool like Adobe Marketing Cloud and they’re going to deploy a number of our solutions, but they still may have ExactTarget for email, and they’re going to be using Salesforce for CRM. Then, they’re going to have SAS for their enterprise data that’s behind their firewall. The data platform and the marketing platform that they’re using just needs to have the connectors to be able to ingest data, as well as push data out to additional parties.
Is there a gap in what marketers look for and need?
I would say there’s always going to be a gap. Particularly, where we see those gaps are when customers really look to onboard a lot of technology all at once.
The technology isn’t going to do everything. ... There’s an increased need for teams to work together within an organization.
We end up in a lot of executive-level meetings where we’ll go out to a large customer, and in the board room they’ll bring in their analytics team and their content optimization team and their content management team and their acquisition teams, and we find that we make introductions amongst themselves. They’ve never actually met each other, and it’s really shocking that organizations actually work like that.
What capabilities are going to be more important for marketing clouds to offer during the next five years?
We see a lot more data collection: … The apps and the iPhones and the Windows devices and the Android devices and so on, and then we extend that into Internet of Things. Now we’re talking about Apple Watch data collection, we’re talking about Sony PlayStation and Xbox data collection.
How do you counsel your customers in defining the parameters and setting up an attribution model? [Special thanks to TM blogger Chuck McLeester for suggesting this question.]
The guidance that I would provide for algorithmic attribution (or any attribution, for that matter) would be that the customer create at least two versions of the models — one for paid media ONLY attribution (which most clients must have) and then another version of the same attribution model for both paid media and owned touch types.
This bridges attribution into the realm of customer journey attribution across all interactions between a brand and a customer/prospect. Consulting would provide guidance on what key touches (especially owned) to include, so as to not bias the model too much towards interactions that are required for conversion — these should be owned independent interactions that are NOT required for conversion to occur (e.g., video view or seeing ratings and reviews on a product detail page).
Beyond that, there is always the guidance of accounting for viewability of display ads that consulting usually helps with.
What’s going to determine who wins “The Cloud Wars”?
It comes down to integration. …
If we look back, let’s say five years to the old … integrations that we provided back then, [they] were basically a JAVA script plug-in that sat on the page that fired one data collection call into [Omniture] SiteCatalyst and then a data collection call into [Omniture] Test and Target. While we could say that they were integrated, it was still kind of a hack. ...
Now we’re able to share data between all of the marketing cloud solutions, and we’re able to share creative content across all of the marketing cloud solutions.
I think that what’s going to determine who wins is who’s most successful going down that path.