Brian Weiss — the CTO of HP Software — spoke to Target Marketing about cloud platforms and how HP Hub aims increase speed and accessibility to enable marketers to understand their customers.
What are marketers looking for in a cloud platform?
Above all: speed and accessibility. Eighty-nine percent of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience, but the reality is that delivering new and compelling experiences is hard. Most of the underlying technology is antiquated and wasn’t imagined for all the places we deliver experiences today.
Marketers often find themselves trapped by external dependencies — whether the IT department or external agencies — for execution. They need to move with velocity, gathering accurate, useful information to inform decisive, timely action. These dependencies create inefficiency and hamper their ability to do so.
Marketers are clamoring for platforms that facilitate and accelerate the collaborative process, giving them the information they need when they need it, and empowering timely creation and distribution of content. They need slick tools to find, activate and analyze content, combining utility, usability and accessibility.
Our approach with HP Hub is to deliver on these criteria, building on a strong foundation of enterprise-grade software to give marketers what they need to tackle the challenges they face.
When it comes to actually using the platform, what capabilities are most important to marketing success?
It’s essential to have a seamless, singular platform to go from content creation to campaign. The content supply chain for delivering experiences is broken. Marketers need a means to understand their customers holistically and to manage consistent, compelling experiences across every channel.
Think of a large, diversified financial services company — with 50 million customers across diverse products, like checking accounts, mortgages and credit cards. How many different customer interactions take place every day? Across how many channels? The businesses that optimize customer experiences across every touchpoint are the ones that will win.
Lots of products focus on solving a single problem, but governance and interoperability get real complex, real fast. There are already many groups involved in a typical campaign, from creation, approval, execution and follow-up. Adding more different tools to that increases the system-specific expertise, support and turnaround time needed to make it happen. It’s too much; marketers can’t afford the time it takes to go through that every time they launch a campaign. They need empowering to drive this crucial activity themselves.
Is there a gap in what marketers look for and need?
A paradigm shift is occurring, from one-way, manual, rules-based processes to processes that help businesses engage and convert at-scale through two-way algorithmic methods.
There’s a tension between comprehensiveness and usability. The focus has typically been on finding tools to satisfy every minute use case, which leads to bloated and unwieldy systems with worsening performance, usability and user adoption.
Marketers need tools that reduce dependency on IT. A successful tool must streamline processes, not complicate them. Marketers know what they need for the job they’re trying to accomplish, but don’t always think in terms of a holistic toolset balancing ease, impact and power.
What capabilities are going to be more important for marketing clouds to offer during the next five years?
Principally: ease of use and analytics. One key value proposition of the cloud is improving accessibility without compromising usability or capability. There will also be new functions, new ways to do things we do already (unhindered by those external dependencies) or new channels and approaches, like augmented reality or real-time feedback and analytics. It’s important that marketing clouds deliver on these, while still striking that balance between comprehensiveness and usability.
The mode of thinking behind them will change. In the next 10 years, 75 percent of the workforce will be “born digital.” They will distinguish less between enterprise and consumer approaches. This is critical to informing the design and development of enterprise tools. Platforms need to enable easy ways to author and curate content in simple cloud and mobile-aware applications that embrace app-centric models. The tools are still enterprise-grade, but the way in which people use them has changed.
What types of companies gain most from working with a marketing cloud?
There are no specific industries that get strictly more advantage from using marketing clouds. It’s most relevant to businesses that rely on speed, agility and effective analytic insight in delivering customer experiences. That’s already a huge proportion of businesses, but that number will grow aggressively — as noted [before], 89 percent of businesses plan to compete primarily on this basis.
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.]
First, we look at the types of activities they undertake and assess what they can already measure. Our goal is to marry activity with analytics. Often, what gets measured is just everything that they can measure; it’s not always looked at in terms of the discrete activities that are occurring. This cloud-based approach allows companies to match attribution closely to what is actually happening. We look to give focused, relevant analytics for different activities in a way that’s easy for marketers to use and access.
It’s powerful, enterprise-grade technology delivered through a user-centric app.