Jay Henderson — the director of offering and product management for IBM Marketing Cloud — spoke to Target Marketing about cloud platforms and how IBM Marketing Cloud aims to simplify, coordinate and make marketers smarter.
What are marketers looking for in a cloud platform?
Marketers demand marketing platforms that help them coordinate and simplify complex business processes, and simplify how the work of marketing is accomplished within their organizations. They also ask that these platforms help track ... marketing performance and allow them to better understand customer behaviors and actions, so they can understand them in context.
When it comes to actually using the platform, what capabilities are most important to marketing success?
For today’s marketers, there are several key capabilities that are crucial, all of which are critical to driving success. Marketers first are looking for a platform that offers quick time to value, as well as one that adds materially to the bottom line (and can show its contribution).
At the same time, marketers need to ensure they can continue to leverage existing investments and tap into new social channels, all in a safe and secure environment. As a result, they require a platform that is open enough to integrate with the other technologies in their ecosystem as well as emerging social channels, is agile, capable of working with existing business processes, and is secure and reliable.
Lastly, marketers demand a platform that improves their customer service. Specifically, they seek one that offers insights and contributes to incremental improvement for its users, making them smarter and more knowledgeable about their end consumers.
Is there a gap in what marketers look for and need?
Smart marketers typically have a good grasp of what business needs they are trying to solve. ... Some key areas of consideration include:
- Understanding who owns the data in the platform
- Understanding how a new marketing platform works with their existing systems
- Thinking about how a platform is going to be able to answer today’s problems, but also scale to support the problems and ambitions of companies as they grow
What capabilities are going to be more important for marketing clouds to offer during the next five years?
These five capabilities will be the most important:
- Personalization in real-time (channel, content, context)
- Goal-oriented marketing
- Ability to communicate on different mobile channels depending on the ever-changing customer journey
- Control of where data is used and ability to easily move it around
- Cognitive capabilities, particularly in marketing
What’s going to determine who wins “The Cloud Wars”?
It’s not going to be about who can buy the most companies and have the most comprehensive suite. The winners will be the vendors who understand that marketers want to work with best-of-breed platforms and can provide them with a system that is open to working collaboratively with other technologies, so they can collaborate on designing customer journeys, analyze journeys across channels and gain a contextual view of customers. They also demand a platform that is open to the full marketing process, which often involves other departments (sales, etc.).