by Aaron Lazenby, February 2014
Oracle’s Eloqua Experience 2013 was the biggest event in the show’s history, boasting 2,000 attendees and more than 50 partners and sponsors. And according to Kevin Akeroyd, senior vice president of Oracle Eloqua, the success of the conference demonstrates just how much the role of today’s marketing executive is expanding.
“Modern marketers have never been in the spotlight more, never been more empowered, never been more influential,” says Akeroyd. “Marketing executives also have never had more technology and program spend to go drive the company’s results.”
But he says this is causing some anxiety, as marketers work to take advantage of trends such as big data and social media to ensure their messages are reaching customers. Here, Akeroyd talks to Profit about the marketing challenges on the horizon and how Oracle Marketing Cloud is helping modern marketers navigate this evolving landscape.
Profit: What are the toughest challenges facing today’s marketing executives?
Akeroyd: Marketers have asked for more control and budget, and now that they’ve been empowered, they have massive accountability to the CFO, CIO, and the board. They need the data, tracking, and the reporting tools to prove that their marketing is working.
Also, for so long, marketing has been too siloed—with different vice presidents for online, social, mobile, analytics, and more. This isn’t exactly optimal, because each of these VPs has separate interactions with customers, including spending separate budget to reach them. The forward-thinking modern marketer must change to develop a very coordinated, performance-based, effective, holistic, multichannel marketing approach. That means mastering traditional channels, as well as e-mail, web, mobile, the ad landscape, and more.
Profit: How does a holistic approach to marketing help meet those challenges?
Akeroyd: It starts by making sure your marketers are customer obsessed and using technology to capture all the data from all channels. By immersing themselves in customer data, marketers can understand who their customers and prospects really are—and what they really want. That puts marketers in a much better position to serve up the best content at a time that’s most appropriate for each individual customer.
Modern marketing is a performance discipline. From the very first time the marketer hits potential customers with an impression—a radio spot, a TV ad, a social impression, or a banner ad—that’s marketing. And the marketer must continue to nurture those leads as they start actually evaluating the product or service and are ready to purchase.
But marketing cannot end with the purchase. Marketers must work with customers to find new up-sell, cross-sell, retention, upgrade, and loyalty-building opportunities. It’s through this ongoing conversation that marketing can build loyal customers into evangelists, influencers, and advocates—making customers a large part of marketing’s selling, branding, and advertising strategy.
Profit: How does this change the relationship between the marketing and IT departments?
By immersing themselves in customer data, marketers can understand who their customers and prospects really are—and what they really want.
Akeroyd: It all starts with an essential mantra: marketing can no longer be effective with an ad hoc approach. That is standard business these days—marketers using 21 different software tools, establishing 21 different business processes, managing 21 different databases, and making 21 trips to IT for support.
We announced the Oracle Marketing Cloud solution at Oracle OpenWorld as an alternative. It integrates Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud Service solutions and Oracle Social Relationship Management Cloud Service solutions, allowing marketers to manage digital interactions from a single platform. That gives marketers the campaign management and analytics tools so content can be tagged, tracked, and analyzed across all channels, including social channels.
Profit: In October, Oracle bought cloud-based content marketing provider Compendium. What impact will this have on Oracle Marketing Cloud?
Akeroyd: Some people believe marketing is all about the lists, or the segmentation, or the brand. It’s great to get very sophisticated customer and channel data—but if you can’t back up that insight with relevant, contextual content, you’re falling short of the goal. Content is king, and I think marketers are realizing that.
Compendium aligns relevant content with customer data and profiles. This gives marketers the ability to manage the right message in the right channel at the right time in the right context across millions of customers. This will allow marketers to initiate campaigns cross-channel and draw upon Compendium’s technology to reinforce these campaigns with the right content for each customer touchpoint. We think this is one of the most important tools in the modern marketer’s toolbox—and our competition just flat out doesn’t have an offering.
Aaron Lazenby is editor in chief of Profit.