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March 2014

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Manufacturers Reap Rewards from Social Marketing with Oracle Cloud

Digital marketing has become an essential component for forging closer ties with customers and engaging with them during the sales cycle and beyond. A growing number of industrial manufacturers are now putting this idea into practice and reaping rewards for product development and more efficient supply chain management, says Andrea Ward, vice president of Oracle Marketing Cloud, and Pierre Custeau, Oracle senior manager, industry solutions, manufacturing. In the following interview, Ward and Custeau elaborate on the growing use of social marketing in manufacturing.

Q: What industrial manufacturing companies are becoming leaders in social marketing?
Custeau: We're seeing exciting and innovative marketing happening at companies such as AGCO, the Dow Chemical Company, Eaton Corp., Molex, and Rockwell Automation. What's different is that in the past many manufacturers were product-centric; now leading companies are becoming more customer-centric thanks to social media. For example, they're listening to customers to guide product development and cultivate new ideas about product features.

Q: How does Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud Service help these efforts?
Ward: Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud Service is a marketing-automation platform that is part of Oracle Marketing Cloud. Marketing executives use it to target customers and prospects with the right content at the right time and guide them throughout the entire customer experience lifecycle. Marketing can then hand a richer customer profile to the sales department that includes all the digital touchpoints that have taken place with each customer.

Q: Why is having this information so important?
Ward: It ensures that salespeople come into the conversation at the right time—when the customer wants to engage with them. This is important because customers now educate themselves online about companies, products, and services before they ever talk to a salesperson or walk into a store. Because marketers own that digital interaction with the customers, their role in the overall customer experience is becoming more and more essential.

Q: What's the impact of social marketing on value chains?
Custeau: Most manufacturers acknowledge that they need more collaboration and coordination throughout their supply chains, from sourcing to distribution networks. With Oracle Marketing Cloud, manufacturers can share a consistent message throughout the supply chain, and also engage with partners in a personalized manner and in a way that will scale, even for manufacturers with hundreds of thousands of partners.

Q: What advice can you offer manufacturers for being more successful with social marketing?
Ward: People often start with social marketing by creating a Facebook page and trying to attract fans, likes, and followers to it. But a more effective strategy is to use social networks within an integrated campaign designed to engage with customers. In other words, it's important for manufacturers to look at the entire picture and link traditional marketing efforts to a solid content marketing strategy which also links to social. For example, social marketing is effective for reaching customers during later stages of the sales cycle. So when consumers are considering making a purchase, they will be heavily influenced by individuals in their social communities. Manufacturers need to tie social marketing into a multichannel engagement approach rather than looking at it as a separate strategy. That's how we're seeing folks developing more-advanced social strategies.

Learn more about Oracle Eloqua solutions and watch a webcast about social marketing, "Managing Social Relationships for the Enterprise."

To read and participate in discussions about digital marketing best practices join Topliners, an open community for marketers.

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