The Wednesday Stack: Connecting the Dots, and Tracking Them Too

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Stack logo by Hilary Allison
Stack logo by Hilary Allison

Oracle Marketing Cloud made a play in the data game yesterday with the twin launch of Oracle Infinity and Oracle CX Audience. Yes, the moves are all about customer experience and personalization; but picking apart what the announcements mean in practice isn't immediately easy. I had assistance from the cloud's SVP, Shashi Seth.

"CX  Audience is intended to allow marketers to build audiences by demographics, web behavior, purchase and billing data, and much more. You can bring all your first-party data to bear, but more interestingly you can also bring in third-party data from Oracle Data Cloud. Datalogix is integrated into CX Audience, so you can do some sophisticated things." Like building an audience of college students of a certain age in a defined location, then bringing in third-party date to identify iPhone lovers. "That allows you to have really precise targeting and conversations with your customers."

Next up, what Seth calls "digital intelligence," or data on how customers are engaging with brands — whatever the device or channel. "Oracle Infinity's job is to be a tag on your website, mobile website, or app, so that we can understand the user and connect the dots on what they were up to, and use the data in real time. You're no longer doing sampling; you're getting real data on your customers and their engagement, so you can use it for very sophisticated marketing."

I needed help differentiating the data driving audience building within CX Audience from the first-party data aggregated within the new Infinity offering. "We do have APIs available in Infinity to allow our customers to bring in data from other sources as well, sometimes not even tagged. For example data from Facebook, from a third-party service cloud, or from a different loyalty program." Data from Infinity can be fed into CX Audience where it can be segmented and analyzed. "They are working in parallel with each other. Infinity is the one that collects the data and feeds it into CX Audience and other products."

The final differentiation I sought was between Infinity and the Datalogix DMP component of the Data Cloud. "Datalogix is a very fast assimilation of third-party data around user interests and activities which we can layer onto first-party data, giving us a very fine-grained audience segment we can target to."

CX Audience supplements functionality already existing in Responsys and Eloqua (the B2C and B2B engines within the marketing cloud), Seth told me. "We're taking basic capabilities and pushing them out really far, to provide very sophisticated tools which traditionally people have bought as standalone products from other companies."

Of course, Adobe has been talking recently about more sophisticated data offerings. Is this just something which is going around? "We're the only company with many touch points with our customers — large companies that have deployed our database, our ERP system, often our Commerce, Sales, and Service Clouds, they're using our Data Cloud, and stuff like that. We have the opportunity to learn about users, their journey, their lifecycle, events. That iswhere we are highly differentiated in the market. Our job is to make sure we have access to that data and can do wonderful things with it."

Oracle also announced that it was bringing loyalty management into the cloud, with Oracle Loyalty Cloud, a scaleable loyalty program solution available in 20 languages.


One of the other big vendors prowling the marketing and engagment space — the one nobody really talks about is Pega — and they've been deep in the weeds of GDPR this week, polishing up the Pega GDPR accelerator to help customers comply with those quite important regulations arriving before the end of May. Tip of the hat to Facebook for bringing GDPR to the attention of the world outside Europe.

As Cody Bender of Emma was telling me this afternoon (more of this later), vendors have little choice but to announce they're ready from GDPR. It will be a frightening marketing differentiator if, by the end of May, some vendors are shrugging their shoulders about it. Pega gives signs of practical engagement, in the form of customizable templates and best practice extensions for customers of the Pega Platform and Pega Customer Service. 

As ever, Pega goes to its peculiar strengths in this space, derived from its business process management core — dynamic case management to identify and implement GDPR-required processes; robotic automation to streamline repetitive tasks required by GDPR; and AI to surface problems and complaints. We're waiting to see, one year from now, which attempts to prep for GDPR succeed and fail.


Finally, get to grips with some unusual blockchain-related news from Grabbr, the Tennessee-based social referral marketing platform. What's that? In short, a management tool for rewarding social sharing which results in revenue. Intriguingly, successful sharing, on Grabbr, generates virtual currency, which can be used to in exchange for products and services. A fertile field for blockchain, that infinitely scaleable, decentralized data ledger of our dreams.

With Grabbr Campaign Blockchain (GCBC), we'll see the creation of an immutable and encrypted ledger of connections between "what is shared organically and the actions and behaviors of those who engage with what is shared down the social pipeline," said a release. Despite encryption, the initiative will give marketers transparency into "the origin of every single social share from their campaign and [the ability to] identify power users to target with specific campaigns for maximum ROI," said Grabbr CMO Herman DeBoard.

Don't worry; we're still figuring out blockchain too. 



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