“I don’t believe this is such a binary issue,” Chris Lynch told me, “whether the marketing cloud makes sense or doesn’t make sense for a company.”
Lynch, Head of Product Marketing at Oracle Marketing Cloud, was explaining that Oracle views the marketing cloud as a set of foundational technologies which people need—such as Eloqua and Responsys for orchestrating B2B and B2C customer experiences—and with which point solutions can readily be integrated. “We’re devout about an open platform strategy,” he said. “The existence of a marketing cloud need not be at the expense of other best-of-breed solutions.”
Our conversation was sparked by my interview with Kraig Swensrud of Campaign Monitor published last week, in which Swensrud offered data suggesting mid-market companies found large-scale marketing clouds too expensive to implement and too complicated to use effectively. “Marketing automation has been pretty awesome in the Fortune 1000 space,” he said, “but what about the rest of us?”
Oracle, of course, highlights “customer success” stories on its marketing cloud website which feature non-enterprise brands, but Lynch also offered some specific rebuttals of the cost and complication claims.
“It’s easy to look at cost,” he said, “based on the initial contract. But what’s quite often overlooked in the area of software-as-a-service is total cost of ownership.” A marketing cloud may look pricier than point solutions, but it’s necessary to look not just at the immediate product at point of sale, but at what will get delivered over a number of years—not least in terms of services and support which can prove costly. “There are a lot of varying versions of ‘yes’ when you ask if a solution can do something. You need to ask how it’s going to be done, and about long-term cost.”
As for complexity, Lynch says “There’s an emotive aspect of that statement. A bigger vendor is going to be complex, difficult to use, more than you need. But our core philosophy is: How do we make sophisticated processes accessible?” Oracle’s solution. Lynch insisted, is more geared to drag-and-drop functionality aimed at marketers than to IT teams writing technical scripts.
Specifically, he said, “we’ve restyled our products around the Alta UI. Very simple and elegant.” Also, in the Cloud Marketplace, Oracle’s app store, there are apps which integrate on a point-and-click basis with no IT involvement.
When it comes to planning marketing processes, Lynch said, there are “long-term efficiencies working with a vendor with a cohesive roadmap.” Similarly, you can future-proof your marketing technology investments, he said, by working with a vendor you trust in the long-term, rather than being fully reliant on point solutions which may not be around, or may evolve in a way which doesn’t meet your needs.
Nevertheless, the marketing technology landscape, Lynch observed, “is going to be heterogeneous for some time.”