By re-branding itself in early February as Selligent Marketing Cloud, Redwood, Ca.-based Selligent signaled to marketers that it’s beefing up cloud-based functionality that transcends the app on-demand model of the SaaS realm.
And to back that up, the vendor has simultaneously introduced cross-channel engagement features using AI, added new mobile capabilities, and ensured that customer data is all exportable.
Its re-branding effort is a smart strategic and competitive move, and signals to existing and potential customers that the vendor is committed to the cloud and to marketing technology services, according to Joe Stanhope, VP and principal analyst with Forrester Research. But he added that Selligent Marketing Cloud isn’t trying to go head-to-head with enterprise cloud providers like Salesforce, Adobe, or SAP with its re-branding and new features.
“Selligent is trying to bring the benefits of cloud to a set of customers which hasn’t been the traditional marketing cloud services customer,” Stanhope said in a phone interview, pointing to potential B2C customers that could include departmental buyers or smaller enterprises that don’t have the budget – or requirements – for Salesforce or Adobe.
“Those other offers connect marketing to other parts of the enterprise, but not everybody needs to connect their marketing to a big eCommerce deployment,” he explained. “Marketers of all sizes can benefit from the cloud concept, but clouds haven’t been built for everybody. This is where Selligent has lots of blue sky.”
In addition to its new name, Selligent Marketing Cloud has added AI-driven recommendations across channels including web and email; there’s also a consumer data repository that keeps data organized, secure and available to multiple channels. Selligent has also added more mobility features, including geo-fencing, and Bluetooth-based beacon capabilities for real-time messaging based on current location. The vendor also said its new user interface is easier to use and more intuitive.
Selligent is also emphasizing the single codebase its new platform draws on, in contrast to some competitors that have added complexity by acquiring other service providers specializing in certain functions. “The ‘franken-clouds’ that have been cobbled together from multiple acquisitions were all built on non-native platforms, giving no end-to-end control,” John Hernandez, CEO of Selligent Marketing Cloud, told me. Selligent’s home-grown features and development make it easier for marketers to do all the things they want to do, he suggested.
“We have open APIs that allow integration [of systems and data] outside core marketing capabilities,” Hernandez explained, adding that Selligent worked to ensure all customer data was controlled by the marketer. With Selligent Marketing Cloud’s new capabilities, A customer-native data from ERP, CRM, social media and other origins can be extracted real-time. “Marketers can extract relevant data and then segment that data without a lot of IT involvement,” Hernandez added, a godsend for any service that works with data from multiple sources. “That gives them a real-time capability over all the channels they’re overseeing,” and moves them closer to true omni-channel marketing.
Selligent’s new Cortex solution delivers AI-driven recommendations across those channels. The service provider’s data platform offers a marketer-managed consumer data repository that keeps that data organized and secure, while feeding real-time marketing initiatives across desired channels.
Selligent would not release any information about pricing, other than to note its model “is built on how many customer contacts a client has, not how many seat licenses they want.”
Selligent Marketing Cloud’s new features are already getting good reviews from marketing technologists. SellUP, a New York-based agency focused on retention marketing, has worked with Selligent for two years. “It’s not about how many emails you receive, but how you’re marketed to,” said Allan Levy, CEO of SellUP. “Selligent is one of the first platforms we’ve seen that wraps it all together.”
By tapping into Selligent’s AI and geo-location capabilities, SellUP can discern whether a consumer is walking toward a store; rather than send an email, the retailer can send an SMS, Levy told DMNews. Timing is everything, as every marketer knows, so if an email is scheduled for an hour later, SellUP or its retail client can suppress that consumer from that particular list.
At least until a few years ago, email marketing was very linear and not very agile, according to Levy. If a consumer opens and clicks, they get treated one way; if they didn’t open, they got treated another way – it was all very engagement-specific within the channel. “Now, whether it’s Facebook, their purchase history or something else, the [Selligent] platform and its AI can help us figure out cadence,” he added. “We couldn’t do that segmentation before and we’re really excited about that.”
As SellUP gets more experience with the Selligent Marketing Cloud platform and understands its own customers better, Levy can foresee doing a better job with prospecting. “If I can start to increase the lifetime value of customers, I can then afford to spend more to acquire new customers,” Levy said. “If we can pinpoint that lifetime value, we can also really optimize and grow the top line and the number of people coming into the funnel and optimizing down-funnel,” he said. “That helps us open the funnel at the top much wider.”