The (Marketing) Cloud Shaped Like an 800-Pound Gorilla? That’s Oracle

When Oracle President Mark Hurd took the stage in New York on April 30 to officially launch the company’s Marketing Cloud offering, he also set the stage:

6 billion mobile subscribers (87% of the world’s population)
78% CAGR mobile data growth
90% of data created within past two years
50X data growth projected by 2020

26% of customers post negative comments
86% will stop doing business with a company after a poor experience
94% will pay more for a great experience

“My view of social,” Hurd said, “it changes everything.” Hurd recounted a story of a college professor who years ago told him to be comfortable with 95% customer satisfaction. But if Hurd did that today, about 20,000 Oracle customers would be unhappy. Imagine if those customers posted negative comments in social channels, he suggested. “You can’t ignore [dissatisfied customers],” Hurd said, adding that marketers need to rethink their approach. “You’re going to have consistent, continual transparency.”

Hurd went on to explain what that new approach needs to be, by defining what Oracle views as elements of modern marketing:

  • Marketing has tentacles into almost the entire customer lifecycle, thus greater responsibility for more of the customer relationship than ever before.
  • Most Big Data will be absolutely worthless. Marketers need to get to the right data and activate it.
  • Social changes everything. Marketers have lost their power to customers; the only way to get it back is to engage.
  • The corporate power sits with those who drive the revenue. Marketing will get more funding the more impact it has on customers, thus on revenue.

Oracle’s goal with the launch of its Marketing Cloud is to help marketers embrace and excel at modern marketing. The Oracle Marketing Cloud comprises such recent Oracle acquisitions as BlueKai, Compendium, Eloqua, Responsys, and Vitru. “We buy the best in the space at what they do,” Hurd says. “We buy the technology leaders. Our view is if you do that and then integrate well, good things happen.”

But this is just the beginning, Hurd said. “We’re committed to this. We’ll put more into R&D, more energy into this,” he said, adding that Oracle may not buy other companies, but will spend time integrating what it’s purchased and developing more depth and breadth of capabilities, as well as best practices. “We’re focused on leading this space. This is a material part of Oracle and a [large part of] where our growth will come from.”

Kevin Akeroyd, SVP and GM of Oracle Marketing Cloud, then took the stage and added that Oracle aims to “help marketers get out of the mess they’re in” in terms of disparate systems. “How do we introduce a level of simplicity?” he asked.

Akeroyd dove deeper into Oracle’s Marketing Cloud, explaining its core capabilities in terms of how it aims to help marketers: unify data; engage audience through cross-channel, social, and content marketing; analyze performance through marketing analytics; extend ecosystems with AppCloud and Data Marketplace; and unify the right set of data, activate it, and then get it into the cloud to enable interacting with customers at the right time.

The goal is to help marketers deliver a cohesive customer experience across channels. “It’s absolutely fundamental,” Akeroyd said, adding that marketers have to “get fluent” in customer experience. “Customer experience is broken.” Citing data from Blue Research, Akeroyd noted that 94% of customers have discontinued communications with a company because they received irrelevant promotions and messages, and 78% of customers receive inconsistent experiences across channels. Further, he said, 77% of consumers cite no relationship with a brand, according to Harvard Business Review.

“Most personalization is actually mass segmentation,” he said. “It’s not ‘I’m listening and watching, and here’s [what your preferences are based on your behaviors,] so here’s what I’m going to offer you in real time.’” But engaged customers spend two times more and have a five-times greater lifetime value than regular customers. “Reach and recall are fine,” Akeroyd said, “but relationship matters most today.”

Akeroyd advised attendees to get a relevant set of data, and then use it to trigger interactions in the right channels; in other words, “talk in an interactive dialog versus an old campaign mentality.” But use data wisely, he warned. Don’t pass over to the creepy factor. Marketers can easily cross the line of relevance and high-value to intrusive.

“Customers are fickle, digital, and have a platform to complain,” Akeroyd said. “The faster we wake up and realize that customers have the power, the more likely we are to thrive rather than die.”

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