The Changing Face of Marketing

NOTE: This article was originally posted to my profile on Linkedin Pulse on the 29th December 2016.

I spend most of my time with Eloqua customers across a wide range of industries from banking & finance, real estate, education, construction, professional services and more.

The common thread for me is their use of Eloqua. For them, the common thread is a new way to engage with customers and prospects from a multi or omni channel point of view.

Speaking of change in the context of marketing, John D. Louth from McKinsey & Co. said the following:

“Change is the dominant fact of life in every business today. And the ability to master and exploit change has become one of the most sought-after management skills. This is particularly true in marketing, where the very tempo of change is constantly quickening.

Today’s chief executive faces a baffling dilemma. Change gets costlier every day; yet not changing can be costlier still. And even while adapting to change, a company’s marketing effort must reflect an internal constancy of purpose and an external consistency of image.”

Louth said that in 1966! Click here to read the full article.

What’s Changed?

The change I see takes place in a few ways. For some it’s more about the changing skills needed within the marketing team. Today’s marketers must be able to do more than just create beautiful brochures and run non-stop events.

In addition, marketers must have an appreciation of data, specifically they need to understand the basics of a relational database. For many, this will also mean understanding the configuration of the CRM that’s integrated with Eloqua.

What happened to Digital Marketing?

There’s been a lot of discussion over the past 12 months in blogs and thought leadership articles about the term “digital” in marketing. 

My view is a little tainted because all of my customers are using Eloqua, which is a digital platform. However, the argument could be made that the term “digital” is superfluous. It’s just “marketing” because all marketing is digital. 

Ok, an outdoor billboard is not digital. An ad in a magazine or newspaper is not digital. Perhaps this is where the terms omni-channel and multi-channel come into play. It’s rare to see ads in the offline world that don’t contain a URL or even a QR code. Marketers work hard to get people from the off-line world to the on-line world through calls to action like “visit www.yourdomain.com today to secure your [insert offer] and to learn more”.

What’s Next?

I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t see into the future, but I can see how things are changing within the marketing teams I spend my time with.

Platform providers like Oracle Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adobe Marketing Cloud and even IBM Marketing Cloud are madly acquiring companies to build out their respective clouds.

The advantage for today’s marketer is the platforms they’re using are constantly being enhanced. Oracle Eloqua has two releases per quarter as well as the ongoing acquisition of new platforms.

Looking at Oracle Eloqua in 2017, the amount of publicly available information about the platform enhancements is extensive. Complete overhauls of the email and landing page editors will deliver significant change for Eloqua users. In addition a completely new analytics platform for campaign reporting built on Oracle BI and much more.

Keeping up to date with these changes can be a stretch for teams whose primary focus is their own business and campaign objectives. It’s my job to help customers stay up to date and get them ready for future changes not only to the platform, but potential changes to the way they execute campaigns.

Integration is the key, but not as you may think

With the speed of acquisition of new platforms, integration across the respective platforms within the “clouds” is critical. Eloqua already provides deep and extensive integration with the leading CRM platforms from Oracle (including NetSuite), Salesforce and Microsoft.

Marketers quickly realise the need for integration as they start to work on their multi-channel campaigns.

For example…

I have a client in the real estate marketing space. They use Facebook to advertise around specific projects and their call to action is inviting people to submit an enquiry via a form in Facebook. 

These campaigns have been successful, however the enquiries have to be downloaded to a .CSV file from Facebook and then uploaded to their CRM as leads for the sales team.

This process can take up to 48 hours from the time the enquiry is submitted via Facebook and makes its way to the CRM.

They now use the Facebook Lead Ads Feeder app from Eloqua. The app is free and works specifically with Facebook ads. It takes about 4 minutes to load the app into Eloqua, a once off exercise, from the Oracle Cloud Marketplace Store (think Apple Appstore, same concept). 

To setup the app you add the credentials of the Facebook user/s who create ads and shazam, you’re done. 

What took my client 48 hours, now takes no more than 15 minutes and it’s done automatically. This includes the creation of a lead within the CRM, that process is managed by Eloqua once it receives the data from Facebook. 

Integration takes place many ways. In my early career, integration generally meant spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Today, in many cases, it’s as easy as loading an app just like you do to your iPhone.

What about the Marketing Team?

The marketing team is at the cold face of this change, they’re the ones who’s CMO is attending conferences and seeing the coolest of the new technology.

The CMO returns to the office and directs the team to implement the coolest of the new functionality they’ve seen, this is where many stumble.

The primary roadblock to implementing the “coolest new functionality” is, data. Or, more specifically the poor quality of data.

In his Huffington Post article published 27 December 2016, Moosa Hemani describes why business needs Marketing Automation:

“With marketing automation, marketers engage customers with tailored content based on their profile data and purchasing behavior.

The more personalized content your lead receives, the more time they will spend on your site. This leads to collection of valuable data that can help you convert the leads into customers – and of course, future cross selling.”

Emphasis added.

Click here to read the full article.

Note the number of times Hemani refers to data. He refers to the use of exisiting profile data to segment and target your audience. This data will likely come from the CRM and the eStore or ERP systems.

That same data drives the content you present to individuals and hopefully enhance the chance of you obtaining additional profile data from your audience to essentially repeat the process to the point where you have marketing qualified leads to hand over to the sales team.

There has been much talk towards the end of 2016 of artificial intelligence for marketing. Honestly, this makes me laugh out loud and also feel a little terrified. 

The A.I. will be driven by available data and will make assumptions as is learns. Given the state of the data I see, this is a perfect storm in the making. 

Good quality data must be owned all members of the team and it’s not just the marketing team. Those who enter the data i.e. sales, service and marketing, must be aware that a range of campaigns will be launched on the back the data they enter.

Finance must also think carefully about their data. Using back end finance systems that probably feed data into the CRM using 1960’s processes like company names and people’s names in UPPER-CASE is a huge problem.

Nothing says spam more so than an email addressed to “Dear DEREK” – you don’t want to yell at your contacts. 

Eloqua has a smart free app called the “Contact Washing Machine”. This clever app provides a huge range of data manipulation tools. One tool is the ability to change the format of a field from UPPER-CASE to Proper-case.

My Top 5 tips for Modern Marketers

  1. Work with your Human Resources department to ensure job descriptions reflect the skills of a modern marketer. Ensure HR is open to the need for job descriptions to be fluid, push back on rigid job descriptions that are far removed from the reality of what the team is doing on day to day basis.
  2. Task a member of the marketing team to keep up to date with changes to your marketing automation platform. Include 3rd party applications in a regular review to ensure you’re not missing out on faster, easier ways to do things.
  3. Integration, but not as you think. Expand your thinking when it comes to integration. Take a moment to step back and evaluate the most effective and accurate ways to source data for use in marketing campaigns. For Eloqua customers, talk to your Customer Success Manager for advice.
  4. Clean data. The team must understand the various data sources they have access to from your Marketing Automation platform i.e. what is the “source of truth”?
  5. See data quality as an ongoing process. It’s not a project with a start date and an end date, it’s a business as usual (BAU) process.