It’s been a few big years for marketing technology: ExactTarget, Pardot, Eloqua and many others such as Radian6 and BuddyMedia have all been enfolded into big CRM players. Quickly, these power players realized that data and automation were as important for marketers as they are to sales further down in the sales cycle. Although, at first these technologies were added as point solutions or independent offerings, over time, the integration has become more robust. In the past year, full-scale marketing clouds have begun to take shape.
We have a general vision of what this marketing cloud looks like – we know the different modules it requires and how they fit together. But we’re only beginning to see how they’re transforming B2B marketing and companies as a whole. Below, we’ve shared some of the key trends that have evolved in 2014.
On the surface, greater marketing capabilities in CRM management platforms appears like it’s just a matter of utility. However, with proper integration, there’s significant impact at a strategic level. As these platforms extend their capabilities further out into the funnel, the customer lifecycle is actually starting earlier. With a marketing cloud, it’s possible to connect data from all customer channels.
This relatable data offers unique insight about customer behavior and the buying cycle. Companies are leveraging this information to transform the customer experience. Marketing clouds have opened the door for more meaningful, personalized experiences and connections with customers at all phases of the lifecycle.
Until now, certain methods and tools have been limited to certain phases of the buyers’ cycle. Companies addressed each channel in a silo when it came to tools and technology. Now, we’re seeing organic conversations and connections with customers throughout all phases of the lifecycle. B2B companies are realizing that while content needs to be tailored and personalized at every phase of the customer lifecycle, the medium for communication, interaction and engagement can be a lot more flexible.
Multi-channel communication with data integration makes true lifecycle marketing a possibility. With marketing clouds, businesses can derive actionable insights from data at every touch point across the buyer’s journey. Furthermore, they can implement these insights in real-time. This is invaluable – since every company has a unique buyers’ journey.
B2B moves a bit slower than B2C, but we’re finally seeing CRM giants and their marketing counterparts leverage technology in a way that distinguishes them from the less forward thinking B2B companies. These early adopters will be clearly differentiated from the slow movers in their ability to leverage technology in a way that enables them to be more precise in their measurement and therefore more effective in their marketing efforts.
So what’s in store as these clouds become more and more advanced?
Well, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we know some folks who have some insider information. We’re excited to announce that some of the biggest players in the space will be sharing their thoughts on the “The State of the Marketing Cloud” at our Marketing Innovation Summit for B2B on May 7th and 8th at AT&T park in San Francisco. Join leaders from Google, Oracle, SAP and Salesforce.com for a panel discussion on what’s been achieved so far and what to expect in the coming months and years.
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