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Marketing cloud 101: A new way to engage modern consumers

Personalized marketing experiences are essential to reach modern consumers. But in today’s digital, constantly connected world, that can be difficult for marketers to pull off. There are just so many places to reach customers, whether email, online or on their mobile devices. There’s also more data at marketers’ fingertips that’s immensely powerful — if marketers are able to harness and analyze it. The problem is that old-school marketing approaches simply aren’t sufficient.

Modern marketers need modern tools to reach their customers with truly orchestrated interactions across channels that deliver relevant content when and where customers prefer to see it. Enter the marketing cloud.

Marketers are bombarded with buzzwords, but the marketing cloud concept is one that every marketer should get smart about. Simply put, a marketing cloud is a suite of tools, delivered through the cloud, that allows marketers to plan, personalize, execute, track and analyze the messages they send customers. With the platform, marketers can select and use the tools they need to deliver personalized messages and analyze the resulting real-time data to understand how those messages performed.

That’s important because effective marketing today requires a certain finesse, instead of the brute force tactics of old-school marketing.

“Consumers have grown weary of old-style marketing campaigns, which bombard them with emails and offers,” Alexander Wolfe, director of strategic communications at Oracle, writes in Forbes. “However, becoming customer centric isn’t just a state of mind. It means learning new skills, so that you can take today’s rapidly emerging marketing automation tools, and apply them to create relevant, targeted, and valuable customer experiences.”

Wolfe identifies five primary challenges that the marketing cloud can assuage:

  1. Bad experiences: Messages become jumbled because marketers try to do too much, with too many tools. Ultimately, the messages fall flat.
  2. Unwieldy tool set: “Marketers often lack a centralized place to create, manage, and orchestrate customer experiences,” Wolfe says. A marketing cloud consolidates those tools onto a single platform.
  3. Lack of centralized data: Without centralization, marketers are likely missing out on their greatest asset: data.
  4. Inability to stand out: Consumers are overwhelmed with more marketing messages, in more places, than ever before. This makes it difficult for marketers to reach their customers with the right message, at the right place and time.
  5. Savvy customers: “More than any other single factor, the savvy of today’s buyer has created the modern truism that one marketing message no longer its all,” Wolfe says.

What’s more, marketers are under pressure to deliver against many (often competing) goals. “They’re being tasked to innovate and lead their companies into the digital age, at the same time that 75% of CEOs want marketing to generate revenue and become more ROI-focused,” according to Kevin Akeroyd, general manager of Oracle Marketing Cloud.

The marketing cloud offers marketers the tools they need to modernize their approaches and to deliver truly orchestrated marketing experiences that are more relevant, more effective — and that directly impact the bottom line.

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