Oracle may have acquired BlueKai over a year ago, but it’s only now beginning to fully integrate the power of its data solutions within its Marketing Cloud. As a result, we’re seeing Oracle push a unified customer engagement strategy that extends far beyond marketing, and leverages its sales, commerce and service solutions.
Today at its Modern Marketing Experience conference in Las Vegas, Oracle announced several updates to its Marketing Cloud, including tighter integration between its data and marketing automation solutions, as well as new features that enable personalized customer engagement across multiple channels.
Here’s an overview of what those new features look like:
Integration with Web Center, Commerce and Service Cloud
Marketing Cloud customers can now utilize Oracle WebCenter as a digital asset management system, and for delivering personalized content to different site visitors, as identified through Eloqua persona customer data. The Oracle Commerce integration allows for action-based campaigns, such as targeting cart-abandoners and nurturing e-shoppers through more cross-channel interactions. These campaigns can also make use of customer data that resides in Oracle Service Cloud, for example, excluding all people currently lodging complaints at a call center from an email campaign targeted at cart abandoners.
What makes these integrations particularly effective is BlueKai, the massive third party customer data repository Oracle acquired last year. The key value Bluekai brings is its ability to not only take in information from a brand’s own channels, but supplement it with its pre-existing database of third party customer data. That allows for all manner of audience targeting, whether through ads, email or personalized web content. By integrating BlueKai with its Marketing Cloud, (along with WebCenter and Commerce) Oracle makes a compelling case for keeping marketers within its ecosystem, based on the value of a single customer view (within BlueKai) collected from disparate channels.
Through BlueKai ,Oracle can give its Eloqua and Responsys users exactly the kind of audience they want to target, by mining BlueKai’s 700 million customer profiles to find those that match the characteristics of a brand’s best customers. This “lookalike” audience can then be targeted through campaigns in Responsys and Eloqua to give the brand a much higher chance of engagement.
This lets marketers set up Responsys to automatically take action in response to customer activity, such as abandoning a cart or clicking on a section of the website. These actions can be tracked using website tags that send information back to BlueKai, which then triggers the appropriate campaign or email response for that customer.
This gives each customer a unique tag that identifies them as they move across different channels of engagement, such as web, mobile, email or in-store. It allows the brand to give each customer an experience that takes into consideration all their behavior across other points of contact, delivering a more relevant and personalized interaction.
Oracle’s Vision Is The One Both Brands and Vendors Need to Adopt
For the first time, Oracle is clearly articulating its ambition to unite all its enterprise platforms into one gigantic customer experience offering, which spans across departments and functions, operating from a single view of the customer. This means integrating Oracle CX Cloud, Marketing Cloud, CRM, Commerce and Service Cloud platforms into a single system, with seamless cross-operations and data sharing capabilities.
However, this vision isn’t quite exclusive to Oracle. At Dreamforce last year, Salesforce announced the launch of its “Customer Success Platform,” which was an integrated offering of all its major cloud platforms, including marketing, sales and service, with a new analytics platform to tie them all together. And Sprinklr, (which recently joined the “unicorn” club with its billion dollar valuation) has been building its own multi-channel customer experience platform, with the launch of its “Experience Cloud” and partnership with SAP hybris.
It’s also worth nothing that Adobe Marketing Cloud has been offering many of the same rapid retargeting and lookalike modelling capabilities within its marketing cloud for a while. Although these capabilities are based on data from Adobe Analytics (which contains primary sourced customer data,) third-party data can also be used through an Adobe Analytics-Bluekai integration. While Adobe may be ahead in terms of the technical features it can offer marketers, it has to rely on external CRM or commerce platform integrations to provide any sort of unified strategy that goes beyond marketing.
In the end, the competition for the best vision and features between vendors means nothing if the market isn’t ready to implement any of it. This is where Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe et al. face the biggest challenge. Our research shows that only 20% of organizations have fully mapped out their customers’ journeys, which means the majority haven’t even taken the first step towards unifying their customer experience strategy across the organization. Make no mistake, Oracle has a long way to go in terms of proving its credibility in delivering on its grand ambition. But the vision it has outlined is the most comprehensive one, and one that brands and fellow vendors would do well to adopt.