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Industry Leaders Break Down The Marketing Cloud Myth

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Photo credit: B Garrett

Assembling the unique set of marketing technologies needed to power your business to success is not a luxury today, it is a necessity.

“Our average customer uses 26 digital marketing applications and that’s just digital marketing, that’s not the finance and the CRM and everything else,” according to Jeff Lunsford, CEO of Tealium.

Earlier this month, the “who’s who” of digital marketing converged in San Diego for the inaugural Gartner Digital Marketing conference. Among the topics being discussed was the need to enable innovation in marketing by treating marketing technology as any other open source technology, with shared data, easy integration and powerful APIs.

“We agree 100 percent that the right place to integrate is with a neutral data layer that can be shared across all these applications,” Lunsford told a panel of the digital marketing pioneers and innovators at a Digital Marketing Meetup during the week of the conference in discussing how to best integrate crucial marketing systems.

In addition to Lundsford, the panel of experts on the panel included Heather Zynczak, CMO of DOMO, Mike Vaccaro, Chief Revenue Officer at Mirum, Todd Tarplee, Digital Marketing Manager at Qualcomm and Acquia’s own David Mennie, Sr. Director of Product Marketing. Each drew on their experience to set the record straight on the future of marketing technology. Each shared their personal experiences as a digital marketer and described how the open approach is often the best approach for their clients.

Open Marketing Panel
From left to right: David Mennie, Jeff Lunsford, Heather Zynczak, Todd Tarplee, and Mike Vaccaro

While everyone had a slightly varied take on what a marketing cloud is and how it should be integrated, most agreed that a single-vendor, proprietary system is not the way to go.

Tealium’s approach to what Acquia calls Open Marketing is to build your own marketing cloud, using tag management technology to connect all of your marketing technology.

The freedom to integrate and switch out new marketing tools and tech is a key focus. Qualcomm, while a billion-dollar company, is “essentially a giant startup” that prides itself on being able to “pivot on a dime,” according to Tarplee. Getting locked into a vendor’s roadmap is not an option. “We’ll adopt a new technology, implement it…[and] in a matter of months, get in the market, test it, try it out, see if it works, move on,” he said, adding, If you have to wait for a single vendor to do that for you, you’re never going to get there”.

Mennie echoed Tarplee’s thoughts: “It’s all about innovation. At the end of the day if you look at more of a closed, single vendor approach, when it comes to innovation, you’re moving at the pace of the vendor. Even if a marketing cloud provider has a decent set of tools”, said Mennie, “they can’t acquire and integrate everything that [marketers] require”.

“We’re all using tons of different things and I just think that speaks volumes about where we have come to as a marketing organization... That we’re going to use a lot of different tools,” said Zynczak. “We’re going to use whatever is best to breathe and we need the ability to bring it all together.”

“For us, I think, we’re probably going to be doing a disservice to our clients if we try and force them down the one-size-fits-all [solution] because it’s very rare that it does work for them”, said Vaccaro. “It might [work] and if it does, that’s great and if that’s what they want to do, we’ll support that as well. But our job is to make sure that we’re consulting them on what’s the best solution for them to ultimately make them more money”.

In the end, Jeff Lunsford probably summed up the panel best: “Open is king.”

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