Today, the role of marketers is more important than ever. In order to cut through the digital noise and communicate with customers on emerging channels, marketers need more and more tools to do their job. But there is a problem — doing great marketing is also harder than it’s ever been. The tools they use to engage with prospects and customers aren’t connected. The result is a lack of unity and understanding between all of their technology, data and campaigns.
The results of these silos for marketers is that:
- User information is everywhere
- You don't really understand your users
- There are no 360º analytics
- Creating great campaigns is manual, laborious and error-prone
This makes it really hard for marketers to do their job. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine a Marketing Cloud without silos:
- Where profiles are unified, not fragmented
- Where you can see what customers are doing on every channel
- Where customer experiences flow consistently across channels
Let’s take a moment to level set on our Marketing Cloud for those who may not know it well because a lot has changed in a short time. Our Marketing Cloud is a collection of five products. While content is at the core of our Drupal Cloud, data is at the core of Marketing Cloud. Alongside the five key innovations we announced to Acquia Drupal Cloud at Acquia Engage, we’re also proud to showcase five new capabilities to Marketing Cloud all designed to enable smarter, data-driven marketing experiences.
This foundation of data all starts with the Acquia Customer Data Platform (CDP). It brings together user data from different systems — like CRM, web, POS, e-commerce, etc. – and provides unified user profiles. With good data at the core, marketers can now use activation tools like Campaign Studio for multi-channel marketing, or our "Acquia Personalization" product for website personalization.
Traditional marketing clouds focus primarily on activation -- sending messages on different channels from a single place. While this is an important capability for marketers, it ignores the fundamental silos problem that causes marketers day to day pain. I want to be really clear here — with our data-first approach, we are shaking up the world of marketing clouds. Acquia’s open architecture makes us uniquely suited to re-architect a marketing cloud from the ground up, layer by layer, with unified customer data at the core. This will result in a fundamentally more intelligent and better approach to marketing. While it’s critical to maintain a hyper-focus on the customer experience, as a technology vendor, we firmly believe that creating a better customer experience begins with a simpler, integrated user experience. Here are five ways we are improving the experience for marketers as they seek to better engage with their customers and generate ROI.
1. Unified Real-time User Profiles
Acquia Customer Data Platform (CDP) stitches profiles together from multiple channels into a single profile. For traditional systems and other CDPs, bringing all this data together is often done in batches. Often during non peak hours like a weekend. Profiles are updated about once a week. As a result, profiles can be outdated. This is a big problem because a great experience is not one that happens a week after it should. Great experiences are instant. When your customers make decisions in real time, you need to act in real time.
So we’ve made our unified profiles even more real time. With real-time profiles, the actions of your customers appear within our 360º Profile as they happen, and can be accessed instantly for campaigns. This will result in campaigns being built with the most up to date information, so no more sending outdated emails based on week old data. You’ll see how this works just a moment.
2. Universal Segments
Unfortunately, unified real time profiles don’t fully solve the silos problem. You still have isolated segments. The issue is that segments need to be created in every tool, which is more work for marketers. But more importantly, there is no unified state for the customer → a customer can be in one segment / campaign on platform A, and another segment / campaign in platform B. It's like being in a car with multiple people and they’re all telling you where to go at the same time. It’s frustrating, you get mixed messages, and it results in confusion for the driver (or customer). You're not leading the customer down to one clear path. This ultimately impacts the customer experience in a very significant and negative way. How many times can we recall getting 5+ emails from a company in just one day?
That is why we are launching "universal segments." When you use our Marketing Cloud, a segment in Acquia CDP, also exists in Acquia Personalization and Acquia Campaign Studio. Instead of every marketing tool pointing the customer in a different direction, all tools and teams are leading the customer down a single path. It’s like your own customer experience GPS.
And I am sure you’d like to see a demonstration of how this looks, but wait! There’s more…
3. 360º Marketing Analytics
It’s great to have real-time unified profiles, and universal segments, but there is another problem
You guessed it — it’s about silos again. Analytics live in their own tools. As a marketer, you just can’t make sense of it. Whether you manually pull data together, use a BI tool or a homegrown dashboard, the process is painful, slow and error-prone. We can all remember times when we had to wait days or even weeks for that analytics report we needed to build a new campaign or share results to measure success. Siloed analytics leads to ineffective marketing spend and poor customer experiences.
Not anymore. Since our Marketing Cloud has unified real-time profiles and universal segments, we are uniquely positioned to solve this problem. What we’ve done is brought together the analytics and reporting from Campaign Studio and Personalization into a single dashboard within Acquia CDP. Now, within the analytical capabilities of the CDP, you can understand the ROI of your email marketing campaigns or website personalization, and adjust as needed. That’s one place for marketers to access critical customer insights from multiple channels and tools. It’s a massive improvement from toggling between four different tabs and sending multiple emails to make sense of your analytics.
While real time profiles, universal segments, and 360 analytics are great because they make marketers' lives easier, they also drastically improve the customer experience and drive them to take the next best action in the customer journey even more quickly and efficiently. Take a look at how these three new capabilities come together to create a better customer experience. All of these features are available TODAY!
4. Predictive Sends Machine Learning Model
Once you have build a great campaign based on real time data, the next challenge is scaling out your marketing campaign. With the overload of too much data, too many systems, too many touchpoints – it’s really hard to keep track of the full customer journey and make sure you’re orchestrating connected and relevant campaigns manually. I would argue that for any enterprise marketing, not only is it not efficient, but it’s not possible to do all of this manually. That’s where machine learning (ML) can help. ML algorithms provide automation, help you scale and maximize your ROI by giving you new customer insights to make better decisions – all things that are impossible to do efficiently in manual fashion.
Acquia Marketing Cloud already has a robust Machine Learning Framework within Acquia CDP and we are recognized as a leader in the machine learning space. Our open approach means we leverage both pre-built models and allow you to use custom models built in-house or from a third party. This open approach for an open approach to ML so you can use models you already have. That said, we always have to innovate and we constantly add new ML models for our customers to use -- all of which are meant to make it faster and simpler for marketers to reach the right person with the right content on the right channel at the right time. Speaking of “right time”...
We are announcing our latest model: Predictive Sends – this ML model automatically learns the optimal time of day to send emails so your messages are more likely to be welcomed and opened by customers.
Our Predictive Sends Machine Learning Model determines the optimal day and time to send emails for each customer in order to maximize email engagement. With Acquia’s Predictive Send Model coupled with insights from Custom Likelihood models, you can create specific, high impact and highly targeted campaigns.
For example, marketers can optimize a dynamic "Flash Sale" based on persona, price sensitivity of those personas and the optimal time frame to maximize conversion. In other words, a 48 hour Flash Sale can run over the course of a week, start and end at different points in time for every individual and be tailored to maximize both revenue, as well as conversion rate.
The Predictive Sends Model is already available in Acquia CDP, but Acquia Campaign Studio support rolls out in Q1 of 2021. Gone are the days of “let’s just send another email” or “buy more digital ads.” Acquia’s machine learning driven Marketing Cloud is the next generation of marketing. It’s smarter, more effective and insight driven outreach.
5. COVID-19 Analysis Dashboard
I don’t need to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic impacts nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many organizations are heavily impacted as well. We’ve worked closely with our customers to help them navigate through this difficult time, and there’s one great example of how we delivered value in times of COVID-19.
We partnered with several key customers to build a COVID-19 Analysis Dashboard that provides in-depth analysis into the business impacts of COVID-19. The dashboard includes over 60 reports with actionable insights to help you navigate the impact pandemic has on your business and customer behaviors including insights into shifting customer channel preferences, impact of store closures and guidance on how to re-open stores with the optimum financial impact. Let’s see how it looks.
It’s a pretty amazing dashboard, and a true testament to flexibility of Acquia CDP to respond to the unique requirements facing organizations today. We are proud to offer the COVID-19 Analysis Dashboard (available today) at no additional cost for all customers using Acquia CDP. No other CDP or Marketing Cloud has delivered anything like this.
At Acquia, we are re-architecting the marking cloud from the ground up. The end result will be a radically different, yet radically better approach to eliminate the longstanding challenges making marketers jobs more and more difficult. With these key features and improvements, Acquia Marketing Cloud gives marketers a smarter way to create profiles, segments, analytics and machine learning automations.
These have been some long blog posts, with lots of information and product updates. So to close, I’ll leave it at this. Acquia is innovating more than we ever have. We are providing more value, more frequently, to our customers than ever. We are launching more new products and capabilities than ever. That’s because our open approach isn’t just about open source or open integrations (which are critical tenants to our DNA) but about unlocking our own organization to accelerate the value we deliver to our incredible customers. To see how our customers are using our solutions to digitally transform and engage online more effectively, see some of these incredible stories in the Engage Awards Gallery.