Cloudy Days Are Here Again: Study Shows Gaps In Big Cloud Solutions

Are big cloud solutions working for email marketers? Not really, judging by The CMO Club Solution Guide: Consumer-First Martech, a study by the CMO Club and Selligent Marketing Cloud.

The troubles begin with data access and go on to include system integration.

Of the CMOs polled, 57% rate their marketing vendors below average at custom integrations, and 54% say their vendors are below average at custom feature development.

“Marketers have the budgets to spend on CRM, email, mobile and data management, but fitting these capabilities together and ensuring they work with legacy business systems is not easy,” the study notes.

Yet there is an imperative to do so. The CMOs in this sample believe delivering consumer value is more important than driving sales revenue, and many are attempting to build a cohesive marketing stack to achieve it.

But that takes data, and 42% say data management is their most difficult task. That’s especially true for firms using a big cloud: Of those using “big five” cloud vendors, 47% have issues with data, versus only 25% who use other vendors. 



The result?  “If you don’t have your hands on the data and you don’t have easy access... I think you’re asking for trouble,” says Kevin Smith, CMO of Rollins.

The survey is based on input from 69 CMOs from brands such as BBVA Compass, F’real Foods, Fidelity Life, Office Depot, Rollins, and Tacori.

Despite the technical challenges, some are using data in unique ways.

“Instead of our design team creating a product, and hoping to release it, and hoping that consumers like it, and creating inventory problems if they don’t -- we’ve reversed engineered through our new capsule design where we are using data sets from a trusted online digital platform to tell us what is trending, what is happening, and then use data-based insights to inform our design,” says Michelle Adorjan Chila, SVP marketing and PR or Tacori, the study reports.

Similarly, Unilever is using data to meet “a growing need for global consumers to identify culturally with brands,” the study notes. This caused “a worldwide shift in how the company’s brands were managed at the local level,” it continues.

These initiatives rely on having easy access and a clear view of the data.

“Every contact, every piece of information, every lead that we have is centralized,” says Allison Lewin, VP of Marketing, F’Real Foods.

Natalie Malaszenko, SVP digital business for Office Depot, adds: “We try to take a much more holistic approach on how we can view these types of customers one at a time versus only focusing on channels alone. It’s a work in progress, but I think in some ways it’s very easy to think about the differences by channel.”

The study adds that customer insights can surface that show that “a slow app or clunky loyalty program depresses revenue, or even that customers want to identify more emotionally with email messages.”

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