Better Communication Channels Needed To Enable The Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud

The offices of the CIO, CMO, CSO or privacy officer need to collaborate when selecting vendors within the evolving marketing cloud. Reaching customers across a multitude of activities, such as browsing store aisles, comparing prices across websites, or redeeming offers with their mobile device, without compromising personal data requires a sophisticated marketing cloud management strategy. The benefits of each vendor, and their purpose and value, must be weighed against any risk they bring. This is a practice best accomplished through greater department coordination.

With mobile device in hand, consumers check commuter train schedules, file prescriptions, and make travel plans. They transact business anytime, anywhere, and they expect their data to be protected. “Keeping the promise to consumers that their data will not be passed on, utilised, or re-directed is an unset rule. We’re working to keep that promise to consumers,” said Nicole Keiter, Director of Media Strategy and Optimisation at Equifax.

Through new capabilities in cloud technology, businesses are transforming browsers into buyers by applying analytics to better understand purchasing behaviour and brand preferences. Using this information, organisations can engage their customers in more meaningful ways with relevant and targeted offers. Marketing cloud management simplifies collaboration for digital marketers and their departments, allowing them to share information across the company.

With these benefits come added complexities and risks associated with cloud. The average commercial web site has more than 70 vendors delivering a variety of solutions to help companies market their offerings, analyse customer engagement, and monitor impact. Most of these vendors were not hired directly by the organisation but rather came through partners that drive online advertising, customer profiling, and a host of other digital marketing services for targeting online advertisements and special offers. Many businesses are unaware of the presence of many of these back-door vendors.

The larger this marketing cloud becomes, the greater the risk of performance or security issues. For instance, poor vendor management can inadvertently allow customer data to be shared with competitors or interfere with site performance and analytics. Even though cloud is still in its early days, there are best practices forming and proven paths to make marketing cloud management successful for balancing business operations and protecting customer information.

Here are three steps that can be taken to manage your marketing cloud:

1. Appoint An MCM Manager

Vendor management, strategy, and monitoring require time and attention. These responsibilities can live in any of several departments, and are key to bringing each together to weigh strategic vendor decisions and make the cloud function. Many businesses create the role of a CMT, Chief Marketing Technologist, who not only technically oversees vendors but also their purpose and effectiveness.

Other enterprises choose to create a Director of Tag Management and Optimisation who often functions in the marketing department, while others create a Director of Web Delivery in the IT department. In each case, there is one person responsible for the tags allowed on the website and who understands the purpose of each and how they feed into overall business strategy. Importantly, this person also brings department heads together to coordinate new vendor assessment, progress against benchmarks, and gain consumer trust.

2. Create A Marketing Cloud Centre Of Excellence

Marketing cloud technology is driving the ultimate collaboration as organisations put clients at the centre of their operations. MCM requires new processes in place for answering questions like, “Which analytics tools should we use to accomplish performance and data collection objectives?” or “How many retargeters do I enlist in order to drive purchases while weighing risks to customer data leakage?” These questions require both the technical expertise of the CIO along with the marketing expertise of the CMO.

Your cloud centre of excellence requires deep coordination between the person in charge of vendor management, the CIO and CMO, as well as leaders in security and privacy. This group gathers to set vendor objectives, SLA content, the process for adding new vendors, and monitoring policies for the website. Once there is a regular meeting schedule for key stakeholders, a business has the structure in place to set vendor objectives, SLA standards, and monitor against them.

3. Set Milestones To Monitor Progress

Monitoring yields the greatest results when you have set standards to gauge your performance. Your cloud centre of excellence should establish an internal set of benchmarks so that everyone is working with a common set of goals. Benchmarks can be applied to a variety of measurements, such as vendor latency or number of vendors per page depending on your business concerns. Once the benchmarks are in place, share them with all involved staff and then assess progress at the regular cloud centre gatherings.

By effectively managing the marketing cloud, you will see operational and cultural benefits while better protecting customer data. Start the CIO/CMO conversation today and watch your effort grow, improving customer experience alongside business revenue.

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Emily drives Ghostery's enterprise marketing and company database operations. Most recently Emily was VP, Product and Marketing at Audience Science where she led the company’s repositioning from an ad network into an industry-leading data management and media buying platform. Prior to that, Emily worked as an Analyst and VP Research Director at Forrester Research and as an Analyst at Jupiter Research, Emily delivered insightful guidance to global Fortune 100 brands as well as major media companies, agencies and technology companies. Emily’s background also includes running digital marketing for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she helped re-launch its web site as an advertising-based content site. She started her career as a delivery analyst at where she honed her quantitative understanding of the digital marketplace. Emily earned a bachelor’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.