Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Chris Lynch, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Oracle Marketing Cloud.
This concept of the “customer journey” is very popular today, and why not? The idea that marketing can transform itself from a function that purely focused on transactional promotions and throwing a good party to a strategic driver of individualized customer experiences is compelling.
But the concept of a journey can also be misleading. It often implies a linear path that isn’t an accurate reflection of how people live. Customers move in highly unstructured, unpredictable ways. They get new jobs, new friends, new friends, new interests and new challenges.
Many traditional campaign and marketing automation tools dress themselves up as journey builders, but they aren’t adaptive to these experiences and often provide fleeting engagement with the customer. They either create binary paths (Did the customer engage – yes or no?) that provide limited options for each customer, or rely on stale segment data that’s updated in hours or days rather than seconds or minutes. Only 12% of marketers believe their marketing is real-time enough to drive adequate business results.
The Oracle Marketing Cloud believes customers should dictate their own path. That’s the guiding vision behind new enhancements we’re announcing today to Oracle Cross-Channel Marketing for consumer marketers. In particular, we made significant updates to Program, our marketing orchestration tool that was first to market for customer journeys. Program provides a simple, but powerful, canvas that helps marketers create relevant, cohesive customer experiences across channels with drag-and-drop tools. Most importantly, the new features we’re announcing to Program today help marketers adapt faster based on real-time behaviors, preferences and interactions performed by their customers.
Overall, there’s four core new innovations we’re announcing, which also feature rich integration across the Oracle Marketing Cloud.
- Event Switches. As customers interact with different marketing channels, marketers need a way to ensure that those behaviors intelligently dictate the next interaction or message they receive from a product, brand or service. Event Switches allow customers to move through an orchestration based on real-time behavior triggers. Unlike other journey builders that hold customers at a stage within a journey until legacy databases are updated on a timed schedule, Program moves customers through their orchestrated journeys without any delay.
- Social Advertising: A new integration between Oracle Cross-Channel Marketing and Oracle Social Marketing allows marketers to leverage Program to run social ads using Facebook Custom Audiences. Marketers can now include social advertising as another channel in their orchestration strategy and send highly engaged audiences to Facebook for social advertising alongside their email, mobile, and display strategies.
- Customer Experience Testing: After marketers orchestrate an experience, they want to know how it will work once it’s run its course. This new testing capability allows marketers to test all the cross-channel interactions with a few simple clicks. From an email delivered on a tablet to MMS messages on their mobile phones, marketers can test any channel, content, path, or timing within their orchestrated customer program. This moves far beyond basic A/B testing that was designed for campaign based email marketing and doesn’t scale across channels.
- Integrated Content Marketing. You can’t run great cross-channel customer experiences without amazing content. Oracle Cross-Channel Marketing for consumer marketers can now incorporate content developed inside Oracle Content Marketing for use in developing individualized customer experiences. Through the use of persona-based content, marketers can ensure content is delivered to relevant consumers at the right point in their lifecycle.
What’s an example of a company doing customer journeys the right way? Kirklands, the furniture chain, uses real-time behavioral data to personalize interactions across the web, email, and mobile channels for an abandon shopping cart campaign. For example, inside stores, Kirkland post signs that encourage customers to write an SMS message to receive an in-store redemption code. While this provides value to the customer, it helps Kirkland better tie their offline interactions to journeys they orchestrate digitally. In fact, these campaigns that are triggered off of real-time behavior have generated a 300% better conversion rate than traditional campaigns.
These newly released features further complement our commitment to great cross-channel marketing not just in consumer marketing, but business marketing as well. At our Modern Marketing Experience Conferences, we announced key integrations for business marketers including rich A/B Testing and embedding applications into its marketing orchestration canvas with AppCloud Connect.