The term “marketing cloud” became popular in the early 2010s with the promise that it could manage and automate marketing operations across numerous channels such as email, mobile, social and web.

While marketing clouds have evolved over the years (mainly through acquisition), one thing has remained consistent: They do not integrate marketing technologies into a large, unified platform as promised. As a result, brands and marketers can’t streamline operations and provide a truly personalized omnichannel experience.

Marketing clouds, many of which started as email platforms and evolved, often serve the needs of the marketing masses by personalizing things like email journeys and blasts. However, they struggle with personalization across several channels – leaving many organizations with unmet needs.

There are three common issues organizations face when they’re using marketing clouds. So, if your organization faces any of these challenges, it’s time to consider alternatives. Let’s examine those three drawbacks – and how SAS can help.

Problem No. 1: Poor simultaneous personalization across channels

It isn’t easy to deliver use cases that involve personalized offers across multiple channels at once (e.g., web with email, mobile with web, email with mobile with social). A lot of big marketing clouds allow you to personalize things like email, but real-time dynamic personalization simultaneously across digital channels such as the web or in-app is where they struggle.

What’s the solution?

A platform that is integrated by design to personalize alongside other channels consistently. All channels should be “context aware” and use knowledge from personalization results in one channel to personalize in and across other channels.

When marketing clouds don’t share data between modules, all applications in the ecosystem can’t be contextually aware. For example:

  • A customer enters an online commerce portal and shows interest in a product purchase. After browsing but not buying, they receive a dynamically personalized email newsletter. When clicking the email newsletter on their mobile device, they see and purchase the same product offer. After the purchase, the retargeting is suppressed on all channels. Then, the next-best offer is presented at the customer’s next touch point. This scenario requires an integrated platform where data, content and business logic are centralized – allowing the brand to respond to events in any channel immediately. This capability ensures marketers can create inbound and outbound marketing interactions within one journey.
  • To serve a dynamic, personalized response to a call center for the next-best experience is similar to the abovementioned situation. The call center app and agent must be contextually aware of what has happened across other channels.

As your business cases mature into the examples above, you might realize that your marketing cloud isn’t giving you the level of personalization you need.

Problem No. 2: No owned marketing view

You can’t get to the data you need; when you can, it requires duplication from other cloud data stores (sales cloud, commerce cloud, etc.). As a result, your organization has no “owned” data infrastructure or consistent marketing view of customers. Since data must be duplicated, there’s associated costs, time, resources – and a considerable amount of risk in the form of a data breach or hack.

What’s the solution?

SAS takes a different approach to MarTech. SAS® Customer Intelligence 360 was developed with a hybrid data architecture. Our architecture connects to the data where it resides instead of forcing the data to be uploaded into our environment. For example:

  • Many big marketing cloud vendors have audience-building capabilities that only query audience data that resides within their marketing cloud. But many organizations want a customer view where all data is ingested in real time, as much as possible. Many CDPs (customer data platforms) in the market try to do this, but they need to understand that customer data can move slowly. The only thing that matters in real time is the customer behavior capture. SAS lets you dynamically collect data and directly connect to your marketing data warehouse (or any other cloud data source such as Snowflake or Google BigQuery). If your data isn’t in the cloud and is on-premises, that’s ok; SAS can connect to that, too. So sync jobs to your marketing cloud can stop, and audiences can be created dynamically in real time – not after a batch sync job completes.
  • The data collection capabilities of SAS allow you to collect and consume events from any channel as they occur. These could be out-of-the-box channels like email, mobile and web – or events from connected external systems. The hybrid architecture of SAS allows you to use these events stored in the unified data model with your existing data warehouse or cloud data source to dynamically build audiences. No lifting, shifting or data duplication is required.
  • Once these audiences are created, building journeys with SAS is simple. Audiences combine with reusable events and tasks to orchestrate marketing communications across channels.

Problem No. 3: High, unpredictable costs

Your organization is paying too much for what it receives from a ROMI (return on marketing investment) perspective. Plus, costs are varied and unpredictable.

What's the solution?

It’s widely known that large vendors with large and diverse sales and marketing teams commonly oversell capabilities – or sell the same ones into multiple parts of a single organization. Vendors with large product listings often create confusion surrounding the capabilities of which products – causing customers to buy multiple products with feature overlap. The result? Bloated contracts and large product base prices with little room for prorating or discounting.

SAS takes the opposite approach by embracing a pay-as-you-go model. Your organization only pays for the data sources connected, the foundational components used and the activation channels selected. Since SAS Customer Intelligence 360 is software-as-a-service (SaaS) based, setup and deployment is fast and easy. The result is high MarTech utilization and low yearly costs. As marketing budgets continue to shrink, this is music to digital marketers’ ears.

If your marketing cloud just doesn’t make sense and you are ready for a new approach, give SAS Customer Intelligence 360 a look. It’s a natively built, pay-as-you-go, fit-for-purpose offering that wins the accolades of both analysts and customers alike.

Learn more about our modern, multichannel marketing hub SAS Customer Intelligence 360 


About Author

Jonathan Moran

Head of MarTech Solutions Marketing

Jonathan Moran is responsible for global marketing activities for SAS’ marketing solutions. He has more than 20 years of marketing technology and customer analytics industry experience. Jonathan has designed, developed and implemented analytical software solutions that helped Fortune 500 customers solve unique analytics business issues.

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