The Big Marketing Clouds at a Glance: Adobe, Salesforce, Marketo and More

Digitization has revolutionized marketing. Meanwhile, it has become very diverse and complex. Large marketing clouds from IT giants like Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle, and Co prove it. Here’s an introduction to other holistic solutions from which not only large companies benefit from.

Marketing Cloud Leaders

Hardly any other corporate discipline has changed as much in the course of digitization as marketing. It spreads products, builds brands, and increases ROI. The goals of marketers have remained the same in times of cloud services, social media, mobile devices, big data, and artificial intelligence. However, the way companies address these challenges has changed dramatically over the past few years. This can be clearly seen in the rapid development of the large marketing clouds of IT giants such as Oracle, Adobe, IBM, SAP, or Salesforce. Marketing has become the new battleground for the major tech companies.

In the current study “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites”, the research and consulting company Forrester Research defines a marketing cloud as an “integrated portfolio of marketing technology products with analytics, automation and orchestration capabilities for insight-based customer interactions that are inbound – and supporting outbound marketing”. Lean SaaS solutions that focus on a specific task or target a specialized department. For instance, purely marketing or help desk tools that are not particularly suitable for larger companies because they form silos and prevent customer processes from being covered across the company. 

Holistic Marketing Platforms

Certainly, it is not possible to have a holistic view of the customer across all contact points and channels. Whether on Twitter, on your own website, with customer support, or even offline. For this reason, holistic marketing platforms in the business sector are on the rise. These have arisen mainly through the acquisition of smaller specialized providers and their integration into a general system.

They consist of several modular solutions that can be brought together under a uniform user interface. Even if every platform has its individual weaknesses and strengths, there are certain functionalities that every modern marketing cloud offers. For example, data management tools that combine multiple data sources in one central location. And campaign management systems that enable rule-based automation of marketing tasks across multiple channels. Additionally, there are extensive tools for segmentation, testing, management, and monitoring of social media networks, and web content management. Analytics also plays a central role in all leading clouds.

However, what really sets Marketing Cloud apart is the ability to get a 360 view of the customer. This enables us to deliver an optimal and consistent experience at every touchpoint.  

Bernd Wagner, Regional Vice President at Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The focus is on individual “customer journeys” and experience management. This way, you can personalize the content of websites, landing pages, mobile apps, etc.

Adobe: The Market Leader

Forrester Research found that Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce are leading the way in this market segment. This is also the conclusion reached by Gartner, which also counts Californian marketing specialist Marketo among the leaders. Of all its competitors, Adobe is the longest-running in the digital marketing market. With the acquisition of the marketing analytics solution Omniture in 2009, the multimedia giant began to develop its concept of an integrated marketing platform. Since then, Adobe has continued to expand its own offering and supplemented it with several acquisitions.

Today, Adobe Marketing Cloud is one of the market leaders. And one of the most comprehensive business marketing suites available. It consists of eight individual solutions that are coordinated with each other.

Companies enable them to gain deep insights into the behavior of their customers. Also, create personalized campaigns and manage content in a professional way. In addition to Adobe’s web analytics solution (developed on the basis of Omniture), it includes “Adobe Audience Manager” data management platform, “Adobe Target” for analytics and targeting, and “Adobe Campaign” for cross-channel campaign management.

A social media tool, a comprehensive CMS for creating websites, apps, and forms, a solution for optimizing the performance of media campaigns, and an integrated TV platform for personalized TV and film experiences round off the range of Adobe Marketing Cloud features. Additionally, Adobe offers interfaces to various business applications. From Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft, and other top providers, as well as know-how, support, and professional consulting services.

Why Using Adobe Marketing Cloud?

In collaboration with the vendor, customers consider which solutions make sense for their needs. And how they should be integrated into their own IT landscape. Third-party agencies and consulting firms that act as Adobe Certified Partners can help companies with the Marketing Cloud implementation. Of course, such options have their price. Although it is not possible to determine how high, since it varies across businesses. There are different licensing and billing models within individual solutions. While other factors such as company size, consulting services, or integration also play a role. One thing is certain: not everyone can afford the powerful Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Salesforce: Not Just for Enterprises

Holistic marketing solutions are valuable not only for corporations, but also for small and medium-sized businesses. “Because they too must take into account the changes brought about by digitization and meet the growing expectations of their customers. Therefore, for companies of all sizes, it is important to offer their customers an optimal and consistent experience at each point of contact”, explains Wagner. Even if most people immediately think of large companies when they think of Salesforce, the comprehensive cloud offering from the Californian SaaS pioneer is actually targeting startups and SMBs as well, particularly with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

According to Wagner, Salesforce’s strength is the platform concept. Because it not only offers a comprehensive marketing solution but also combines it with its other clouds for sales, service, analytics, apps, e-commerce, and more. 

This gives marketers access to an up-to-date and holistic customer profile with information from all points of contact., including information provided by sales, help desk or call center, through any device, be it laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone. This allows you to serve each customer individually according to their history, needs, and expectations.

Unlike Adobe, Oracle, and the vast majority of business software providers, who keep their pricing under wraps, Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers directly calculable prices with a public price list. For example, SMBs that want to rely on email, web, and mobile marketing can start with as little as 400 euros per month (billed annually). However, for the social media marketing module, another 1,200 euros are added per month. Of course, there are no upper price limits.

Marketo: Focus on Automation

Marketo competes directly with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The solution, fully localized in Germany, is marketed as a comprehensive marketing automation platform from which large and medium-sized companies can also benefit. Marketo offers nine separately available products that cover all important aspects of digital marketing. This includes email, mobile, social, web, advertising, analytics, personalization, predictive content, and automation. They are all brought under one roof in the central Engagement Marketing platform, which is comparable to the listed Marketing Clouds.,.

The core features that the Marketo Cloud comes up with include email marketing, lead management, customer engagement, virtual assistant service, and SEO. In addition, there is a complete integration package that allows you to work with further business applications. User companies can use available software solutions to assemble their individual Marketing Cloud according to their own requirements.

The “Audience Hub” is an important component of the platform. By observing online and offline behavior across different channels, users receive detailed information about their customers. This comprehensive 360 view helps companies design individual real-time interactions that directly target each individual customer.

All-in-One Solutions for SMBs

There are other modern marketing solutions that follow a holistic approach and that midsize companies can also afford. For example, InfusionSoft, AgileOne, Maropost and ActiveCampaign. Additionally, you can take a look at SiteCore and HubSpot. Even if the range of functions in these services is not as great as in leading business solutions, they offer everything that SMBs need to optimally cover company-wide marketing processes in a central platform.

HubSpot is one of the most successful marketing providers in the US. This solution focuses particularly on inbound marketing. It is a modern, increasingly important marketing method that aims for the company to be found by potencial customers. It includes classic marketing tools like PR or search engine optimization, as well as newer methods like content marketing, social media marketing, and conversion optimization. The goal is to increase organic traffic to your website.

The system enables midsized businesses to improve their reach by creating useful content such as blog posts, white papers, case studies or video content and distributing it on multiple channels.

Other core features of HubSpot include landing pages, email marketing, and automation, among others. The application has a central online dashboard on which you can centrally plan, execute and evaluate all marketing initiatives. Another plus: marketers can keep an overview of all visitors, leads, and customers from all marketing used channels and manage them professionally.

Marketing Cloud to Boost Your Business

Large Marketing Clouds help companies better understand their customers, run campaigns more efficiently, optimize customer service, and ultimately maximize ROI from their marketing initiatives. The focus is on a 360 view of the customer and the design and control of personalized customer interactions, throughout the entire customer life cycle.

While large business software providers such as Oracle, Teradata, SAP or IBM are targeting the high-end segment, market leader Adobe and cloud specialists Salesforce, Marketo and HubSpot are targeting a much wider audience. After all, it’s not just large corporations that face the increasing complexity of modern marketing every day. Small and medium-sized businesses also need to standardize and optimize their marketing processes if they want to offer their customers the best possible experience.

What are Marketing Clouds?

A marketing cloud is an integration of cloud-based marketing tools like analytics, audience management, social media management, customer profiling, and targeting. Marketing cloud eases a marketer’s effort by tracking and measuring relevant data like customer behavior and preferences, campaign performance, and lots more.

How can Marketing Clouds help my business?

 A marketing cloud can help you manage and coordinate all of the necessary components of campaign management. Precise customer targeting, a well-defined audience, and designing and executing multichannel marketing campaigns – the cloud holds all of the answers for your engagement needs.

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