As EVP of performance marketing for Interpublic Group’s MRM//McCann, it’s in Subu Desaraju’s purview to crack marketing cloud complexities in client deployments.
Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, IBM and Nielsen all built marketing clouds via acquisition, but with these ongoing investments come challenges around data interoperability and overall efficiency across their stacks.
Although a number of platforms preach product and audience integration, the reality of marketing cloud connectivity leaves a lot to be desired.
Desaraju spoke with AdExchanger at Adobe Summit about key client challenges with marketing clouds.
AdExchanger: What are a couple of issues you’re working through with marketing clouds?
SUBU DESARAJU: Customer data fragmentation and creating an integrated view offline and online of the consumer. Brands are looking to invest in advanced analytics, which is why we’ve seen the emergence of IBM Watson as a marketing solution and integrations like Adobe Analytics’ partnership with Microsoft Azure. Analytics is where brands can really differentiate themselves from the competition.
Another key issue we have is being able to connect identities across screens and devices. Google and Facebook own the identity space, as well as Amazon.
If you think about incremental media spend, 75% of people-based marketing spend is going to Facebook and Google. They not only have the data, but the ability to prove incrementality. Marketing clouds still have significant challenges where there are gaps in the offerings.
The data loss that results from the identity-syncing process. If something’s a well-integrated stack, you shouldn’t have to do ID syncing. You should be leveraging the same identity across platforms, which minimizes data loss. The challenge is, no one’s truly doing that.
Even if you think about Adobe, they’re just starting to think about audience integration across their platform. And Salesforce has an open data architecture, but their offering is fairly limited right now to Krux and ExactTarget because they don’t have a DSP at this point.
What are the biggest “asks” you’re currently getting in client deployments?
The need to move from business diagnostics to more prescriptive, predictive analytics. Data democratization is the other key piece. We as an industry haven’t done a great job of creating constructs that enable marketing decision makers to make day-to-day business decisions.
Where is there the most complexity?
There’s a lot of ambiguity now in the marketing cloud space. We saw Adobe launch an Experience Cloud, Advertising Cloud and Analytics Cloud. Messaging has to be simplified for marketers. There’s a lot of fragmentation.
How does MRM/McCann define “performance?”
When I think of performance, there are three key pillars that define it: It’s about connecting data assets a brand has. It’s about making meaning and finding meaning out of those data assets through really intelligent analytics, and the third piece is enabling meaningful customer experiences. I think programmatic is a piece of it, but it really comes down to the distribution side.
How has MRM’s role changed?
Consumers today are sharing so much data with brands that they expect a value exchange in return. CMOs are recognizing it, brands are recognizing it, but the gap in the marketplace today is the fact that CMOs recognize this need, but the tenure of a CMO is only two and one-half years. They don’t have the luxury of spending three years creating a road map for this.
I think this is why the marketing cloud ecosystem is heating up so much and why we’re being asked by brands to create relationships with different stacks.
Who do you predict will edge out other marketing clouds?
Google, in this category, will be a very effective follower. They own the identity space, and so for them to actually merge across data management platforms, an analytics suite, media optimization, delivery and distribution, they can be very effective. I think Google is the biggest threat at this point to marketing clouds.
Interview edited for clarity and length.