What to Look for in Your Integrated Marketing Cloud

The integrated marketing cloud is becoming a near-ubiquitous term for a suite of products and services designed to solve many of B2B marketing’s (and sales’) most pressing needs.

  • Analyzing actionable contact lists to determine best plan
  • Natural language processing to understand buyer context
  • Artificial intelligence to identify all-important buying groups
  • Prioritizing the best in-market accounts to prospect

Increasingly it would seem that the integrated marketing cloud is the right tool for the job at hand.

As more B2B revenue teams turn to this approach, pay attention to what the marketing cloud might offer your company. Think about how you could better manage your data across different teams, channels and processes. 

Marketing Cloud: Everything Demand Gen Under One Roof

An integrated marketing cloud fulfills the marketer’s dream of everything under a single roof (or cloud.) By bringing martech and adtech closer together, channels talk to each other, and processes become more streamlined and effective. In short, the integrated marketing cloud ticks all the boxes. It uses data to connect the dots between customer behaviors, connecting their online activity with their intent. Marketing isn’t only integrated, it’s informed by things like:

  • What topics brought these buyers onto your radar?
  • Who downloaded content on certain topics?
  • What case studies have they read?
  • What social media platforms are they active on?

This information helps you determine who you might want to invite to an upcoming webinar or add to a relevant promotional program. Or it might tell you that few of your prospects are active on certain sites or channels. Either way, it’s good info to have.

Single Point of Interaction for Multiple Processes

The marketing cloud offers a single point of interaction that’s vital for maintaining momentum among team members. Scaling your B2B marketing can quickly become overly complex and labor-intensive. A cloud approach reduces duplicate work and project churn that slow you down and invite errors. Cloud-based programs make it easier to run integrated campaigns and monitor the big picture of diverse channels performing different functions. This — and simpler integration — reduces the complexity that plagues so many good programs. 

Simplified Data Sourcing

The cloud scores big with B2B marketers and data professionals in another area: simplified data sourcing. Having a single data source scored highly in one ClickZ Intelligence executive survey, with over 40% calling it out as a significant advantage of an integrated suite of marketing tools. But marketers might have multiple data sources, which can work, too, provided you can normalize the data. This is another area where integration matters, because it relates to the ease and security of constantly moving data. And keep that in mind — data is not one and done. It’s an ongoing effort.

Figure 6: What do you see as the main advantages of an integrated suite of marketing tools provided by one vendor?Image Source: ClickZ Intelligence

Note that according to research, return on investment (ROI) is also an essential factor, but still secondary to the integration potential.

Trigger and Optimize Multi-Channel Communication with Data 

Today’s business buyers are channel-agnostic. They search any and as many online platforms as they want. They may hold fixed views of how they wish to receive information and whom they will trust.

Buyers might prefer an order confirmation by email, but would rather read best practices from third party sites, and case studies from vendors. This presents a challenge, especially for businesses that have built up different communication channels over time. For example, a company may have launched a website, and then added an email newsletter and social media program later, followed by programmatic advertising. How can you integrate these different systems?

Companies can find themselves with asymmetric communications processes that treat each channel individually. Some may need to be retired, and metrics probably aren’t consistent. However, to successfully engage with buyers, you need to see the big demand gen picture and be there when it matters.

With an integrated marketing cloud, B2B marketers can set themselves up to consistently deliver relevant communications to buyers in their preferred channels. They can measure engagement and conversions in meaningful ways.The cloud pulls the various components of B2B marketing and sales into alignment with adtech, martech and other tools on the same page. Research is starting to show that businesses that integrate marketing processes and tools — and teams — stand to enjoy more effective multi-channel communications. 

Marketing Cloud for Personalized Customer Experience 

An intent-based marketing cloud renders a truer view of your universe of active audiences. It analyzes numerous data points from in-market researchers and their interactions such as email opens, newsletter subscriptions or loyalty program registrations.

Marketers can develop and deploy relevant, consistent messages across email, newsletters, content syndication, webinars, programmatic advertising, social media and other channels, acting on what the data suggests. A holistic cloud dashboard makes it possible to measure the effectiveness of customized or personalized content without any programming skill. 

Moreover, use of intent signals can transform static websites into one-to-one experiences, with customized content and recommendations tailored to a prospect’s online behavior and preferences. This behavior data comes together in the marketing cloud to create a picture and activate engagement. This level of holistic oversight has been hard to achieve until the idea of the marketing cloud came on the scene.  

Actionable Prospect Data to Automate More Engagements

An intent-fueled marketing cloud does more than assemble prospect data from multiple channels (although that’s important); it should also make data actionable in real-time. That’s critical because prospect data has a shelf-life. Then, that cloud can help you evaluate results and decide if any changes are called for. The presence of intent signals helps you plan, organize, personalize and optimize customer journeys across touchpoints.

Intent-based integrated marketing has the ability to illuminate where a prospect is on the customer journey. Marketers can figure out if contacts are alone or on a buying team. Based on their place in the pipeline, the cloud and associated marketing and sales automation trigger actions to guide buyers to the next step.

Marketers often do this if a person downloads a whitepaper, for example. It triggers a pre-approved response, thanking the contact and providing a link for additional resources. Based on their further participation as revealed by data, you can grow your sales funnel by bringing prospects along with valuable, useful content.

Integrate for Better-Together Results

The intent-driven integrated marketing cloud is a “dream-come-true” for B2B sellers who want to use martech and adtech to reach in-market customers through popular and preferred channels.

We’ve written other articles about the cloud that you might enjoy, like this one: “Marketing Cloud Puts Integration in Integrated Marketing.”

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