A few years ago, there was a big trend towards talking about platforms as MCCM – Multichannel Campaign Management, such as IBM Unica.
Such platforms focussed on the customer as the central entity in marketing model, ensuring transformation, cleansing and customer level deduplication into a SCV that would be accurate and reliable for deployment across multiple channels over and above digital and social channels.
I liked this.
Fast forward a few years, and the sector is now trending on Marketing Automation with reportedly over 500 products available with low entry level pricing.
Making such technology accessible and affordable for the many businesses who are not financially or strategically ready for a Rolls Royce, is fantastic.
However, from the numerous demos I have seen over the last 6 months, I have frustrations with the move to Marketing Automation away from MCCM as many principles that I consider good practice, have been seemingly left on the shelf. It feels as though we are going backwards in this respect and not using data in the most intelligent way.
Firstly, the focus is on email as the unique identifier, with data being stored and accessed on this key alone. I am sure I am not alone in having multiple email addresses. Using only email as the unique identifier results in a customer level duplication with presents inaccurate BI and Insights that can drive relevant content to a customer.
Secondly, integration is being glossed over as easy as plug and play between systems - in my experience it’s never as simple as this as data is often more complicated than black box solutions assume. It takes time to understand and connect multiple systems well.
When pressed on this there hasn't been the transparency of how it works and often actually requires a 3rd party integration specialist - we had one demo that actually talked us through the process word for word from the 'how to guide' on a partner site and he was supposed to be the technical expert!
And last (for now at least) core principles of direct marketing seem to have been lost in the translation. Lots of talk about dashboards and measurement but with no ability for control cells. Post campaign analysis requests which incorporates sales outside of a digital session were met with “I’ll need to talk to my technical team and get back to you” with then still unclear answers. Whilst attribution continues to be a hot topic, there is a need to have an overall view on the impact of marketing activity on different customers, across all channels, not just digital ones.
I’m all for a more accessible, affordable way forward for businesses to leverage their data and deliver greater marketing relevance to customer, but I am concerned we are losing something along the way.
Have others had the same thoughts or have I been unlucky in the platforms I have reviewed, or in the lack of experience of the sales person conducting the demo? I would welcome any other points of view on this subject…