Don’t Stop Believin’ – It’s a Journey

For those of you that couldn’t make it to Oracle MME this year, here’s a blog article that will give you the highlights. We highly recommend putting this on in the background.  Please turn up your volume for the full experience.

I am trying to ‘hold on to that feelin‘; Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience 2017  event offered best practices and state-of-the-art technology, tapping into the latest innovations that marketing technology has to offer.  The event was a part of the broader Modern Customer Experience, where participants not only attended Marketing-specific sessions, but also engaged with end-to-end solutions, exploring the four pillars of the CX cloud: marketing, sales, service, and commerce. The word of the event was ‘journey’ — and we were about to go on one.

Takin’ the Midnight Train

 Before the registration desk was a long white board covered in all kinds of colorful post-it notes, cards, matrices, and diagrams; similar to how you’d imagine detectives creating an evidence board, connecting the dots by piecing together news articles and pictures of suspects.

Brian Curran and Merlyn Gordon are their own version of detectives. Presenting their work from the board titled, ‘Your Innovation Journey Starts Here,’  they explained to passersby how they are leading change by designing customer and employee experiences that drive meaningful and emotional connections to a brand and execute those experiences in a collaborative environment that produce measurable financial results.

As businesses become more automated, creating an increasing reliance on machines to solve our of our toughest questions, this type of thinking made me pause: As we work to gain efficiency and streamline processes, how does the human experience fit into all this?  It turns out, this kind of focus on how your business connects its products and services with all the players involved in its operations, can have real tangible results, often leading to more fulfilled customers and employees who will evangelize for your company, and ultimately produce a better bottom line. As Curran said, “We’re at this beautiful time for design, …the ability to really understand the customer, to have that empathetic understanding, to actually design experiences that are very relevant to that customer ….”

This kind of insight is becoming more widely available, as processes, like the one Brian and Merlyn have designed, and tools, like the cloud products you see at a conference like this, improve our understanding of the customer journey and force us to innovate to provide a better customer experience.

Streetlights, people

As I walked through the Mandalay Bay casino watching people ‘payin’ anything to roll the dice,’ it got me thinking about companies and their customers and how they engage with them across their journeys: ‘some will win, some will lose.

In order to effectively visualize this journey, a marketing stack needs to be able to connect directly to commerce, sales, service, website content management, and social relationship platforms to deliver a holistic customer experience.

Oracle CEO, Mark Hurd, touted Oracle’s connected suite of products to share data and knowledge across lines of business to support the customer experience. Hurd’s keynote poked fun at CEOs who have ‘innovative and groundbreaking’ priorities — commonly focused on gaining market share and lowering costs.  He summarized his presentation with “The ability to innovate takes longer than delivering better service.”

This struck a chord with the audience, and drove the point home that delivering better service requires an organization to know its customers.  As a company, you need to be able to respond with knowledge of your customer’s history of engagement, the products/services they’ve purchased, in order to enable sales and service teams to support and cross/up-sell.  How is this possible? By having integrated systems share data, and ensuring those that need to make decisions have the information they need.  As someone stated at the event, “it’s your data – take control of it.”

Workin’ Hard to Get My Fill

I found the ‘What IS Intelligent Content’ session insightful as speakers from Lionbridge, LookBook, Relationship One, and RRD shared their thoughts on how to build an intelligent content strategy.

All the members of the panel agreed that content decisions need to be made using data, and they’ve each worked with many companies and creative agencies that create content without knowing the medium that will resonate best with their audience.

Nick Douard of LookBook stated, “The average MQL needs between 7-10 pieces of content. It’s a content journey.”

This reinforced a couple of concepts:

  1. Analyze the content being used within your organization.
    1. Are these the most effective ways to communicate your company’s values?
    2. How does your audience want to consume this information?
  2. Your contacts are on a content journey, and they are going through their own process to inform themselves; give them everything they need to do so.

Often times, this requires your company to go against the way they have always done things and try new mediums to present the same information, like using interactive content, or a service like LookBook, that actually encourages content binging.  Marketers are often trying to increase engagement, but sometimes their methods may be misguided as they try to push content.  Why not instead pull people in by giving them the choice and channels they need to make an informed decision?  Easier said than done, but at least considering and measuring how your contacts consume information will provide insights on how to help them help themselves.

Up and Down the Boulevard

What I’ve found when you go to an event like this is that they’re places for marketers to share and teach each other about their own journeys – a place to find inspiration and inspire others as well. You can discover how fellow marketers are leveraging new technologies like AI (Adaptive Intelligence) and machine learning, or about efficiently utilizing ABM (Account-Based Marketing) strategies, as well as how to integrate business intelligence with more robust integrations to inform data-driven decision making.

All of that learning is ultimately in an effort to serve the customer and deliver a better, more modern customer experience.  As we buy new solutions or implement new processes or define new strategies, we must keep in mind, as Laura Ipsen, SVP & GM, Oracle Marketing Cloud said, “it’s a journey, not a destination” and as Journey so rightly sang, ‘It goes on and on, and on, and on.’


Livin’ in a lonely world when it comes to your revenue program? Wondering how you can connect your customer journey to revenue impact? Get ahold of Intelligent Demand here. 

Roy Hegger

Author Roy Hegger

More posts by Roy Hegger

Roy is a Senior Demand Generation Technologist at Intelligent Demand - and always looking for the next avenue to drive demand and increase revenue. He brings experience in delivering marketing and operational innovation from his prior work in the technology, non-profit, and financial services sectors. Roy has been in the nitty-gritty of building sales and marketing systems, having developed the content, campaigns, and reporting to increase conversion rates, improve lead flow, and draw a clear line to the bottom-line. He believes he is part of a revolution when he works with clients to develop integrated strategies to enable revenue-generating activities in support of the customers’ journey.

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