Introducing marketing clouds
Marketing clouds incorporate a collection of marketing tools, all provided via the cloud, and all of which enable marketers to manage customer relationships and marketing campaigns more efficiently. As part of the wider trend towards marketing automation, marketing cloud platforms are designed to facilitate easier real-time monitoring, planning and decision-making.
As you might expect, a marketing cloud offers a comprehensive digital marketing platform covering a diverse array of capabilities and solutions. These include social media, content creation, web personalisation, data analysis, content management and advertising. The aim of a marketing cloud is to manage marketing activities more efficiently.
With marketing cloud, you can also use event-driven triggers to set specific responses to customer actions in motion. For example, should customers sign up for a loyalty scheme, marketing clouds can then send each one of them automatic thank-you messages via push notifications.
The overall aim of the marketing cloud is to empower marketers to create cohesive multichannel experiences, reaching customers via the appropriate channels – such as SMS, MMS, social media, and messaging (including group messaging) – at the appropriate times, thereby boosting both sales and revenue.
However, the term remains somewhat vague, and there are platforms and tools which together might be considered a kind of marketing cloud, but don’t use the label. This has led to some confusion and calls for a more concrete definition of marketing clouds.
Nevertheless, we can define a marketing cloud platform as one which can be used to optimise the whole customer journey from start to finish, rather than just certain areas of it. It must also encompass areas including content management, analytics, marketing automation, and acquisition.
We’ve already listed some of the leading marketing cloud solutions and their vendors. It’s worth noting here, though, that many clients mix and match tools from different providers, instead of signing up to the whole suite of marketing cloud solutions from one provider. This is partly because a lot of firms don’t wish to be reliant on a single solution and want to keep their options open, maintaining a degree of flexibility.
However, in the next section, we’ll introduce you to one of the more popular marketing cloud solutions on the market: Salesforce Marketing Cloud. As Salesforce was the first company to adopt ‘marketing cloud’ as a term, it makes sense to discuss their platform specifically.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud: A closer look
It’s worth looking at Salesforce Marketing Cloud as a case study of what marketing cloud in general has to offer. There are, as we’ve mentioned, plenty of alternatives available, and these generally provide comparable tools performing similar functions, though there are of course various differences between them.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud comes with tools including Journey Builder. This enables marketers to craft campaigns tailored according to a range of factors including customer demographics, needs, and communication channel habits. It is also connected to Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.