Is the Marketing Cloud the Answer for the Dynamics 365 Marketer?

March 6 2020

As the customer journey becomes more complex, investments in marketing technology continue to be an important factor in reaching a digital buyer through multichannel touchpoints. According to Forrester’s US Marketing Technology and Services Outlook, CMOs will spend more than $122 billion on marketing technology (MarTech) and services by the year 2022. In addition, a recent Gartner report suggests that technology now accounts for 29 percent of a total marketing expense budget, making MarTech the single largest area of investment when it comes to marketing resources and programs.

While these figures validate the need for marketing technology, more than 7,000 technology vendors compete daily to solve marketers’ challenges. So, while the options are plentiful, the modern marketer has the daunting task of finding, integrating and implementing the ideal MarTech stack to reach new and existing customers.

For Dynamics 365 users, there is an added level of complexity to finding the right solutions that integrate Dynamics and Microsoft’s Common Data Service. Both B2B and B2C companies choose Microsoft because they want to a single data layer for all their business applications, resulting in a more complete, unified picture of their business and customers. In addition to the need for integrated sales and marketing technology, companies also want “no-code” options for citizen developers to quickly extend applications for their business, making a common data foundation even more important.

To meet the evolving needs of marketers and help them reduce the current overwhelming complexity of the MarTech stack, B2B marketing automation technology leaders have evolved their offerings into marketing clouds, suites of cloud-based marketing tools covering inbound marketing, lead management, multichannel orchestration, campaign management, analytics, marketing services and more. Marketing clouds aim to reduce the complexity of MarTech stacks and provide a unified view of customers so businesses can create personalized multichannel customer journeys that result in a better customer experience.

As Dynamics marketers look for MarTech that fits their needs, below are considerations and insight to determine if the marketing cloud is the answer for your organizations’ needs.

The Constant Debate: Staffing Up, Agency Partners, or Technology Adoption

Marketing leaders continue re-evaluating how business goals are achieved and striking the balance between internal staffing versus agency and external services while implementing marketing technology. As companies add technology to automate functions and increase efficiency, one result is the emergence of more marketing specialist roles. While labor demands continue to grow, most marketing teams were already too small to manage and execute everything from strategy, tactical execution, technology support, and data and analytics. Staffing the team required to execute a digital-forward marketing strategy is too expensive for most companies; next generation marketers are continuing to look for the right balance with internal and external teams.

In response, marketing cloud solution providers have added services capabilities to help their clients execute campaigns and drive marketing results. As the technology becomes more complex to use and integrate and the lines between services from the leading marketing cloud providers and marketing services firms continue to blur, this option is becoming more popular amongst marketers so they can get a broader solution from one vendor.

The Age-Old Question: How Much Is This Going to Cost Me?

When looking at their needs within a MarTech stack, marketers often choose many specialized tools and solutions that each solve a unique and important problem. Unfortunately, going this path requires integration and individual application licensing, which not only is cost-prohibitive, but results in siloed data sets and applications.

Marketing clouds were first developed by stand-alone marketing technology companies and were not well integrated to the CRM. Today, marketing clouds that are specific and specialized to the CRM have begun to emerge. For example, Salesforce and Dynamics CRMs have marketing clouds that are built natively. These purpose-built marketing clouds provide a better holistic solution for sales and marketing at a price point for any organization, including SMBs and mid-market companies, that need an all-in-one solution but don’t have the deep pockets of large enterprises.

Bottom Line: Connected Data is Imperative

Whether a marketer is seeking new customers or building relationships with current ones, it’s important to serve up personalized experiences to each one and to understand all interactions with those customers. Understanding the full customer journey is critical but often illusive.

While marketing budgets are slightly down overall (.5 percent), CMO spending is up in marketing analytics, according to Gartner’s recent CMO Spend Survey. Marketing spend and sentiment continue to reinforce the importance of data and analytics to drive decisions; yet, marketers still struggle to achieve their goals in this area. Continued investment in analytics technology and data talent is not an option in order to solve this.

Marketing analytics will continue to be crucial to marketing leaders in 2020 and beyond, giving them a competitive advantage in an ever-changing digital experience. For organizations still not fulfilling their marketing analytics needs, a marketing cloud could offer a better way to unify data and provide a complete picture of the customer. It can also provide better visibility into ROI and allow for optimization that leads to better results with more effective marketing execution.

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Photo by Marko Pekić on Unsplash

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About Tammy Hammond

Tammy Hammond is a product and technology executive with 25 years of industry experience through roles with PGi, web.com and other technology leaders. She brings strong expertise in software strategy, product management and development, and product marketing to ClickDimensions, where she has served as the SVP of Product and Marketing since 2017.

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