Data is everywhere! Marketers are being overwhelmed with 1st and 2nd party data, yet very few brands are ready for this.

Gopesh Raichura - OracleGopesh Raichura is the Data Evangelist at Oracle Marketing Cloud. His session at Savage Marketing 2017 on DMP and Audience Data addressed some of the main data-related concerns of a modern marketer, which is why it was voted as one of the top presentations of the conference. We caught up with Gopesh to further learn from him how companies and marketers are preparing for a truly data driven marketing culture.

S: Back in June you spoke on activating audience data, unifying 100% of data across all digital touch points and investing in reliable Data Management Platforms (DMPs). How has this message evolved since then?
GR: Data management and activation is an important theme for organisations looking to embrace digital innovation. Data is everywhere and underpins all of these innovations you speak of. Whether it be Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence and/or Machine Learning applications that an organisation is considering to implement, they need to think about how they will make data insights generated across the organisation meaningful as a whole and not just in their respective channel siloes. These insights can then be used to make better-informed business decisions to drive business growth.  

What is more evident now, is that where the application of a DMP was originally thought of as a tool primarily for advertising based activities, innovations surrounding things such as connected devices and AI assistants for example, is leading towards a need to merge both advertising and services related data. This is in order to deliver connected experiences that are not just about advertising alone, which only counts for part of the overall experience!  

A data management and activation infrastructure should be at the heart of that process. As the fusion of these ever-increasing data points occur, it will totally change the way data is used to engage audiences. Behind the scenes, it will see greater collaboration between companies that will impact how they work together to deliver experiences that help improve the way we live our lives through use of technology, data and connected devices.

S: AI is a hot topic these days. Oracle recently announced its plug-and-play AI solution which would be as simple as a mobile app and could integrate with any of the Oracle Cloud products. Can you take us through what this means or how it helps the everyday marketer?
GR: The approach of every tech vendor here will differ. Oracle’s approach is to take the confusion out of the technology for Marketers by making industry aligned plug and play Adaptive Intelligence (AI) apps that help to deliver desired business outcomes identified as being important to those industries. Oracle AI solutions in the space of Customer Experience (CX) helps Marketers through automated, real-time decision-making to optimise the experience for their users, which helps drive business growth.

Oracle AI solutions in the space of Customer Experience (CX) helps Marketers through automated, real-time decision-making.

S: Is there a set of rules when identifying the right DMP for your organisation? Our network is primarily from larger geographically diverse brands in Telco, Automotive, ecommerce, and mainly B2C space with multiple digital touchpoints.
GR: Great question… I wrote a post on this very topic, which you can read here on my blog (smoothmind) that explores Digital trends. In this post, I cover the top 5 tips to evaluating a DMP for your business. This would be a good starting point for any organisation that is thinking about how to approach the DMP selection process.  

You may also be interested in our interview with Eva Wimmers, President Honor Europe on Overthrowing Samsung and Apple: Honor, For The Brave

S: WPP’s Martin Sorrell once claimed that in-house media buying is a temporary phenomenon (Read post here). This is truly not the case when you look at Volkswagen’s Innovation Centre, Booking.com’s Data Science Team or Samsung’s CHIEL. What are some of your observations, especially around programmatic technology and marketing practices? Any programmatic vendors we should take note of and why?

Brands are more empowered now than ever before to take control of their own destiny by bringing technology in-house.

GR: I saw an interesting stat on Instagram posted by martecexec.  It was quoting Accenture and the stat says companies outsource “between 45% and 75% of marketing activities” to agencies.

My observation here is that it entirely depends on the company, their stage of digital maturity, business objectives, resourcing capabilities, and in-house experience they have at their disposal. There are many factors that will influence whether these services are managed in-house or not, or indeed through a combination of both in-house and Agency/Systems Integrator (SI) support.

It is true however that brands are more empowered now than ever before to take control of their own destiny by bringing technology in-house. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the unification of 1st party data from across their business. It really should be the brand who takes and makes the purchase decision to invest in having a central data management and activation infrastructure in place for their business.

As a consequence, what I am seeing here is that the switched-on agencies and SI’s are augmenting their service proposition to facilitate clients with strategically aligned services to help optimise their data management and activation activities. Rather than the Agencies/SI’s making the decision to own/subscribe to the data management platform in place of the client and owning the rights to that platform as a third party, they are supporting the client to manage those platforms effectively post implementation.

I support clients and Agency/SI partners with enablement activities and guidance in how best to approach these activities to drive success for all parties in the mix.  

S: The state of agencies is in flux. There is a huge shift in companies to hire skilled resources and take charge of audience data and work on overall performance, customer experience and have better insight on ad spend than before. What are your observations based on your client work?
GR: From experience, I recognise that every company is unique. Each will have different circumstances. This means that a solution that works well for one company may not necessarily work well for another. For this reason it is important for every company to take a step back to consider the big picture from a growth objectives perspective of their organisation. They can then drill-down on what this means in terms of the tactical activities that need to be implemented at a granular level to achieve these objectives. Typically there is a misalignment. It often requires the work of the company and agency/SI partners to figure out where this is currently occurring so that it can be correctly addressed.

While clients continue to test and learn with new technologies in-house and take more control of their data via platforms like DMPs, there are AI, Automation, IoT, Voice Search, and Chatbot technologies creating new layers of data consideration, which as mentioned earlier is changing the way we think about delivering connected experiences to our audiences.  For Agencies and SI’s, many remain ahead of the curve by maintaining close partnerships with tech vendors like Oracle for example. In this way they remain informed of the latest innovations being delivered and can benefit from the training and enablement initiatives being provided through these partnerships. With this insight, they can help their clients successfully navigate this space. This is increasingly important for Agencies and SI’s, since their clients rely on them for impartial advice and guidance.

Developing A Seamless Customer Experience With Data

S: You had many meaningful discussions at Savage Marketing – was there a commonality in the conversations you had or challenges in martech you kept hearing among the participants?
GR: The biggest challenge was related to broken customer experiences. Many people were not sure where to start and how to go about getting to the heart of the core challenges in their business that might be contributing to this broken experience.

S: Are there any new projects, acquisitions, new solutions at Oracle Marketing Cloud our members should know of?
GR: Absolutely and thanks for asking that question. Oracle recently acquired Moat. They are a great team and have a fantastic real-time analytics offering, which is well known in the ADTECH space. Moat was recently awarded video viewability verification by ABC, which is worth checking-out.  

We spoke about Oracle Adaptive Intelligence (AI) solutions earlier and how they can help Marketers. Interestingly, these capabilities are being expanded across the full range of Oracle Cloud applications beyond Customer Experience (CX) to also include Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud (ERP), Supply Chain Management Cloud (SCM) and Human Capital Management Cloud (HCM). ZDNet posted an article for those of you who want to learn more.  

Another area I find exciting is the Oracle Mobile Cloud offering that powers the infrastructure for companies wanting to embrace innovations in Voice Search and Chatbot applications. Oracle’s Chatbot System is powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP) and supports engagement across a wide range of digital channels including Facebook Messenger, Kik, Skype, and Slack, as well as Voice Search. Everywhere I go, I see different Voice Search devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, being offered at a relatively low cost to drive consumer adoption. In the lead-up to Christmas, these devices will make great gifts and fly off the shelves…

These Virtual Assistant devices and Chatbots are changing the way that audiences are connecting with brands. Given the fast pace of these innovations coming to market, most brands are not equipped today to handle the huge amounts of data and insights that can be exported from these devices to provide for more connected experiences for their customers.

The ability to interpret, engage and provide the best service back through these innovations will differ from company to company. With Voice Search now being taken more seriously by consumers and Chatbots providing real-time interactive responses and service related support, it is creating a new and exciting way for brands to connect with their audiences and changing the way in which customer service can be applied to help improve the experience for the better.

A data management and activation solution is important to connect the dots between all data points across your business including Voice Search and Chatbot, allowing you to have a central place of data unification where meaningful insights can be derived and then made actionable to enable truly connected experiences to drive customer retention, increase brand loyalty and ultimately achieve real business growth.  

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet data driven brands like Google, Philips, Business Insider and other digitally charged companies in person and learn more on developing a seamless customer experience at the Savage Marketing 2018 Conference. Make sure to sign up to receive a notification whenever a new speaker is announced here.

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