As we slide into the holidays, it’s a good time to take a breather after another tumultuous pandemic year. In addition to gathering with friends and family, many of you will use the holiday break to catch up on your reading.
To help you prepare for 2022, we asked the BlueConic team to share their must-read articles from the past year. We hope you consider adding the following to your own reading list to help you stay on top of the major trends that will shape marketing, advertising, and supporting technologies in the coming year.
In this November 2021 Real Story Group article, founder Tony Byrne shares his take on why independent players will dominate the CDP category going forward, as opposed to the major marketing cloud vendors.
“Over the next five years, you’re likely to see most energy in the CDP space continuing to emanate from independent vendors,” writes Byrne. “They have a multi-year lead on the majors like Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce. Independent vendor solutions can more easily fit into diverse stacks, while the larger vendors have proven reluctant to extract themselves from aging investments in their legacy engagement-tier platforms. Their CDP offerings tend toward parochial as a result, and they’ve largely retreated into relationship-oriented CDP sales strategies — or unsubtle bullying — rather than proving out technical and business fit.”
In this December 2021 blog post, Gartner Analyst Benjamin Bloom explains why achieving a 360-degree view has a slim chance of complete success. At BlueConic, we couldn’t agree more. Companies need to start by defining their specific use cases before making technology decisions. And when it comes to data collection, companies should only collect what they need and ensure there is always a mutual and transparent value exchange with the customer.
Bloom states, “As you approach 2022, re-set what you are attempting to achieve and ensure it is rooted in customer outcomes, rather than hype. A core component of our Maturity Model for Managing Marketing Technology (Gartner subscription required) is that more advanced marketing technology teams take a pragmatic, rather than idealistic look at data. They recognize that scoping down to the right data creates a faster path to ROI than harvesting all conceivable data with the expectation of creating specific use cases down the road.”
The drawbacks of the marketing cloud suites are clear to Real Story Group founder Tony Byrne. In this article, he explains the fundamental conundrum of “the Salesforce CDP,” and why you don’t need to make it your own.
“Yet there’s a larger story here: don’t license foundational technology like a CDP from an incumbent vendor without testing architectural and use-case fit,” states Byrne. “Preparing for the stack of the future means adopting a CDP that can play an independent role in your environment.”
#4. Fool’s Gold: What Marketing Cloud Pricing Strategies Tell Us About Their CDP Offerings, by Cory Munchbach
Tony Byrne isn’t the only industry pundit taking shots at the marketing cloud suites. In this LinkedIn post from February 2021, BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach shares her thoughts on why buyers should beware when it comes to the marketing clouds’ supposed CDP offering.
“I know that relationships are hard to build and that the best ones are based on a genuine trust built up between vendor and buyer – it’s a true partnership,” writes Munchbach. “But we also know that in an effort to rationalize huge acquisitions and validate massive positioning exercises, these behemoth vendors are showing up with slideware, untested “co-sell” propositions, and wacky pricing and hoping that their relationships give them a pass on value. Doesn’t sound like much of a partnership from where I sit and that whole mechanism is bad for marketing tech buyers writ large – not just in CDP.”
In this October 2021 blog post, Forrester’s VP, Research Director Mike Proulx explains why he sees 2022 as a tale of two CMOs. CMOs that come out ahead will be diversified backgrounds and cross-functional remits.
“Some with the CMO title will continue to be sidelined by the likes of another chief “something” officer — relegated only to the subset of marketing involving brand and promotion — while elite CMOs (those with data, martech, customer experience, and product chops) will capitalize on this moment in time to duly expand their remit across the marketing mix,” writes Proulx.
Vince Jeffs, Senior Director of Product Strategy in Marketing & CX at Pegasystems breaks down how CDPs have evolved since 2016 in this June 2021 byline for CustomerThink and details what to consider when talking about everyone’s favorite buzz-word – “real-time.”
Jeffs states, “When considering the claim of ‘real-time,’ (which is a critical capability to take CX to another level) look beyond single components, such as the speed of data collection, or placing data onto a customer profile record. Instead, inspect the entire data/event -> insights -> decision journey.”
#7. Gartner Survey of Over 2,000 CIOs Reveals the Need for Enterprises to Embrace Business Composability in 2022, by Gartner, Inc.
This October 2021 press release reveals the findings of Gartner’s annual global survey of CIOs and technology executives, including the shared belief that agility and flexibility are core to a business’s success. Monika Sinha, research vice president at Gartner, weighed in on the results:
“Digital business initiatives fail when business leaders commission projects from the IT organization and then shirk accountability for the implementation results, treating it as just another IT project,” said Sinha. “Instead, high-composability enterprises embrace distributed accountability for digital outcomes, reflecting a shift that most CIOs have been trying to make for several years, as well as creates multidisciplinary teams that blend business and IT units to drive business results.”
Just because the types of customer data businesses can collect are plentiful doesn’t mean they should. In this September 2021 article for CMSWire, freelance writer Andie Burjek interviews Gartner Analyst, Lizzy Foo Kune and George Mason University professor Tarun Kushwaha, to explain why collecting as much customer data as possible doesn’t lead to trusted customer relationships.
“Organizations have spent the last 20 to 30 years investing in customer data and the technology that collects it. But more recently many organizations have begun thinking more strategically on how they can drive value from these investments,” said Lizzy Foo Kune, VP analyst at Gartner. She suggests that clients avoid collecting “360 degrees” worth of data on customers and instead decide a couple major factors first: the use case for the customer data and how exactly it can drive value for the business. From there, organizations can strategically decide what limited data they need and focus on that.”
Not all CDPs are created equal. Scott Brinker, author of chiefmartec.com, explains why use cases should determine whether or not you need a CDP, and if so, which one is best for your business needs.
“There’s been some interesting debate lately about CDPs vs. CDWs — customer data platforms vs. cloud data warehouses,” writes Brinker. “If CDWs such as Snowflake, Databricks, AWS Redshift, etc., are becoming a universal data layer in companies, is there still a role for domain-specific data platforms, such as marketing-controlled CDPs? The short answer, in my opinion, is “Yes, but it depends…”
#10. Why App Annie’s Transparency Failings Is An Opportunity For Other Businesses To Look In The Mirror, by Cory Munchbach
In a September 2021 op-ed for AdEchanger, BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach explains why the time is now for companies to make transparent-first, privacy-by-design principles core to their corporate strategy, and why waiting is the path most likely to backfire.
“The lack of transparency on the part of data “collectors” (i.e., companies) and the lack of control on the part of data “sources” (i.e., consumers) are problematic at best and unethical at worst. It’s not too extreme to say, left unchecked, the consequences could be Orwellian,” warns Munchbach.