Best-of-Breed Approach vs. All-in-One Marketing Cloud

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In times of #CustomerCentric and #CustomerExperience it’s important  to do a global communication and interaction. #CrossChannel is the keyword here. All-in-one marketing clouds offer these cross-channel approach. But is such a all-in-one solution really the best solution?

The integrated best-of-breed approach follows the direction that you should take the single best solution which fits best for your individual requirements and combine them to an own system. This requires a Customer Data Platform. So you are using the best e-mail system, the best social tool, the best CMS, the best… and combine the data into this platform.

Following Gartners Hype Cycle from mid 2017 it takes 2 to 5 years for Customer Data Platforms to reach the plateau of productivity while Data Management Platforms (Advertising) are short before it (less then 2 years). Important is the data management for customer data and not for advertising.

Gartner Digital Marketing Advertising 2017

Source Gartner 1)

Interesting in this hype cycle is, that the Digital Marketing Hubs are much closer to the plateau of productivity then the Customer Data Platforms… but both need the same time to reach it. This shows how slowly Digital Marketing Hubs are. New channels and requirements will integrated slowly into a big marketing cloud. Small solution provider are much more flexible. So if we manage it to bring several solutions together to build our own marketing cloud, which is the best fit for your own business, it’s great. The point is the workload…. it requires a very good IT department and handling many issues. If it’s working, it’s amazing and you have a great competitor advantage… and if something changes from a market, customer or your company point of view you can replace parts or ad new tools. On the other side you have a huge project with much workload if it comes to the point that it is needed to replace an all-in-one marketing hub. This you will always postpone until the pain is to big.

But do we need the best e-mail system, the best social tool, the best… ? The most important thing is to deliver the best #CustomerExperience. Therefore we need the best insight into the customer. So data are the key element. Without the best data and the best data integration the best tool is nothing.

Every cloud system has it’s API, but what I have seen often is that, by its nature, it does not really like to work with other systems. If it comes to big data you need to sync in real- or near-time you can get in trouble. Cloud provider a will point you then to cloud provider b and vice versa.

So first of all you need to define your vision how to communicate / interact within 10 years (see Communication2025). Then build your data strategy (see IoT – Think big, then keep it simple) and see which data you need to handle and which logical systems (CMS, CRM, DMS, etc.) you have today and which you need for this (not which provider). Then think about if it’s better to have a all-in-one marketing cloud or if its better to build your own by combining the best-of-breed solutions.

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