“Digital marketing is now simply marketing in a digital world”

This line from Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Steve Earl is a reminder of the shift occurring under the feet of many marketers. Last week, it was consistently in the back of my mind as I attended and spoke at the Modern Customer Experience event from Oracle in Chicago. 

Here’s what I saw:

CX is Marketing, Marketing is CX

One question posed to me during a live interview with Carla Johnson and Mia McPherson of SmarterCX, was how ModernCX has evolved since the days it was called “Eloqua Experience” (this was prior to Oracle’s acquisition of the marketing automation pioneer.)

As last year showed, some core elements remain, like the semantic emphasis on “modern” and the Markie Awards celebrating its 12th consecutive year of recognizing real-world success.

Some things were new:

  • The Female Quotient lounge featuring panels about women in tech and free headshots
  • A CX Hero program recognizing outstanding individuals in customer experience
  • Chilly 33 degree weather (This Bostonian stills prefers Chicago to Vegas)

Overall, the biggest change is - of course - the rise of CX. 

This event is now Modern Customer Experience (formerly known as Modern Marketing Experience) and to me what it indicates is another major shift in how the industry defines marketing. 

In many ways, CX has become a kind of catch-all of sales, customer support, and marketing - but it’s more than that.

Oracle calls it the “experience revolution” - others describe CX as your customer’s perception of how the company treats them. It’s critical to customer retention, satisfaction, cross/upsell. It’s “the new battlefield.” 

It’s marketing. Only, different. 

The groundswell is here:

  • B2B companies believe CX is the most exciting business opportunity in 2018 (Econsultancy)
  • By the year 2020 CX will overtake price/product as a key brand differentiator (Walker2020)
  • By 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. (Gartner)

Charlie Herrin, Comcast’s Chief Customer Officer, shared some perspective on stage at ModernCX about the pace at which this shift is moving: 

“The customer experience I thought was good two years ago isn’t good anymore. It’s now tablestakes.” 


Big Data for CX - New Tech from Oracle

Charlie also articulated a major hurdle faced by companies who seek to improve CX. (Captured nicely by John Bruno of Forrester Research.)

“Most customer experiences break at the seams.”

John added, “They break at the journey handoffs like self-service to agent or e-commerce to sales rep.”

To address this break at the seams, Oracle Marketing Cloud made a new announcement - Oracle Infinity. 

The number of channels has grown (IoT is on the horizon), the need for contextual experiences has driven the importance of relevance at the individual level, and data privacy is part of the customer’s expectation. 

These shifts were cited as some of the core reasons behind the company’s announcement of a Hadoop-based data platform for working with large amounts of unstructured behavioral data. It’s next-gen analytics, in real-time, and it’s got some real-world implications for teams as laid out in this infographic:



That resource also noted that by 2020, more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience (Gartner).

I was excited to see this announcement from the OMC team - especially considering the paralysis that occurs from a having multiple elements of data about known users scattered across channels. 

Per Oracle, “data activation can occur in areas such as high precision lead scoring models and triggers for specific campaign events for better conversion rates.” This announcement essentially centralizes customer data, enables teams to segment in real-time, and use that data in other OMC technologies (like Responsys.)

Like many things in life, a few stars have to align for big, transformative changes to occur in a business. Creating the ideal customer experience externally requires a foundation of data and technology behind the scenes. For most organizations, that’s easier said than done. 

As noted by Sashi Seth, SVP of OMC:

“Data is at the core of marketing. It lets you get personal with your customers. The more data you have on your customers, the better you are able to build precise marketing campaigns. You can customize your conversations with your best customers.”

This announcement from Oracle addresses one of the most practical, and important stars - the uber valuable cross-channel data about individuals that drives each customer touchpoint. This is big data for the customer experience, and it’ll be exciting to see what brands do with the capability - or if they decide to jump on the fast-moving train towards CX nirvana at all.

Read more about their new data analytics platform, Oracle Infinity. 

Further reading:

- Shep Hyken “Oracle's Modern Customer Conference Provides Plenty Of CX Lessons” 

- Carla Johnson “Defining Modern Customer Experience

- Jeff Davis “Oracle Taught Me Customer Service Can Help Align Sales and Marketing”