Bringing Granularity to the Marketing Cloud
Fayez Mohamood had read our recent story, “Are the Marketing Clouds Rolling Away?” He wanted to tell me, no, that’s not happening, but that more and more brands are discovering they need additional elements in the tech stack to drive value from their marketing cloud investments.
Mohamood, an engineer by training, is co-founder and CEO of New York-based ecommerce automation platform Bluecore. Bluecore’s mission is to aggregate their clients’ behavioral and product data into one system, creating the possibility of Real Time Interaction Managment, or RTIM.
A new buzzphrase? “It is a fairly new term,” Mohamood told me. He said they don’t even push it much to clients, but “We use it as a way we organize internally around what we build.” RTIM has been recognized by Forrester (it’s far from a concept exclusive to Bluecore), and defined as “enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.”
In the context of ecommerce, Mohamood refers to “micro moments”—fleeting consumer touchpoints on multiple channels, which sufficiently nimble automation can react to instantly, producing better outcomes for the brand, whether it be generating revenue or reducing churn. “These are extremely granular touchpoints,” he said.
But wait: Shouldn’t a brand with deep investments in Oracle or Salesforce—or Marketo or Hubspot, for that matter—have this covered already? “Forty to fifty percent of our customers are on Salesforce or Oracle,” said Mohamood. “If a business is advanced enough [to need Bluecore], they’re going to have other things in their stack. Doing everything is not what we’re best in class at.”
What Bluecore does add to the mix is personalized interaction based on product catalog. For Mohamood, this is key. Marketing clouds, in his view, are essentially “horizontal.” Marketing clouds are great at segmentation and even personalization; less adept at responding to the needs of very specific verticals.
“The system needs to understand product catalog and customer behavior.” Mohamood gave me the example of a men’s undergarments retailer—a Bluecore client. Some of the retailer’s customers replenish undergarments every three months; some every six months. But it’s a very specific cadence which a generalized ecommerce automation can miss. “Large retailers know a lot about their customers,” he said, “but can’t act on it” without sufficiently granular solutions. “That’s where we come in.”
Bluecore’s conviction that there’s a connection between granular understanding of data, behavior and product and effective RTIM does mean that it’s focused today exclusively on ecommerce. The product strategy, said Mohamood, is to add perhaps two or three more verticals down the road.