Ushering in the IBM Marketing Cloud, and goodbye to Silverpop?

Star Digital have been a Silverpop Sure Agency for a good few years now, we backed the technology because of the vision for one to one communications and a move towards behavioral marketing and automation. The platform has served our clients well, and it only got better when we heard that IBM, the Big Blue, inventors of Watson the cognitive computing architecture, had acquired Silverpop as part of its mission to further enhance its digital marketing intelligence portfolio. Amplify, the annual event held by the Silverpop team in London was a different event this year. With several tracks per session and a big presence from IBM you could feel that the platform was already developing rapidly. There was a genuine excitement from the team and attendees. I wanted to pull out some of the high points from this year’s event as it address issues facing all of us working in digital marketing channels as they mature. We’ve debated for some time the future of digital marketing as a concept, and the IBM team echoed my feeling that the word digital will probably become dated as it is absorbed into mainstream marketing. Digital agencies such as ours will move into a more central role embracing Omni channel marketing. We’ve already seen this happen at Star Digital as we’ve worked on campaigns that operate across digital and analogue disciplines to great effect. IBM really pushed forward with the IBM Marketing Cloud concept at Amplify and introduced some genuinely exciting concepts that feed into the Omni channel mission. The first of these had been touched upon at the beginning of 2015 and is known as the Universal Behavior Exchange. What is exciting about this concept, and I use this word because at the time of writing detail on this is scant, is that it looks like a genuine attempt to open source calls into the IBM Marketing Cloud to share data from multiple sources. Those sources include big data engines such as the social media giants Facebook, Instagram , LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as allowing agencies like ourselves to write our own interfaces to inject client data from ecommerce or online auctions, and use tools to generate look alike data to target more prospects with more relevant marketing communications. We then discovered two new initiatives to support this, with the first, known as the IBM Journey Designer, a tool to make the creation of automated programmes easy, with an enhanced number of decision points already in beta for all current Engage users able to get their hands on it now. The second tool known as IBM Journey Analytics could be a real game changer. Detail is again scant at the time of writing but this looks like an incredible tool for Omni channel marketers to understand the most effective route to achieve the maximum marketing outcomes. It will show the fastest route to achieve a marketing outcome but then go on to show the most profitable route. The Omni channel touch points can all be measured and considered, and for marketers working with large volumes of data, they will be able to test and measure in real time to find the sweet spot for any campaign. Switched on marketers will be able to use these tools prove their campaigns work, the new Journey Designer will interface with Journey Analytics to allow marketers to plan and test multiple role automation programme routes through the enhanced use of IF, ELSE, AND, OR statements. New rules such as DO UNTIL and DO SOMETHING will let them deliver actions such as Rich Push Notifications or targeted deals based on user behavior. Objectives views will track how many people hit a goal point and can be tracked over time, social audiences will allow look alike retargeting on Facebook tied back to the Universal Behaviour Exchange. The theory of this new marketing universe that is the IBM Marketing Cloud is truly exciting for the modern marketer. SIlverpop may be about to be dispatched to the history books but its legacy lives on in this new set of tools backed by IBM. The team at Silverpop started something special, and they have handed the baton on to IBM to finish delivering their vision. I hope that the new enhanced team behind the IBM Marketing Cloud can find a way to get agencies like us enabled as quickly as possible, so that we can push the boundaries and make it work for clients who share the vision. Because now we are an IBM partner agency and we are hungry to get going! Star Digital is an IBM partner agency working in the IBM Marketing Cloud to deliver marketing automation and behavioral marketing outcomes for a wide range of clients in Europe.

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