Skip to main content


Understanding the Five W’s (and One H) of Marketing Clouds



Marketing technology (martech) is all the rage right now in the enterprise software market. In a TechCrunch article last Friday, IDC estimated $32.4 billion in marketing technology spending by 2018, growing at a 12.4 percent CAGR. Before I go any further, it’s important to understand the difference between marketing technology and a true marketing cloud. Scott Brinker’s “supergraphic” does a great job defining the rather expansive marketing technology landscape that exists today, including a wide variety of categories spanning both marketing operations and marketing experiences. A marketing cloud, is often defined as a set of integrated tools allowing marketers to accomplish a broad range of tasks during all phases of the customer journey. Integration is the biggest differentiator between “best-of-breed” marketing technology solutions and marketing clouds.

As you begin to think about how you can evolve your business’s marketing technology stack, it’s very important to clearly define your technology strategy and understand how you can leverage a multi-category marketing cloud to connect your marketing tasks to effectively deliver measurable business value.

To help guide you along this marketing cloud journey, think back to your early days of school in English class where you learned about the Five W’s: who, what, when, where and why. These questions are the basics in information-gathering. They establish a formula for getting all the facts on a certain subject and are the fundamentals of telling an effective story, but they can also be applied to an organization’s approach to implementing new technology solutions in order to achieve business goals. In this marketing technology blog series, we’ll walk through each of the Five W’s (and How) to help you along the way. Unlike the world of writing, marketers instinctively should begin with answering these questions in a specific order: why, who, what, where, when and how.

“The Why”: Why do marketers need a marketing cloud?

In today’s connected world, every interaction with the consumer matters. There are four key customer experience (CX) drivers leading the marketing technology revolution as enterprise software companies seek to come out on top as the dominant player. Below are some of the market forces shaping the evolving role of the CMO and four key reasons why the time is now for organizations to embrace marketing clouds:

  • Rising customer expectations and changes in consumer behavior are prompting businesses to find new ways to respond with cross-device targeting capabilities. Marketers that can leverage this rich information to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions and create affinity to a brand will come out on top. I’ve seen several retailers do this well as of late using email retargeting tactics to convert shoppers into buyers.
  • The adoption of digital channels has spawned the rise of the connected consumer prompting every business to respond with omni-channel capabilities. Along with omni-channel marketing, comes the need for personalization which will serve as the backbone of the customer experience for years to come.
  • The speed at which businesses must operate requires enterprise technology to enable faster response times across multiple business functions. As a result, marketing automation, has become one of the hottest standalone “must have” marketing technology categories today.
  • The volume, velocity and variety of customer data that marketers can harness provides an opportunity for businesses to turn consumer data into actionable insights. We’ll see a rise in predictive analytics and machine learning determining who will come out on top as the leader in marketing technology. A perfect example of this is Salesforce’s backing of the predictive analytics startup,, as they look to differentiate its marketing cloud offering through predictive intelligence to determine the best offer, product, or content for each customer at any given time and deliver it in their channel of choice.

CX Trends

Marketers today need the ability to know more about their customers, personalize and contextualize the brand, effectively communicate with customers across multiple channels, and optimize interactions to make the most out of every touchpoint and enable business growth. Defining your organization’s key business goals, and aligning future technology investments that satisfy these objectives, should always be the first step to embarking on a marketing cloud journey. Other business outcomes and byproducts of implementing marketing technology can include cost savings and efficiency and productivity gains.

Stay tuned for the next post that answers “The Who” of marketing clouds!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Elizabeth Dias

Elizabeth Dias is an experienced technology marketing strategist focused on the financial services and retail industry at Perficient. With over nine years of experience as a professional business-to-business (B2B) marketer, Elizabeth is knowledgeable in technology strategies for the financial services industry focusing on mobile banking and payments, data analytics, and enterprise information management. She also closely follows the fintech community as well as tech trends in social and digital, and is also an active blogger and thought leader on Twitter (@techmktggirl).

More from this Author

Follow Us