How to Integrate Marketing Technology – Marketing Automation, CRM or CDP?
Marketers working with different marketing technology tools often face integration problems. And these are important to tackle, because it doesn’t matter much to your customers and prospects whether they have had contact via social media, an event, an account manager or email. They assume that you know the contact history and remember who they are and what their question was—at all times and through all channels. But collecting and standardizing customer information is not that easy. For example, you may have a record in your CRM system that a prospect has spoken to a sales representative, downloaded a whitepaper on your website or clicked on a link to your service proposition via your email marketing platform. There is a good chance that this data is in different systems and that you cannot easily connect the dots.
3 Integration options for B2B marketers
To tackle this problem, B2B marketers take different approaches to build their own “marketing stack” and integrate the building blocks. Here we discuss the following options:
- One-to-one integration. Integration of building blocks on a standalone basis often results in a fragmented view on lead profiles, content ending up in multiple data stores and ultimately poor interaction with potential interested prospects.
- Marketing automation. Marketing automation allows you to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes with a suite of functionalities combining multiple building blocks (like email and landing pages) in one solution. It is often quite expensive and complex for smaller companies.
- Customer data platform or CDP. This is a solution to enable you to integrate multiple marketing tools and build a unified customer profile that is accessible to other systems. This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems and can trigger events. Manceppo is considered a customer data platform for smaller B2B companies.
Let’s discuss these three options in more detail.
Option 1: One-to-One Integration with CRM
When companies use multiple marketing tools, the most obvious way to start integration is by connecting them to each other. Three developments have made this approach easier for many modern tools:
- An increasing number of tools can be easily integrated using their open APIs
- Many tools, like Pipedrive and Mailchimp, feature a marketplace of apps that offers a prebuilt integration
- Integration services like Zapier (one-way) and PieSync (two-way) use these open APIs and provide customizable templates for many systems, making integration even easier, cheaper and within reach, even for non-technical marketers.
Although one-to-one integration is better than no integration, there are some important bottlenecks to the approach—especially because none of the building blocks are built to capture a unified profile from multiple sources and trigger events in other systems. Often the CRM system ends up as the central hub to store profile data, but CRM systems are not built to capture data like web tracking and behavior from email marketing campaigns.
CRM applications are primarily designed to capture data about prospects and customers in the sales process. Marketing often plays a minor role within CRM. On the customer record we do see characteristics of the customer segment, newsletter registrations or participation in events, but the campaign management takes place in systems outside the CRM and is not set up to trigger campaigns in those other systems.
Option 2: Marketing Automation
Marketing automation systems emerged over the last decade to manage multiple marketing tasks in an integrated way. Designed to support marketers in campaign management, these systems typically combine email marketing, landing pages and lead scoring at the core of the system. These systems are often combined with functions like chatbots, social media tooling and even complete CRM and CMS functionality.
A marketing automation system is set up as a “suite” to carry out the entire communication itself, such as sending emails, presenting dynamic content on the website and posting content on social media. When evaluating whether you opt for a marketing automation system, consider it a choice between:
- a wide range of functionality in one central solution or
- combining best-of-breed marketing tools
Marketing automation systems such as HubSpot, Pardot or Marketo provide the advantage that all the functionality is neatly integrated. But for that you will pay a hefty premium. In addition, a choice for a marketing automation solution can be quite complex and will make you dependent on the vision and functionality of the vendor.
Marketing automation systems enable “lead scoring”. Lead scoring is the process of assigning values, often in the form of numerical “points,” to each lead you generate for the business. You can score your leads based on multiple attributes, including the professional information they’ve submitted to you and how they’ve engaged with your website and brand online. This process helps sales and marketing teams prioritize leads, respond to them appropriately and increase the rate at which those leads become customers.
Option 3: Customer Data Platform
Customer data platforms (CDP) arose as an alternative to marketing automation. A CDP is packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems, according to the CDP Institute. This definition has three critical elements:
- The CDP is a prebuilt system that is configured to meet the needs of each client. Some resources will be required to set up and maintain the CDP, but it does not require the level of technical skill of a typical data warehouse project. This reduces the time, cost and risk and gives business users more control over the system, although they may still need some technical assistance.
- The CDP creates a comprehensive view of each customer by capturing data from multiple systems, linking information related to the same customer, and storing the information to track behavior over time. The CDP contains personal identifiers used to target marketing messages and track individual-level marketing results.
- . Data stored in the CDP can be used by other systems for analysis and to manage customer interactions.
Basically, the aim of a CDP is to bring together all customer data and behavior into unified customer profiles so marketers can easily work with them across multiple tools (or building blocks). In our framework of building blocks, a CDP truly enables you to build a custom “marketing stack” based on your favorite tools. Like marketing automation, CDPs enable lead scoring to manage leads and customer journeys.
CDPs have great momentum due to three developments that intersect:
Not surprisingly, Gartner positioned CDPs in its hype cycle for digital marketing and advertising and expects the solution to reach the plateau of productivity in two to five years.
Manceppo can be positioned as a CDP. Simply put, it’s an “If This, Then That” solution for smaller B2B companies. Our cloud-based platform integrates with the open APIs of the most popular marketing tools, providing marketers a central data store for content and profiles from the marketing tools they love to use. Our smart workflows empower marketers to build a low-cost marketing automation platform combining their favorite tools. It’s 70% to 90% more affordable than implementing a marketing automation solution, and marketers no longer need to migrate their existing tools.
In summary, a CDP can be a smart choice for your company for the following reasons:
- With a CDP, you use the full potential of all your data. You link all data sources together in one database, creating a complete and up-to-date customer view.
- You not only make optimal use of your data, but you also get more out of all your existing customer systems (or building blocks). The CDP controls the channel and campaign applications (such as email marketing) and vice versa. The channel applications also feed the CDP.
- CDPs enable lead scoring to manage leads and customer journeys across your systems.
- With a CDP, you can respond directly to current behavior. It also gives you the opportunity to predict future behavior.
- Optimizing customer experiences during the various customer journeys creates extra value for the customer and, therefore, for the organization.
Learn more about the Manceppo CDP and get started with your free account.